Weekly Feature

2018-09-13 / Sports

Cross-country teams ready to compete


The Orchard Park boys and girls cross-country teams are bringing back a good number of athletes from squads that each put forth solid performances last season.

The boys team will be led by a top five of Jack Heraty, Chris Bertola, Noah Sayoc, Michael Kane and Isaac Johnson. They’ll be pushed by a deep group of guys who are looking to get in the starting five.

“These guys should have a strong season,” Orchard Park assistant coach Steven Dillsworth said. “They are being pushed by a great crew behind them who are always trying to battle their way into a top-five spot. Depending on the race, our top boys can hold a pace between five- and five-and-a-half-minute miles, which puts their finishing times in the 16-minute range, which is very exciting.”

Senior Evan Kasper has joined the team and is already finishing in the top 10. He’s one of many who have had a strong month of practice.

“He has quickly found himself in the top 10 in his first year with the team,” Dillsworth said. “Additionally, there are a bunch of runners who will have great seasons as evident by the first month of practice. Our teams have been logging a lot of miles and have really ramped up training from last season.”

Meanwhile, the girls will be led by a top five of Caitlyn O’Rourke, Marin Bogulski, Sophia Machowski, Emily McHugh and Olivia Ippolito. The girls team also has solid depth that will push the top girls.

“Our top five for girls are being pushed by a great group of girls behind them,” Dillsworth said. “Again, depending on the race, our girls are looking at sub-20 minute finish times, which is just awesome.”

Marin Bogulski has been a solid addition to the girls team. She’s a three-sport athlete who went to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet in outdoor track last year.

The boys and girls teams practice together as one team throughout the season, adding to a sense of team unity. The Quakers are hoping that will lead to success on the course this season. That will mean many different things for different athletes.

“Our main goal is to help our kids to succeed,” Dillsworth said. “Success looks different for everyone because we have such a wide array of runners on our team of over 50 student-athletes. Some are eyeing up a spot in states, others are looking to go sub-20 minutes in a race for the first time and some are simply looking to break their (personal best time).”

Both teams will have to take on some of the area’s top competition, as they are large schools. Frontier and Clarence are strong on the boys side, while Clarence and West Seneca West are the top teams on the girls side.

“It’s early in the season, but Frontier and Clarence always have a strong program and will undoubtedly be some great competition for our boys team,” Dillsworth said. “West Seneca West and Clarence for the girls team.”

email: tnigrelli @beenews.com

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