A TRIO OF WINNERS — Elle Russell, Jessica Wojtkowiak and Kalei Brautlacht showed up strong in Grove City, Pa.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute co-ed cross-country team ran against a strong Lake Shore team on Oct. 8. The race was held on a wet and muddy course at Evengola Park in Lake Shore. The boys team, led by Mitchell Bunic and Tyler Olrogg, ran very well, according to coach Chad Russell. The top five scoring runners for the team made a tight pack, all top-five scorers, finishing within a minute of each other. Captain Elliott Tessmer, Don Piateck and Francis Schichtel completed the pack for the boys. They lost 35-21 against a stronger Lake Shore team, that includes two runners that ran at state championships, last year.
The girls team won against Lake Shore 24-31. The girls have one loss in the league, with one week left of dual meets. The team is ranked ninth in Western New York for small schools. The ladies were led by senior captain Jessica Wojtkowiak, and eighth grader Elle Russell, in the win. Kalei Brautlacht and McKenzie Maloy were just 25 seconds behind the first two girls, to push them ahead in the meet. “This pack is what has earned the girls team their ranking in WNY,” Russell added.
On Oct. 5, the team headed to Grove City, Pa. The girls team finished fourth overall, out of 14 teams present. Russell and Wojtkowiak placed sixth and seventh and Brautlacht came in 19th. Russell and Wojtkowiak were named “Runners of the Week” by Runner’s Roost and Checkers, for this performance, and were invited to an elite meet at the end of the regular cross-country season. Brautlacht and Maloy have been invited to this elite meet, in past years. The first-place team in S-GI’s division is East Aurora, which has dominated not only WNY, but won the state championship, five out of the last eight years. “So, our team is hoping to close that gap a little more, this year,” Russell said.
They boys team finished eighth out of 14 teams, at the Grove City meet. The team was led by Bunic and Tessmer. The boys also formed a tight pack in this race, even though two of the top seven boys were not at the meet.
“It was nice to see Bradley Ziffra, Jake Gorski and Kurt Uschold step up, to help the team, at the meet,” Russell added.