The Amherst girls cross country team began its season in outstanding fashion Saturday, finishing in the top 10 at the OHSAA’s State Preview Meet.
Run each year on the same course as the state championships in November, the Preview annually sees some of the best teams statewide.
Two-time defending state champion Centerville emerged victorious in Saturday’s contest, scoring 45 points to easily outdistance the 25 teams in the Division 1 race. The Comets performed strongly as well, missing eighth place by just six points in a field loaded with state-ranked teams.
“This was a great start to our season,” Amherst girls coach Terry Kemp said. “To finish within just a couple of points of eighth in a field this strong is really encouraging.”
The Comets were led on Saturday by a great pack up front. Senior Cara Giannuzzi (42nd, 21:01), sophomore Kalyn Potyrala (48th, 21:03), senior Ashley Hill (52nd, 21:12), sophomore Leah Johnson (60th, 21:27), and junior Alicia DelValle (82nd, 21:44) all finished within 43 seconds of each other to lead the Comets’ scoring. Sophomore Kayla Snowden (86th, 22:04) was close behind the lead group.
“Having the varsity finish that close together this early in the season is such a good sign,” Kemp said. “That will only get better as the season goes on, and is really a strength for our team. And having Alicia run her career best time in the first meet is an absolutely fantastic start.”
Senior Bridgette Wadge (23:05) finished at Amherst’s number seven runner on Saturday, followed by Antonia Monteleone (23:12), Rachel Szczodrowski (23:13), and Camryn Leonard.
“We’ve been very pleased with how our group has responded to the challenges our coaching staff and seniors have given them these last few days,” Kemp said. “We feel so strongly about this group’s potential. If we can help them grow from here and improve each week, this will be a truly memorable season.”
The junior varsity Comets opened their season on Monday 22 at the Keystone Icebreaker Invitational, held at Carlisle Metropark Horse Trails in LaGrange.
Both varsity and junior varsity squads will compete at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday in the annual Southwestern Conference Preview Meet held at Lorain County Community College.