QUEENSBURY — Jeriqho Gadway and Margaret Champagne, the top harriers in Section VII, both have runners they look up to and try to emulate.
For Gadway, it is former Peru distance star Dan Lennon, now running for Syracuse University, and running legend Steve Prefontaine. Lennon racked up numerous state titles in cross country and track, and Gadway wanted to be like him.
For Champagne, it’s her older siblings, sister Mary Kate and brother Michael, both of whom won NYSPHSAA state cross country championships. She wants to join them at the top.
In the state championship meet Saturday at Queensbury High School, Gadway became a state champion like Lennon, finishing first in Class C. Champagne took second in Class D, but that and a third-place finish by her Seton Catholic team had her smiling ear-to-ear.
In addition to those two, Seton Catholic’s Melissa Whyman, Ashley Leta, Evan Page, and Saranac’s Zach LePage all medaled by finishing in the top 20 of their respective races.
Gadway, who began running in indoor track as an eighth grader and picked up cross country as a freshman, was making his third straight trip to the state meet. He improved on his 45th placing as a freshman by crossing as the 24th runner in 2012. And on Saturday, he made an even bigger leap.
The Plattsburgh High junior passed the finish line in 15 minutes, 49.3 seconds — 2 seconds ahead of Bronxville’s John Flannery— and stumbled onto the ground momentarily before being helped up by volunteers.
“I feel amazing,” Gadway said. “Racing-wise, I just ran my own race and just focused on me, not everyone around me. The course was better than the (Queensbury Invitational) earlier in the season.”
Champagne has been a regular at states since joining the varsity team in seventh grade. Her top finish was seventh place last year until Saturday. She finished the course in 18:53.4, 24 seconds behind winner Hope Pietrocarlo, a sophomore from second-place Maple Grove.
“It feels really good,” Champagne said. “Last year I just got gapped, but this year I was determined to not get gapped and stay with the main pack. After the second hill I knew I just had to go with whoever was going to go and take off for the finish.”
The Knights finished in third but were just two points (78) behind Maple Grove, the Class D champions of the past three seasons. Tully won on Saturday with a 49.
“I was just really happy because to be completely honest, we didn’t know if we would have five girls (at the start of the season),” Whyman said. “We didn’t know if we would have a team, if we would be competing as individuals or a team. To have this team and then to see ourselves place third, it’s really exciting. It shows that we all work hard. We may not have a lot of girls, but we put a lot into it.”
Whyman, a senior and four-year varsity runner with the Knights, shook off a disappointing showing in the Section VII Championship to finish eighth in 19:13, shaving 1 minute off her time from the Queensbury Invitational.
“My goal was just to improve my time from the Queenbury Invitational from earlier this year,” she said. “Anything else that came with it was going to be a surprise and phenomenal no matter what.”
Leta, who transferred from Peru to compete with the Knights for her senior year, crossed the finish line in 19:46.2 to take 16th. Seventh grader Sofia DeJordy (33rd – 20:27.4) and sophomore Maddy Munn (69th – 21:51.1) rounded out the Knights’ runners.
Another Seton Catholic runner, Page, took sixth in the Class D boys race in a time of 16:09.5.
“Evan had a great finish,” Seton Catholic co-coach Kathy Champagne said. “We knew going into states that he was in really good shape because he’s really been improving his time from last year.”
LePage, a sophomore, medaled with a 20th-place finish, clocking in at 16:39.8.
The Beekmantown boys team took eighth in the Class C race. The Ticonderoga boys team also finished eighth, in the Class D race. Peru finished 11th in Class B.
The Peru girls’ and Saranac girls’ teams each finished 11th in Class B and C, respectively.
NYSPHSAA Cross CountryChampionships
Class B: 63, Maria Remillard, Peru (20:32.6); 69, Shauna Fliss, Peru (21:03.1); 70, Abby Adams, Peru (21:30.4); 72, Cheyanne Dobozy, Peru (21:46.2); 73, Meghan Mazzella, Peru (21:55.2); 75, Lily Adams, Peru (23:27.6.); 77, Taylor Durocher, Peru (23:59.4).
Class C: 53, Elysha O’Connell, Saranac (20:05.8); 68, Abby Cerne, Saranac (20:39.1); 72, Samantha Smith, NCCS (20:40.8); 79, Johanna Mohrs, Saranac Lake (20:59.0); 97, Claire Deshaies, PHS (21:24.5); 102, Sophia Theron, Saranac Lake (21:28.1); 119, Anna Stitt, Beekmantown (22:13.9); 121, Lydia Miner, Saranac (22:36.3); 123, Taylor Manor, Saranac (22:40.9); 127, Janyll Barber, Saranac (23:17.6); 128, Andrea Strong, Saranac (23:35.8); 129, Lexi Haley, Saranac (23:44.5).
Class D: 2, Margaret Champagne, Seton Catholic (18:53.4); 8, Melissa Whyman, Seton Catholic (19:13.2); 16, Ashley Leta, Seton Catholic (19:46.2); 31, Nina Armstrong, Lake Placid (20:20.0); 33, Sofia DeJordy, Seton Catholic (20:27.4); 45, Gabby Armstrong (20:48.9); 60, Naomi Forkas, Ticonderoga (21:35.6); 69, Maddy Munn, Seton Catholic (21:51.1); 107, Erin Scufka, Lake Placid (26:03.6); 113, Casey Hargett, Ticonderoga (29:51.3).
Class B: 68, Brady Terry, Peru (18:21.5); 72, Ethan Feazelle, Peru (19:17.9); 73, Tristan Archambeault, Peru (19:25.5); 74, Andrew Caswell, Peru (20:04.2); 75, Jared Banker, Peru (20:19.9); 76, Benjamin Morgan, Peru (21:06.5); 77, Thomas Gwinn, Peru (21:08.5).
Class C: 1, Jeriqho Gadway, PHS (15:49.3); 20, Zach LePage, Saranac (16:39.8); 23, Colin Quckenbush, Beekmantown (16:42.4); 53, Jonathan Graziane, Beekmantown (17:20.8); 67, Jordan West, beekmantown (17:42.0); 77, Chad Dashnaw, Saranac (17:53.1); 92, Everett Sapp, Beekmantown (18:14.1); 101, Justin Liechty, Saranac (18:31.8); 103, Connor Cota, PHS (18:32.4); 112, Cory Couture, Beekmantown (18:53.0); 121, Patrick Sullivan, Beekmantown (19:05.1); 128, Myles West, Beekmantown (19:47.2).
Class D: 6, Evan Page, Seton Catholic (16:09.5); 24, Jon Gay, Westport (16:44.8); 30, Shawn Silliman, Ticonderoga (16:57.2); 38, Tyler Belden, Ticonderoga (17:10.3); 53, Kody Parrott, Ticonderoga (17:32.1); 63, Karl Shultz, Lake Placid (17:52.1); 77, Jacob Young, Ticonderoga (18:15.5); 82, Caleb Moore, Seton Catholic (18:30.5); 90, Forest Ledger, Lake Placid (18:46.3); 97, Coleman Granger, Ticonderoga (19:09.6); 104, Martin Glazer, Ticonderoga (19:27.7); 110, John Cook, Ticonderoga (19:41.5).