TICONDEROGA Lee Berube wasnt going to take any chances this time, so the Ticonderoga High School cross country stalwart went ahead and crushed the field at the Class D state championship race Nov. 10. Berube, the top-ranked Class D runner in the state, won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association title in Norwood. He toured the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 14.5 seconds to win by 46 seconds. It was largest margin of victory in any class. Besides winning the state crown, Berube exorcised the demons of a year ago. 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. Its big (to win a state championship). Ive been looking forward to it since my freshman year. But the state title is just one of Berubes goals. 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. In the state championship race Berube broke free of the pack early, opened a big lead and coasted to victory. I just wanted to win it as easily as possible, Berube said. I didnt want to kill myself; I still have two more races. This is something Ive been looking forward to, but Im really focused on doing well at Federation and at Foot Locker, he said. My training is going really well. I have a lot of confidence heading into Federation and hope to win it. Ti Coach Brian Kiely expects Berube to run well at the Federation Meet and at Foot Locker. Lee Berube has a unique blend of physical ability, mental toughness and work ethic that has made him successful, 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, he added. Ticonderoga has won five sectional titles in boys cross country in the past five years and Lee has been on four of these teams. His presence has helped show our younger runners what is possible to achieve with the right attitude and persistence. He has also shown great grace in disappointing circumstances, such as last years narrow loss at the state championship meet. Berube, who is undecided about his college plans, is Tis first cross country champion although the program has been one of the most successful in the state. Jay Wells, now the girls cross country coach at Ti High, finished second and third in the Class C state meet in 1996 and 1997 while a student. Jesse Berube, Lees older brother, finished third and Lee Gabler fifth in 2005 Class D state meet. The Sentinels have had 12 top-15 finishes at the state championship race. We have had a great deal of success, over the past decade especially, but Ticonderoga cross country has a great history dating back to Jim Hall, who started the program, and Jim Cunningham, who preceded me, Kiely said. I have been truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach these runners. Ti High has produced two other state champions, both in track and field. Jeremy Hall won the boys discus about 15 years ago and Andrea Staepel won the girls 800-meter run in 1998. Ticonderoga has never had a team win a state championship. In the team competition at the state meet in Norwood Ticonderoga finished fifth. Following Berube were Mike Lonergan 52nd, Brendan Carberry 56th, Jared Best 62nd, Jay Berube 73rd, Josh Cook 81st and Eian Tierney 84th. Katie Karkoski and Amber Perkins represented Ti in the girls race. Karkoski finished 62nd and Perkins 90th.