The Delhi girls cross country team claimed the program’s first state title since 1981, and the Bulldogs took second on the boys side in frigid temperatures at the NYSPHSAA Class D Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 16, at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“It was a phenomenal weekend,” Delhi coach Skip Baxter said. “Both our boys and our girls did about the best they could have done, and I’m really proud of them.”
The Delhi girls totaled 50 points to beat second-place Maple Grove (55) and third-place Tully (57) by single digits. Baxter said he did not know his team had won until well after the race concluded.
“I didn’t know until the results were posted. It’s difficult to tell while you are watching it how things are coming out,” Baxter said. “It was probably 20 minutes after the race, and it was quite a celebration. Everybody was very happy.”
Cella Schnabel, a junior, led the Bulldogs with a ninth-place finish, covering the three-mile course in 18:13.4.
Eighth-graders Gretel Hilson-Schneider (18:45.0) and Ellie Lees (18:57.0) were 19th and 21st, respectively, and sophomore Lonnie Weiss was 22nd (18:57.7). Anna Tessier took 25th in 19:01.9 to round out the Delhi scorers.
The Bulldogs’ strategy of filling runners into a dense pack near the top spots worked again, perhaps even more noticeably than during a dominant section performance. Tully’s Brooke Rauber took individual honors by more than 100 seconds over the second-place finisher, but her team took third place.
Maple Grove’s top finisher, Ava Crist, took sixth to beat Schnabel by three spots. Still, Delhi’s sixth finisher (Sienna Dorr, 36th, 19:27.4) and seventh finisher (Camille Mueller, 43rd, 20:04.8) each crossed before the fifth and final scorer on both Maple Grove and Tully.
“Cella had a phenomenal race, and just the interchangeable pack we have had all season was great,” Baxter said. “It’s amazing to have that kind of depth. Everybody counted and everybody did what they needed to do.”
In the boys race, Delhi posted a team score of 76, but was derailed by a dominant 26-point performance from Section III champion Beaver River. The Beavers filled the second, third and fourth positions behind winner Kal Lewis of Shelter Island (14:28.1), and saw all five scorers tally single-digit marks.
“Beaver River is a really strong team. They have an amazing program and history, and we’re glad we got a few runners among their top five,” Baxter said. “We knew going in they would be tough to beat. We aren’t dissatisfied in any way.”
Diego Aguirre, a junior, put together a strong performance after an injury-riddled season, leading the Bulldogs with a 10th-place performance in 15:35.1. The finish qualified him for the New York Federation Championships, slated for Saturday, Nov. 23, at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls. He is the first Delhi qualifier since Declan Kottmeier in 2015.
“He’s been phenomenal for us for a few years now. He was injured with an ankle for a lot of the season, so he spent a lot of time this season in the pool rehabbing to attempt to get back for this,” Baxter said. “He showed a lot of discipline. We are really happy for him to lead the way for us this weekend.”
Aguirre was followed nine seconds later by fellow junior Jonathon Hadley, who took 12th in 15:44.8. Senior Ty Saleman was 25th in 16:14.3, sophomore Marco Shaw took 46th in 16:58.5 and freshman Luke Schnabel was 49th in 17:03.8 to round out Delhi’s scorers.
Sam Lees, a sophomore, finished in 70th (17:50.1) and Jared Coleman, a freshman, was 80th (17:56.6) for the Bulldogs.
PACK OF BULLDOGS
While Baxter was quick to mention the history of Beaver River’s program, he admitted there is a similar element at Delhi. He mentioned the recently deceased Jack Gariepy, the program’s longtime coach, as building a program for Baxter to grow. From 1969 to 1989, Garepe won 13 section titles between the boys and girls teams, along with three state titles on the girls side in 1978, 1979 and 1981, he said.
Baxter, in his 18th season in charge, credited his assistant coaches Lenny Mintz and Melissa Emilio for their help during the season. He also noted that members of the 1981 state championship team came out to support the teams Saturday.
“That’s the example and foundation we are building on,” Baxter said. “We’re always talking about the legacy of our program. It’s great to have that history and support from the alumni. And this really adds to that.”
Two local athletes competed without the help of teammates Saturday. Oneonta sophomore Korbin Jones built on his breakout performance at the section meet to take 50th in the boys Class C race with a time of 16:19.2.
“I would say this was his second-best race of the season with last weekend’s qualification being his best,” Oneonta coach Dan Forbes said in an email. “It’s quite impressive to me that he held his composure for two weeks straight at the biggest meets of his season. I’m really looking forward to having two more years of Korbin running for us at Oneonta.”
Gilbertsville-Mount Upton freshman Brennan Finch took 85th in the Class D race, crossing the line in 18:11.4. He just missed scoring for a Section IV team that took fifth out of nine teams.
NYSPHSAA State Championships
at SUNY Plattsburgh
Class D Girls
Team scores: 1, Delhi 50; 2, Maple Grove 55; 3, Tully 57; 4, Berlin 126; 5, Red Creek 131; 6, Haldane 186; 7, Pierson 194; 8, Lake Placid 210; 9, Millbrook 212.
Winner: Brooke Rauber (Tully) 16:01.2.
Delhi: 9, Cella Schnabel 18:13.4; 19, Gretel Hilson-Schneider 18:45.0; 21, Ellie Lees 18:57.0; 22, Lonnie Weiss 18:57.7; 25, Anna Tessier 19:01.9; 36, Sienna Dorr 19:27.4; 43, Camille Mueller 20:04.8.
Class D Boys
Team scores: 1, Beaver River 26; 2, Delhi 76; 3, Arkport-Canaseraga 81; 4, Maple Grove 102; 5, Moriah/Boquet Valley 126; 6, Lake George 151; 7, Shelter Island 155; 8, Haldane 204; 9, S.S. Seward 278; 10, Brushton Moira 297.
Winner: Kal Lewis (Shelter Island) 14:28.1.
Delhi: 10, Diego Aguirre 15:35.1; 12, Jonathon Hadley 15:44.8; 25, Ty Saleman 16:14.3; 46, Marco Shaw 16:58.5; 49, Luke Schnabel 17:03.8; 70, Sam Lees 17:50.1; 80, Jared Coleman 17:56.6.
Gilbertsville-Mount Upton: 85, Brennan Finch 18:11.4.
Class C Boys
Winner: Caleb Bender (Skaneateles) 14:41.6.
Oneonta: 50, Korbin Jones 16:19.2.