Amber Gibbs wins crown, eyes states
By Keith Harrington
Coming into the Adirondack League Cross Country Championships, Granville-Whitehall’s Amber Gibbs was the overwhelming favorite to win the girls race. Gibbs was not only unbeaten on the season in league meets, she was rarely challenged on the course, often winning by as much as three or four minutes.
Gibbs did not disappoint on Thursday, dominating once again to claim the league crown at Queensbury High School.
Gibbs, a junior, navigated the 3.1-mile course in 21:14.19, an average of 6:51 per mile.
After the race Gibbs was asked how she felt about achieving a goal she has been chasing for a few seasons.
“I would say rewarding. I was working for this for a long time,” Gibbs said. “I definitely wanted it.”
Gibb’s coach Tim Best was equally excited.
“I’m very pleased. She’s worked really hard. This has been a goal of hers for the last couple years,” Best said. “She had some injuries last year and I told her today was her day. She took advantage of it and I’m very proud of her.”
After the start Gibbs quickly positioned herself near the front of the field. When the runners emerged from the woods and entered the shoot it was clear that she was in complete control.
“There was mud on the course, but it was a good course. I like this course,” Gibbs said. “I did glance behind me. In fear that there might be someone back there. I think I knew when that first hill came along that I had it.”
“When she came around with that big lead, I was expecting that, but I was still relieved,” Best added.
Samantha Savage of Corinth/Hadley-Luzerne was second, followed by Brynn Tyler of Hartford, Taylor Syvertsen of Lake George and Rylee Dunbar of Corinth/Hadley-Luzerne.
Layla Johnston of Lake George, Kara Tucker of North Warren, Kayla Grant of Lake George, Sophie Unkauf of Lake George and Erica Sialunski of Argyle rounded out the top 10.
Corinth/Hadley-Luzerne followed up their regular season league title by claiming the team title. Lake George was second.
Gibbs now looks ahead to the Section II meet and an opportunity to qualify for the New York state championships.
“That is a goal. I’ve wanted to go to states. I’m going to make it my goal to go there,” Gibbs said.
“That’s been a goal of hers as well. It’s something to shoot for. We’ll run on the same course a week from now and see what happens,” Best said.
The Section II meet will be held at Queensbury High School on Nov. 5.
Horde falls to powerhouse Johnstown, 6-0
By Keith Harrington
The Granville field hockey team ran into a buzzsaw last Thursday afternoon, and despite its best effort saw its season come to an end. Johnstown, a powerhouse program for years, flexed its muscles and blanked the Golden Horde, 6-0, in the Section II Class C semifinals at Knox Field.
Cole Krempa recorded a hat trick and the Johnstown defense was like a stone wall as the Lady Bills advanced to the title match for the fourth consecutive year.
“We are so proud of how hard these girls worked all season,” said Granville coach Katie Barber. “Many of them through injuries. They always worked together and did so much more than play the game of field hockey.”
Johnstown coach Christine Krempa had high praise for the Golden Horde.
“I didn’t know much about Granville but their record, that they are scrappy and move the ball like most grass teams do,” Krempa said.
Emily Pertell converted a penalty corner from Nicole Simon less than two minutes into the match to stake the Lady Bills to a 1-0 lead.
Cole Krempa scored her second goal off a rebound to make it 2-0 Johnstown at the end of the first period.
Cole Krempa hit the back of the cage 16 seconds into the second quarter to extend the Lady Bill’s lead to 3-0.
Caroline Krempa and Ava Barker tacked on scores in the second to give Johnstown a commanding 5-0 advantage at the half. Ayaka Sasaki assisted on both goals.
Even though they were facing a large deficit, Barber was pleased with the effort of her squad.
“Throughout the game you never saw the girls put their heads down,” Barber noted. “They fought to the last minute and Coach Sheldon, Coach Hunt and myself couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Cole Krempa scored the only goal of the second half, finishing off her hat trick in the third quarter off an assist from Pertell.
Johnstown outshot Granville 33-0 and held a 23-0 edge in penalty corners.
Megan Decker did her best to shut down the Lady Bills in the Golden Horde cage, stopping 20 shots.
“Megan decker was a beast with 20 saves in the cage, and Natalie Williams added a couple of diving saves defensively as well,” Barber added.
Johnstown is now 15-3 and advanced to face top-seed Hoosick Falls in the Class C championship game.
Granville ends the season 11-7.
Barber and the coaching staff are going to miss a strong group of seniors but are looking forward to what next year’s team can accomplish.
“We are sad to see the seniors move on, but wish them all the best,” Barber said. “They are going to do great things. We have some big shoes to fill but were getting ready for next season already.”
Granville-Whitehall runners contend for title
By Keith Harrington
Warrensburg’s Brody Olden has been the runner to beat all season long and he lived up to the advanced billing. After qualifying for states a year ago Olden took the next step toward a return trip by winning the Adirondack League Cross Country championship Thursday afternoon at Queensbury High School.
Granville-Whitehall also had a solid day at the meet with a top-five finisher and contending for the team title.
Olden completed the 3.1-mile course in a time of 17:42.97, an average of 5:42 per mile.
Lake George placed eight runners in the top 10. James Richard and Liam Stack Fahey were second and third for the Warriors. Quinn Johnson of Granville-Whitehall was fourth and Jason Ludlow of Lake George fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Caden Willett, Oliver Herrick, Brendan Battersea-manna, Sam Burns and Cameron Hoffis, all of Lake George.
Other Granville-Whitehall runners who placed in the top 25 were Parker Cornwall in 11th, Carter Powell in 15th and Finley Vanderminden in 24th.
The highest finisher for Hartford was Bryton Mandigo in 17th.
Lake George won the team championship over Granville, Corinth/Hadley-Luzerne and Hartford.