Kim Fohrd of Mount Saint Mary not only won her first-ever cross country race on Sunday, she dominated it.
The sophomore captured the Monsignor Martin Association cross country championship on a cold day and sloppy course at the Knox Estate in East Aurora. She ran the 5,000 meters in 20 minutes 27 seconds, almost a full minute under the time of her teammate Hailey Gattuso (21:22). Fohrd had about a 500-foot advantage when she hit the finish.
“I really pushed myself,” Fohrd said. “It was hard, it was muddy, but I got there.”
Despite runners from the Mount finishing first and second, Immaculata won its second straight MMA title as Katie Simon (21:58), Rachel Luczak (22:00), Claire Attea (22:05), Grace Attea (22:34) and Mary Kate Smith (22:38) finished fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth and 10th, respectively. While the tight pack propelled Immaculata over Mount Saint Mary, 34-37, Immaculata coach Charles Planz credited a gritty performance by Attea with pushing them over the top.
“Claire Attea has been hurt part of the season, then she came down with respiratory problems. She wasn’t up to potential physically as well as mentally,” Planz said. “She certainly got her thoughts and health back together today, and that’s what brought it for us.”
Buffalo Seminary’s Sam Burlow, who finished third (21:46) Sunday, will join Fohrd, Gattuso and the Immaculata cross country team at the New York State Federation cross county meet at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls on Nov. 16.
In the boys race, Canisius’ Billy Christ capped off his MMA career with his second consecutive league championship, improving on his time from last year by six seconds, finishing at 17:06.
Christ, whose backside was completely brown from all the mud picked up throughout the race, said the 30-degree temperatures and sloppy conditions weren’t going to deny him his second championship.
“That was the only goal” this year - “to repeat,” Christ said.
“Around the two-mile mark I thought I had it in the bag, it’s when I started to go.”
St. Joe’s won its second straight team title as all of its seven runners finished in the top 10. Those runners are: Anthony Belfatto (second, 17:16), JD McGuire (third, 17:30), Joe Sulhay (fourth, 17:52), Liam Hilbert (sixth, 18:04), Jack DiCesere (seventh, 18:18), Cornell Overfield (eighth, 18:28), and Charlie Cilano (10th, 18:57).
St. Joe’s team total was only 23 points.
“They have been working together all year,” Joe’s coach Matt Hellerer said. “They feed off each other, they push each other regularly in practice and in the races. They’re a great group of guys.”
Joining Christ and St. Joe’s at Federation are two more Canisius runners – Liam Gallagher (fifth, 18:01) and Brian Armstrong (ninth, 18:36), who both finished in the top 10.
Hellerer described the Federation meet as a war, filled with 250-plus of the best cross country runners in the state. He said he’s thrilled to return to Federation and would be excited if his team were able to crack the top 15.