Members of first Saratoga state champion team from 1987 back together: (L to R) Jody Brust Kendrick, Stacy Pearce Rigano, Linda Kranick, Yolanda Strock Taylor, Art Kranick, Laura Avella, Cheri Goddard, Staci Snider, Lynn McGourty Prehn
Saratoga Springs, NY - On Saturday night, near the banks of Saratoga Lake where track and field all began back in 1874, the harriers returned home to a legendary program that won its first cross country state championship 30 years ago. More than 120 runners of coaches Art and Linda Kranick's Saratoga Blue Streaks teams -- from a winless 1985 guys' squad to the golden age girls of 1987 to 2005, to the recent powerhouse troupes -- came back to shine still more light on a program that has been competing at the top level nationally for more than three decades.
The stories flowed out as Saratoga alumni reached back in their memories. There were the years when the Blue Streaks racked up a combined 18 state crowns along with a Nike national championship for the girls in 2004. The guys had their own NXN win in 2005. Add in another eight number 1 team selections in the national polls for the girls pre-NXN. And though the focus in XC at least is always on the team, it's hard to ignore the star power from a Streaker pack of individual state champions that includes Cheri Goddard, Jessica Milosch, Erin Davis, Danielle Coon, Nicole Blood, Hannah Davidson, and Kelsey Chmiel. Dylan Welsh also represented for the boys winners, plus seven 2nds for the girls and four for the guys.
Speakers ranged from members of Art Kranick's athletes on track and football teams in the early 1980s at the long since closed Draper HS in Rotterdam, to runners on the current Saratoga teams. From all who spoke came an affirmation of the love, support, and dedication that the Kranicks have poured into a lifework that provided them, as Linda noted, with a a big family that is continuously restocked with teenagers, which would be most parents' biggest nightmare.
For Art and Linda, however, the joy and excitement they get from traveling with and coaching the Saratoga teams and running the "competitive but not too competitive" Kinetic XC Club seems to be never-ending, even if the Blue Streak kids are frequent sore spots in the backside. To all the runners, the message is simple: any glory only comes with grit, guts, and a huge amount of hard work. Mixed in with it all is a lot of fun and foolishness, but only after the important job is done.
We captured more than half of the speakers on the night in the videos linked in below, and apologies to those we missed while doing a few individual interviews or doing some camera maintenance work. Linda's recounting of the couple's years in the running world occupy the biggest chunk of the talks, and Art was coaxed into being a little prolix for once as he expanded beyond his promised three words (presumably "Pick it up!") all the way instead to to the voluminous "Thank you very much."
It was certainly a night when the word "Thanks" was said a lot to two classy inspirational forces in high school running.
Videos from the Saratoga Reunion Dinner
Banquet room scan
Opener from Jamie Navarro, part way in
Talking with Aidan Tooker - '16
Mike Surin and Mark Thompson from Draper
Happy Birthday for Art and Linda
Jamie Navarro intro for Hannah Davidson
Ciara Knott and video setup interlude
Ciara Knott and trip video
Talking with Dylan Welsh
Peter Sheehan, AD, first part
Gift presented by Yola Strock Taylor and wrap-up