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MILESTONE FOR CARMEL GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Rams Win First League Title In 15 Years; John Jay Takes Boys Crown

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

MILTON – This wasn’t just a league championship 15 years in the making.

This was a league championship 2020 in the making.

Carmel High School cross country coaches Eric and Dana Schwark had the most apt description of the girls team winning its first league title since 2005 on Saturday in the midst of the most remarkable, unique season perhaps in history.

“Today was about the spirit of youth and the resilience of young teammates who, although masked, forgot about the reality of lockdown, remote learning, hybrid learning, and coronavirus,” the Schwarks said in a combined response. “Today was about kids being kids. And we couldn’t be more proud.”

The girls turned in a spectacular performance, winning the Section 1, League I championship meet held at the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton. The Rams’ score of 31 points beat perennial league and section champion Arlington (36), John Jay (69), Ketcham (102), and Mahopac (129).

The meet had almost 20 schools representing four leagues.

The Carmel boys also had a terrific performance, coming in second behind a powerful John Jay team, 34-37, in the boys League I race.

John Jay had a solid bunching to win it, as Louis Montano, Andrew Malles, Austin Cekuta and Aidan Milroy finished fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively. Montano recorded a time of 16 minutes, 46.8 seconds.

For Carmel, the milestone title will be live for a while.

“Winning our first league championship in 15 years and having our boys place a hard-fought second is awesome,” the Schwarks said.

“It felt really good to finally win leagues as a team after such a long time. In the last few years, we have used Leagues as a workout/tempo meet since it was usually on a weekday and early in the season, but obviously this year we were able to put our full effort out there and prove that our team is strong because we have such few races,” Carmel senior Katie Turk said. “But, it was very nice to finally experience something positive during 2020 and especially this cross country season. I am extremely proud of the team for working really hard in their own time and at practice just so we can experience joyful times like this. I’ve always wanted to achieve a goal like this with the team because I really felt that we deserved a title like this as a team.”

The Carmel girls were led by Turke and fellow senior Rebecca Monge, who finished first and third, respectively, in the league race. But it was also the depth of the Rams’ runners that vaulted them to first place, as talented eighth-grader Caroline Arrigale placed sixth and equally talented seventh-grader Erin Lee was seventh.

“Our league is strong, and Arlington and Joh Jay are always formidable foes,” the Schwarks said. “So to perform well today took teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication.”

Turk, in fact, wasn’t just the best in her league but finished first overall among all female runners, covering the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 55.2 seconds. That was almost 10 seconds better than Una Boylan of Pearl River (19:06.7).

“I felt thankful and happy to be able to have a strong race and win the whole thing because all of my training throughout quarantine and the summer break feels like it’s paying off,” Turk said. “I didn’t think (the course) was that difficult. Some of the hills were pretty steep, which made it more challenging since you have to do a really steep hill twice. Other than the few steep hills, the course is mainly flat and has some downhills, so it gives you a decent amount of recovery time. However, today’s conditions did make it harder (colder temperature, frost/wet on the ground, and some mud patches), but they weren’t unbearable.”

 

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