The fact Ticonderogas Lee Berube won the New York State Public High Athletic Association Class D cross country championship is really not a surprise, but that doesnt make it any less remarkable. Berube was the top-ranked Class D runner in the state all season and had finished second as a junior in 2006. Hes good and everyone knew it. Of course, thats the point everyone knew it and was gunning for him. Its seldom theres such a prohibitive favorite in a high school cross country meet. The pressure on the Ti High senior was enormous. Anything less than a championship would have been deemed failure my many, including Berube himself. Lee Berube has a unique blend of physical ability, mental toughness and work ethic that has made him successful, Ti Coach Brian Kiely said. He is truly a gifted athlete, but few runners would be willing to put in the work he does to improve. Lee is a very mature individual who sets goals for himself and is willing to make the sacrifices to achieve them. Thats true, but even hard work and talent come up short at times. Distance running is a fickle sport. A sniffle on race day, bad food the night before, a hole on the course, an angry hamstring, tough weather theres a long list of things that go wrong for favorites. Berube would have none of that, though. He took control of the state championship race in the early going and cruised to a dominating 46-second victory. A 46-second win in a championship cross country race is like a NFL team winning the Super Bowl by a 99-0 score. When he came out the woods to finish everyone was asking where the second runner was, said Bob LaRue of North Country SportNet. No one could believe it. He wasnt even running hard. The win was especially sweet for Berube because of last years race. In 2006 he led most of the race only to be passed in the final stride. He finished second, missing the state championship by 7/10th of a second. Last year was a really challenging race for me; it really motivated me to win states this time, he said. And Berubes not done yet. Today he runs the New York Federation Meet in Wappingers Falls. That race will pit runners of all classes. He finished fourth there in 2006. Nov. 24 hell run the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Meet in New York City. There the top 10 finishers advance to the national championship race in San Diego. Last year Berube finished 12th at the Foot Locker regional, missing a trip to nationals by 6 seconds. The pressure is off Berube. No one expects him to dominate the Federation of Foot Locker races. Now hes a kid from a little school running against the top competition in the nation. Dont bet against him.