Maple Grove Boys, Girls Teams Run To Class D Titles

Maple Grove’s Michael Peppy leads the way in the Class D boys race. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

BEMUS POINT — Although the temperatures left most people bundled up against the chill, Steve Matteson stood near the finish line of the Section VI Cross Country Championships at mid-afternoon Friday sporting a long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts.

The smile on his face made it quite clear, however, that he was perfectly comfortable even though the Fahrenheit reading at the Bemus Point Golf Club course hadn’t cracked 50 degrees all day.

For the Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School coach, it’s been a November to remember yet again.

“Honestly, it’s special,” Matteson said. “It’s a different bunch of kids every year and it’s amazing how they come together as a team. From the start of the season to the end of the season, they work to get each other better and work toward their goal at the end of the season.”

One of their goals was accomplished yesterday as the Red Dragons swept the boys and girls team Class D titles for the second straight year to earn another berth in next week’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship.

Fredonia’s Emily Brown (223) holds off Newfane’s Kimberly Goers in the Class C girls race. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Meanwhile, Maple Grove senior Michael Peppy successfully defended his individual crown; and 16 other area runners claimed individual trips to the states, including Fredonia sophomore Emily Brown, who won the Class C race in dramatic fashion, and Clymer/Sherman/Panama sophomore Kylee Odell, who posted an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Class D tour of the 3.1-mile layout.

Peppy’s time of 16:24.86 gave him a comfortable margin over Clymer/Sherman/Panama freshman John Swabik’s 16:52.86 and left the former quite pleased with his performance heading into the state meet next week.

“It’s a big confidence booster,” he said. “It’s my happiest time of the year. It’s like Christmas.”

Added Matteson: “He went out, took charge after the quarter mile and he started running his race. He left it all on the line today. I was proud of how he pushed himself.”

Teammates joining Peppy on the trip to the state meet are sophomore Peter Auer (third, 16:54.82); junior Frank Colburn (eighth, 17:20.76); senior Shane Hetrick (11th, 17:39.09); freshman Drew Kelemen (18:36.15); sophomore Riley Auer (21st, 18:45.79); and sophomore Nick Brunenavs (23rd, 18:47.79).

Most of the Maple Grove girls team runs together at the beginning of the Class D race. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

The other Class D individual state qualifiers for the boys, besides Swabik, are senior Matthew Evans of Randolph (fourth, 17:06.45), sophomore Ronan McDonald of Randolph (fifth, 17:10.75); senior Logan Holthouse of CSP (sixth, 17:11.28); and junior Dylan Davis of Frewsburg (seventh, 17:13.64).

The Class C individual state qualifiers for the boys are sophomore Dagon Bryant of Southwestern (second, 16:52.21); Josh Johnson of Fredonia (fourth, 16:54.77); Lyle Warrior (fifth, 17:01.42); and Diego Rey of Fredonia (sixth, 17:01.88).

Members of the Maple Grove girls teams headed to the state meet at Wayne Central School are freshman Ava Crist (second, 19:03.46); freshman Christina Peppy (third, 19:18.64); eighth-grader Abby Brunenavs (ninth, 20:32.89); senior Gracie Auer (12th, 20:57.68); freshman Kendra Berg (15th, 21:45.66); junior Bryn Mozzi (16th, 21:47.81); and sophomore Riley Caskey (18th, 22:14.40).

The other Class D individual state qualifiers for the girls are Odell (first, 18:58.43), who caught and passed Crist in the late stages for the victory; Abby Gostomski of Cattaraugus-Little Valley (fourth, 19:30.41); freshman Acacia Barber of Frewsburg (fifth, 19:35.68); senior Bailey Gostomski of Cattaraugus-Little Valley (sixth, 19:40.60); and sophomore Jaylah Cossin of Silver Creek (seventh, 19:52.12).

Junior Hannah Sullivan of Southwestern (seventh, 20:32.34) was an individual state qualifier in Class C, a race that was won in dramatic fashion by Brown (19:45.44) over Newfane’s Kimberly Goers (19:45.84).

Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Kylee Odell is seen sprinting to the finish line. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

“The last 100 was like a dead sprint,” Brown said. “She was ahead of me, (but) I wanted this so bad. I went past her and it was the closest race I’ve ever had. It was crazy.”

Besides Maple Grove’s first-place team efforts, other area squads performed well, too. The Falconer boys placed second in Class C, led by sophomore Bryce Baglia and senior Ben Deperna, who finished ninth and 10th respectively; CSP’s boys placed second — their highest team finish since the three schools merged — and its girls were third in Class D; the Silver Creek girls were second in Class D; and the Fredonia girls were third in Class C.

The individual qualifiers and the team champions will be back in action a week from today at the NYSPHSAA championships at Wayne High School in Ontario Center. The state Federation meet will be held Nov. 18 at Bowdoin State Park in Wappingers Falls, near Poughkeepsie.