Crossing the Finish Line

Sarah Clark, Staff Writer

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On a crisp autumn day, numerous runners from different school districts were lined up at the starting line for the first event of the CRCS Cross Country Invitational to take place. There were many spectators from all over that came to watch the line of events.

The CRCS Cross Country invitational itself has been going on for twenty years. Coach Sprague started the invitational years ago and ran it for seventeen years, and then Coach Volz took over the event and has ran it for the last three years. Members of the Cuba-Rushford Cross Country Team vary from three sections and there are eleven members in total. On the modified boys team for Cuba-Rushford is Jordan Alles, on the girls varsity team, members are Josie Litchner, Hailey Kumpf, Erica Goble, Meredith Grasso and Payton Fry, while on the boys varsity team members are Benjamin Seelye, Ian Fanton, Tyler McPhilomy, Joey Frederick, and Dominic Barber. The head coach of the Cross Country team this year is Mr. Volz and the assistant coach is Mrs. McNeil, who is the nurse at the Cuba-Rushford elementary school. The team practices every Monday through Friday after school; however, on the select days before invitationals the athletes may receive Fridays off to rest before the event. Every Saturday from the beginning of the school year up until the end of the season, the team has competed in invitationals. The top runner with the most consistency for the girls team this year is Josie Litchner, and on the boys team it is Benjamin Seelye. On October 15th, the Cross Country team competed at their own invitational in which over one-thousand spectators came to watch.

Runners came from all over from schools such as North Tonawanda down to several district schools in Pennsylvania. Some of the schools that attended the invitational were that of Allegany-Limestone, Olean and Franklinville. Teams came from as far away as north east Pennsylvania, as well as from central New York regions. New schools such as North East, Ridgeway and Eden attended this event for the first time and there were twenty-seven school districts in total that participated in the invitational. This is the biggest Cross Country event to happen at Cuba-Rushford mostly due to the fact that there are so many teams that participated, and that drew in a huge crowd for people to come watch their school compete. There were about 550 runners in total from all over and so that helped attract attention to this event. In order to sustain the crowd and teams, there was a concession stand going on throughout the day The teams could also stay in the cafeteria to eat or pass time in while they wait for their events. Some teams also like the course they get to run at Cuba-Rushford. A while after teams got situated, the invitational began.

Starting at eleven in the morning, the Junior High Girls (7th and 8th grades) started the invitational off with the 1.5 mile run in which Cuba-Rushford did not participate in. After this, the events that followed were the Junior High Boys 1.5 mile run at 11:20, Varsity Girls 3.1 mile run at 11:40 and finally the Varsity Boys 3.1 mile run at 12:50. For varsity events, small schools and large schools competed at their own event and Cuba participated in the large school events. In the Junior High Boys Event, Jordan Alles placed fifty-third for Cuba-Rushford with a time of 10:15.80 out of 121 runners. In the Varsity Girls Event with 48 runners, the placings for Cuba-Rushford are as follows: Josie Litchner in fourth place with a time of 21:51.50, Hailey Kumpf in twenty-first place with a time of 24:52.00, Erica Goble in thirty-third place with a time of 28:17.20, Meredith Grasso in thirty-eighth place with a time of 29:21.00, and Payton Fry in fourth-fifth place with a time of 32:35.50. In the Varsity Boys Event with 100 runners, the placings for Cuba-Rushford were that of: Benjamin Seelye in seventh place with a time of 17:46.90, Tyler McPhilomy in eighty-fourth place with a time of 24:18.10, Joey Frederick in eighty-fifth place with a time of 24:33.60, and Dominic Barber in ninety-fifth place with a time of 27:35.00.

The awards ceremony took place at two in the afternoon in which the top three teams in each event received a plaque. Although a plaque was not won, the Cuba-Rushford Varsity Girls team placed fifth in the final rankings. After the ceremony schools departed and the CRCS 2016 Invitational came to a close.

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