The 2013 Lake George High School Cross-Country Team includes (front, left to right): Jake Montana, Ethan McGowan, John Ferrone, Brad Williams, Colin Clark, Max O’Connell, (row 2): Clare Gillman, Kellie O’Brien, Megan Mastrodomenico, Erika Abrantes, Molly Mogren, Jessica Huber, Emma Collins, and coach Scott Smith. (Not pictured): Gideon Jardine, Austin Zimmerman, Sophie Ferrone, Amanda Binder, Avery Hill, Tawnie Butkowski, Martha Donnelly, and Rahul Singh.
LAKE GEORGE Following a tradition of encouraging students to achieve their personal best, the Lake George High School Cross-Country team has made waves since 2008, garnering lots of sectional and league championships as well as sending many of its runners to state tournaments.
Last year was no exception, as the Lake George girls won the team championship, and various members, both boys and girls, were named league All-Stars.
While coveted trophies are satisfying to win, it’s more gratifying to know you’ve been building character in athletes regardless of their ability levels, coach Scott Smith said.
“I want everyone to know they’re an important part of the team no matter how fast or slow they are,” he said this week. “We’ve had great athletes on the team as well as those who wouldn’t traditionally be considered as athletic, or do well in ball sports.”
Since 2008, many of the latter have made remarkable achievements for the team, he said.
“We’ve had many extraordinary athletes,” he said. “Yet we remember that the most important kids on the team are the newest and youngest.”
In their road to success, the team has employed a novel approach, nurturing a sense of family — with the experienced athletes mentoring the younger ones, as the program combines the junior-high students with the high schoolers. Team captains are chosen for kindness, patience, responsibility and work ethic, Smith said.
This family approach has prompted the team to grow year-by-year, and it’s now approaching 40 students strong.
Standout runners for 2013 include second-year runner Erika Abrantes, a Sophomore, the fastest Varsity girl at this point and an Adirondack League All-Star; and John Ferrone, a Junior, who has already tallied an impressive record for his endurance, Smith said.
Others with great potential include Sophie Ferrone, Austin Zimmerman, Amanda Binder and Jessica Huber — all of whom earned league All-Star status last year, as well as Molly Mogren, and Gideon Jardine — who has won the Modified Adirondack League championship.
“We’ve got a strong lineup this year,” Smith said. The team’s final roster isn’t ready for another several weeks because more students may be joining the team, he added.
“So much is dictated by how much a student runs over the summer,” Smith said.