GRAND ISLAND — Lockport's boys and girls cross country teams earned NFL championships on Saturday at Beaver island State Park, but the Lady Vikings of Grand Island will share the girls' title with the Lady Lions.
Owen White (14:36.6) of the Lions earned the NFL individual title, while teammates Kenny Currie (3rd), Jackson Doran (4th) and Lucas Powley (8th) all cracked the top 10 in the boys' varsity race. Lew-Port's Justin Pavan was second and Lancers reammates Cole Acetta (5th), Ben Wisto (7th) and Joshua Wisto (10th) also cracked the Top 10 for the runner-up Lancers. Other top 10 individual runners were Ken East's Justice Ramsey (6th) and Niagara Falls' Patrick Klinger (9th).
“The course was very difficult to run. Muddy, wet, and a windy day, with temps in the high 30s and low 40s,” reported Lions' coach Tim Willett.
“I was proud that our boys team delivered on what we had been working toward all season. Guys did not care what order they came in, as long as we were able to get the win. Owen is such a hard worker and very dedicated to the sport, especially over the last year. He won convincingly. Kenny really stepped up today and showed the future is bright for our program."
“I'm looking forward to what he can do next week at sectionals in a bigger field too. Jackson was right with him and was pulling rocks out of his spikes at the end of the race. No rocks next week, and he could have his best race of the season in store. Lucas and Jesse Nowicki (13th overall) did a fine job of closing in on some top finishes as well. They solidified the victory for the team with strong races each. Josh Ferraro (18th) and Colin Connolly (23rd) were steady as well for our squad. I am really happy with how consistent both have been for us this season,” Willett said.
Willett said early in the boys' race, it was not a given that White would be the eventual winner.
“At 1km, several boys were vying for the lead and Owen was patient enough to wait for the right moment to take the lead and then pull away from the field,” Willett said.
On the girls side, Lockport's Sydney Nowicki earned the NFL girls individual championship, winning in 16:25.
“She was ahead of the field by nearly 300m by the 1.5m mark,” Willett said. “It was also very clear at the same spot that Grand Island's girls team was serious about winning the race today. Out of the woods, Riley Joseph (2nd overall) led with teammates Faith Caldwell (3rd), Alexandra Jensen (4th) with Haley Pizur (6th) close in tow.”
With GI's team win on Saturday, the Lady Vikings and Lockport are co-champions at 15-1 each.
Sectionals are next Friday at Knox Farms in East Aurora. Nowicki is the two-time defending Class A champion and was runner up in 2016 to teammate Carissa DiTullio.
Other top 10 individial girls finishers today were Lockport's Emma Cain (10th), Niagara-Wheatfield's Victoria Achtziger-Hughes (5th), Kenmore West's Lily Holden (7th) and Maddie Frank (9th) and Kenmore East's Maddie Fox (8th).