Maple Grove Runners Returning To States

Auer Outduels McDonald In Class D; Fredonia’s Rey Advances In Class C

Maple Grove’s Peter Auer won the Class D race at the Section VI Cross Country Championships on Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

BEMUS POINT — Peter Auer and Ronan McDonald have been going at it all fall.

In four cross country matchups before the Section VI Championships, each runner had won twice.

Auer now holds the upper hand.

Maple Grove’s junior runner won the Class D boys race by an eye-popping 17 seconds Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club and in the process helped the Red Dragons to their fourth straight team title.

“Ronan and I have been going back and forth all season. I couldn’t ask for a greater competitor, that I get to race again next week,” Auer said. “I know where he likes to make his move in mile 2, and he does a really good job of it. Instead of waiting for him to do it, I decided to take matters into my own hands … and make a big push.”

Randolph’s Ronan McDonald finished second in the boys Class D race at the Section VI Cross Country Championships on Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

“He wanted last week bad. When Ronan had a good race and he fell a little short, he had it in his mind this week that he wanted it to be his turn,” Maple Grove coach Steve Matteson said of Auer. “He went out with a game plan, and he made a move that I’ve never seen before. He literally went into a dead sprint in the middle of a race just to get away from somebody and then kept going.”

“He just took the lead and I didn’t have anything left to give today,” McDonald said. “I’m excited to see what I have next week.”

Auer’s teammates Drew Kelemen finished third, Riley Auer fifth, Darius Jones seventh and Nick Brunenavs 11th as Maple Grove finished with 24 points.

“It means everything to us,” Auer said about the team title. “I don’t care about finishing first. It’s nice and all, but when my teammates come in top 10 — (three) of them — it means a lot to me. … It’s something special.”

“We’ve had the goal to get to states. We know that it takes all seven of us to get to states,” Matteson said. ” … Drew Kelemen has been our No. 5 or No. 6 runner, but he had it in his mind that ‘Coach, I’m going to have a good race today.’ It’s the mentality of having a positive attitude and positive thoughts that can just drive you to having a great race or a great performance.”

Fredonia’s Diego Rey finished fourth in the boys Class C race at the Section VI Cross Country Championships on Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

McDonald finished second for the Cardinals in 17:12.04 while other individual qualifiers were Frewsburg’s Dylan Davis (fourth, 17:51.76), Barker’s Peter DiLorenzo (sixth), Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Hunter Wassink (eighth, 18:10.07) and Randolph’s Christian Riethmiller (ninth, 18:23.94).

They will take their talents to Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island for Saturday, Nov. 10’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships.

“Being my first year of cross country as a senior, I only had one chance so it feels good,” Riethmiller said. “Josh Walters is usually our second runner. I tried to pace myself with him and unfortunately he got a cramp. … I knew that I had kind of a cushion … I looked once or twice, but I didn’t really have enough energy to actually turn around and look. I just ran as hard as I could.”

“He’s been our third guy all year. … We thought maybe (Walters) and Riethmiller could make it if a couple of things went right for us,” Randolph coach Sean Ode added. “Senior year … he wanted it today. … You’re never going to make it to the peak of your abilities starting out that late. This is a sport where really hard workers can separate themselves from people who might be better athletically or might have more experience. If you are tough and you put in the work you’ve got a chance to do it.”

Fredonia’s Diego Rey qualified for his second state meet with a time of 17:21.34 to take fourth place in Class C.

“It’s just a huge relief. The week leading up to sectionals is always so stressful. The field is so deep. … I was shooting to win, and I knew that was possible, but I also knew it was a possibility that I wouldn’t go,” Rey said. “This definitely felt like the most competitive race. Part of it is the competition and the other is just how much is on the line.”

Newfane won a hotly contested Class C team title with 66 points, based on first-place finisher Austin Burkard, 12th-place Nick Baes, 14th-place Robert Stevenson, 19th-place Alan Lingle and 20th-place Nathan Moran.

Southwestern’s Dagon Bryant just missed qualifying for states with his eighth-place finish in Class C, but did help the Trojans win the Class C-2 title. Joining Rey at states will be Alden’s Kyle Urban (second), Alden’s Bobby Adams (third), Depew’s Dean Godios (fifth) and Wilson’s William Schwarzmueller (sixth).

Lancaster’s Armani Merlino won the Class A individual title in 16:25.83. Frontier won the team title with 42 points, led by second-place Joshua Peron, fifth-place Joey Groth, seventh-place Brian Gleason, ninth-place Connor O’Brien and 19th-place Alex Monaco. Other individual qualifiers were Orchard Park’s Noah Sayoc (third), Clarence’s John Insinna (fourth), Orchard Park’s Jack Heraty (sixth) and Orchard Park’s Christopher Bertola (eighth).

Lewiston-Porter’s Andrew Perreault won the Class B individual crown in 16:55.49. Pioneer won the team title with 43 points, led by fourth-place Jerad Hediger, sixth-place Trent Wesley, eighth-place Brody Jones, 12th-place Max Hughes and 13th-place Grady Regan. Other individual qualifiers were Sweet Home’s Ray Sambrotto (second), East Aurora’s Alex Hillyard (third), West Seneca East’s Vinny Pagliaccio (fifth) and East Aurora’s Gavin McPherson (seventh).