OBSERVER Staff Report
QUEENSBURY - Six Northern Chautauqua County runners competed Saturday in the NYSPHSAA Cross Country Championships held at Queensbury High School.
Dunkirk, Fredonia, Silver Creek and Gowanda were each represented at the 5k course. The weather provided ideal course conditions, making for a fast, competitive race in each of the divisions.
For Silver Creek, it was the Seiders sisters, Emma and Hannah competing in the state championship together for the second time in two years. Freshman Emma turned in a 22nd-place finish, the best finish of any local runner, with a time of 19:53.3. Older sister Hannah, sophomore, came in 48th (20:55.5) in her fourth-straight trip to the state championships.
"Both girls ran personal bests for the season," Silver Creek coach Mike Janisch said. "In simple terms, I am quite pleased. The course was in super shape, which lent itself to a very fast competition and it brought out the best in everybody."
Dunkirk junior Ethan Francis competed in the boys' Class C race and turned in an impressive performance in his first visit to the state championships. Francis came into the race ranked 66th, but finished 63rd in a time of 17:39.9.
"I'm very happy with (Francis') performance," Dunkirk coach Kurt Warmbrodt said. "He ran right where he was ranked. The course was dry and in great condition. It was a wonderful experience"
Also running in the Class C state championship race for the first time was Matt Kruszka of Gowanda. Kruszka finished the course in a time of 17:06.6, which was good for 43rd place. The performance may not have been what Kruszka had hoped for, but the freshman and his coach were proud of the finish nonetheless.
"It was a good time and place for (Kruszka)," Gowanda coach Tim O'Donnell said. "It wasn't great and he wanted better, but he is still happy. At the state level everyone is 10ths of a second close to each other. There is a lot of pressure at the state meet and I'm happy with how he handled it."
In the girls' Class C race, it was a pair of Fredonia runners competing in the state meet together for the second-consecutive year. Michaela Tramuta, made her fifth trip to states, and took 56th place in 20:13.2. Teammate and sophomore Gwen Stokes came in 104th (21:34.1) in her second state championship race.
"It was a really tough course," Fredonia assistant coach Mark Fitzgerald said. "There were a couple of nice hills and it was a challenging field. We're just really proud of everything they accomplished this year."