Crist, McDonald Show The Way At CCAA Cross Country

Maple Grove's Ava Crist won the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association individual girls title. P-J photos by Valory S. Isaacson

BEMUS POINT — The top three girls finishers in Friday afternoon’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association cross country championships were familiar names.

After all, Ava Crist, Kylee Odell and Christina Peppy have battled each other all season for individual supremacy.

But under cloudy and cool conditions at Bemus Point Golf Club the order was a little bit different than expected, at least based on the results from the last six weeks.

Crist, a sophomore at Maple Grove, ran away from Odell and Peppy in second half of the race to claim the title with a time of 18:42.42, which was a personal best. Odell, a junior representing Clymer/Sherman/Panama, was second in 19:12.42 and Peppy, a sophomore from Maple Grove, finished third in 19:20.27.

Rounding out the top 10 were Abby Brunenavs of Maple Grove, 19:42.86; Ellen Decker of Silver Creek/Forestville, 19:53.17; Hannah Sullivan of Southwestern, 19:57.36; Acacia Barber of Frewsburg, 19:59.95; Emily Brown of Fredonia/Westfield, 20:20.70; Angelina Napolean of Allegany-Limestone, 20:34.64; and Juliana Flick of Silver Creek/Forestville, 20:48.52.

Ronan McDonal of Randolph claimed the CCAA boys race.

The Maple Grove girls captured the team title with 35 points. Completing the top five were Clymer/Sherman/Panama with 97, Allegany/Limestone with 98, Silver Creek/Forestville with 109 and Southwestern with 131.

“Every runner gets their own strategy and today all of them executed their plan,” Red Dragons coach Steve Matteson said. “As a coach you can only pray that the practices you have the athletes do during the week will be the right thing for your athletes to run their best during the race, and when it does, there is no better feeling as a coach.”

Crist executed the game plan particularly well.

“I have learned to really stride out, because my legs are so long,” Crist. “Push up the hills and use the downhills to my advantage to gain that space. … I just kept the same pace basically the entire time. It helped so much.

“Running with those girls is really, really fun and it pushes me. I didn’t expect that out of today, to be honest, breaking my (personal record).”

Noted Matteson: “Ava made a move in the middle of the race and kept pushing the gas pedal all the way to the finish.”

Speaking of pushing pedal to the metal, Randolph junior Ronan McDonald turned in an equally impressive performance, touring the 3.1-mile layout in 16:47.49 to hold off Maple Grove’s Peter Auer, who posted a 16:52.45.

“I just did it like every other race this year,” McDonald said. “I just broke away in the last mile.”

Joining McDonald and Auer in the top 10 were Dagon Bryant of Southwestern (17:05.99), Bryce Baglia of Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (17:10.30), Collin Barmore of Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (17:17.61), Frank Colburn of Maple Grove (17:18.39), Dylan Davis of Frewsburg (17:18.70), Diego Rey of Fredonia/Westfield (17:31.14), Riley Auer of Maple Grove (17:31.42), and Eddie Scroxton of Southwestern (17:33.77).

Maple Grove also claimed the boys title with 41 points. Rounding out the top five were Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (81), Southwestern (108), Randolph (142) and Allegany-Limestone (147).

“The boys knew going into the race that it could be a close meet with good competition from Falconer and other individuals in the county,” Matteson said. “Before the race the Maple Grove boys were focused and hungry to run their best.”

Area runners will get to test the Bemus Point Golf Club layout again next Friday when it hosts the Section VI Championships.