Three local runners will be heading to Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Dryden High School seniors Emily Miller and Spencer Strickland qualified in the Section 4 Championships Nov. 7 at Chenango Valley State Park.
Homer Central sophomore Emma Anderson qualified two days later during the Section 3 Championships at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
All three were among the top five finishers on the non-winning team at their respective championships.
Strickland will be the first to run in the NYSPHSAA Class C Boys’ Championship race at 10 a.m. He was fourth overall in Section 4 Class C Boys with a time of 17:40.8. Strickland is currently ranked 45th in the state in Class C out of 216 runners.
Miller will run at noon in the NYSPHSAA Class C Girls’ Championship race.
Miller was second overall in the Section 4 Class C Girls’ race with a time of 20:08.3. She is the highest ranked of the three runners in 23rd in Class C out of 217 runners.
This is Miller’s second straight trip to the State Championships. She finished 20th overall in 2018 with a time of 20:16.3 and she was the second Section 4 runner across the finish line.
“Emily and Spencer are two very dedicated, hard working individuals,” Dryden coach Ashley Wirges said. “I have loved coaching them these past several years and have enjoyed watching them grow as athletes and as people. They are both humble leaders that go out of their way to help others, set great examples and take on that role of “older sibling” to others on our team. Even despite the long commute and single digit temperatures after wind chill, Emily and Spencer will have a huge cheering squad at States because our team adores them and because we all want to celebrate their success.
“As far as my expectations for them at the State Meet,” Wirges continued. “I don’t like to tell my athletes where I think they should place. If they feel really good that day, I want them to go for it and not just settle for a place number because I said it. They earned their way to the championship and now my expectation for them is that they will run to the best of their ability, as they have all season. They are two tough people who have put a lot of hard work in and I am incredibly proud of both of them.”
Anderson finished fifth overall in the Section 3 Class B girls’ race with a time of 20:51.3. She will run at 11:30 a.m. She is ranked 62 in the state in Class B girls out of 193.
“Emma has worked really hard this season and set out to qualify for the race at SUNY Plattsburgh,” Homer coach Jim Baldwin said. “At sectionals she ran in fifth place throughout the race. She has continued to get stronger and more confident. Her hard work this season is going to be realized Saturday. It has been several years since a Homer sophomore has qualified for the state meet. Coach Jason Graves and I are hopeful she can finish in the top third of Class B athletes.”
There will be eight championship races in all Saturday starting with the Class A boys at 9 a.m. and ending with the Class D girls at 12:30 p.m.