Odell Edges Red Dragons To Defend Title; Brown, Petrella Also Qualify

Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Kylee Odell 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 — Kylee Odell wasn’t too pleased with herself after finishing second at last week’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association cross country championships.

To say she was disappointed would be putting it mildly.

The Clymer/Sherman/ Panama junior more than made up for it Friday with the stakes even higher.

Odell beat Maple Grove’s Christina Peppy and Ava Crist to the finish line in the girls Class D race at Bemus Point Golf Club to capture her second straight sectional title and a trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships next Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island.

“That made me furious,” Odell said about finishing second a week ago. “It’s a really big honor to be able to run with them and to be able to push each other the whole time.”

Fredonia’s Emily Brown finished second in the girls Class C race at the Section VI Cross Country Championships on Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

“She was pretty upset last week. We had a pretty heavy training week leading up to counties because this was really our goal,” C/S/P coach Ray Shrout added. “We gave her a little lighter week this week. She really wanted redemption and wanted to repeat as sectional champion.”

Odell will lead a contingent of 13 area girls who qualified for the state meet after four races were run Friday in Bemus Point.

The Red Dragons won the team title for the 10th straight season with 22 points after Peppy finished second, Crist third, Abby Brunenavs fourth, Bryn Mozzi sixth and Tori Pavlock ninth.

“It’s awesome having a team that works together from Day 1 … and then they reach their goal of going to states,” Maple Grove coach Steve Matteson said. “It’s nice to see them set their goals high and still get them at the end of the season.

“Those three are so close together that it’s whoever feels the best that day,” Matteson added about Odell, Crist and Peppy. “Last week Ava felt really good, this week Kylee must’ve felt really good. Kylee made a really good move just before the mile-and-a-half mark, and it made for a very nice race at the end.”

Dunkirk’s Jericha Petrella finished ninth in the girls Class B race at the Section VI Cross Country Championships on Friday at Bemus Point Golf Club. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

Other state qualifiers in Class D included Frewsburg’s Acacia Barber (fifth, 20:41.78), Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Hannah Schauman (seventh, 21:32.10), Randolph’s Sydney Smith (eighth, 21:53.00) and Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Mackenzie Gratto (10th, 22:14.87).

“We’ve never sent three girls before. Hannah Schauman is an eighth-grader … she ran a phenomenal race,” Shrout said about the Wolfpack. “Mackenzie Gratto, it was really great to see her qualify because last year she missed going to states by five seconds.”

Dunkirk’s Jericha Petrella qualified for her first state meet after finishing ninth overall in the Class B race with a time of 21:07.98.

“I knew who I had to catch,” said Petrella after finishing in the final state-qualifying position. ” … I prayed the whole race and I just told myself that I could do it.”

In Class C, Fredonia’s Emily Brown took second in 20:10.20, 14.16 seconds behind winner Kimberly Goerss of Newfane, to advance to her third straight state meet.

“It’s OK. It’s not really what I was hoping for, but survive and advance. I’ll have another opportunity next week,” Brown said. “My goal has always been to improve from year to year. I’ve always just wanted to step up from year to year. I wasn’t in the position that I wanted to be in. … In the beginning of the race I was settling, but I kind of got angry at myself in the last half-mile.”

Silver Creek’s Ellie Decker also qualified for the state meet with a sixth-place finish in 20:42.31. The Black Knights won the Class C-2 crown, but only the Class C overall winner, Newfane with 71 points, advanced to the state meet. Joining Goerss on Long Island will be Vanessa Burkard (13th), Lydia Chunco (16th), Catalena Ersing (21st), Nina Burkard (22nd) and Marina Ersing (23rd).

East Aurora won the Class B team title with 24 points as Megan McLaughlin took first, Karis Ertel took second, Ava Danieu took sixth, Geneva Green took seventh, and Samantha Hulme took 10th.

Joining Petrella as individual qualifiers in Class B were Kayla Schmidt of Williamsville South, Heather Bugenhagen of Starpoint, Marisa Swiatek of Williamsville East and Nicole Kuehner of Iroquois.

Brown and Decker will be running alongside Alanna Holman of Albion, Sonya Krezmien of Springville and Angelina Napolean of Allegany-Limestone in the Class C race.

West Seneca West won the Class A team title with 73 points behind Anna Rybczynski (third), Emma Larkman (11th), Allison Stansby (12th), Sarah Mruk (18th) and Madison Mariani (29th). Class A individual qualifiers were Lockport’s Sydney Nowicki (first, 19:29.92), Orchard Park’s Marin Bogulski (second), Lancaster’s Maya Lasker (fourth), Orchard Park’s Caitlin O’Rourke (fifth) and Hamburg’s Raechel Zielinski (sixth).