Flashback Friday: Burnt Hills + Lawler Let It B at Chenango

Chenango Valley in 2016 had beautiful conditions for flat-out running your best, but on the boys' side it did not necessarily lead to hugely competitive races at the team or individual level. Only Class D had a great battle between teams and just Class A had a barn-burner at the top among the runners. And speaking of burning, Class B had some scorched-earth results as the Spartan new guys on the block replaced the Vikings who had ruled for three straight years. But before we get to B, there are three other following races that need to be covered.

Class C was the second race, and it was no surprise that Watkins Glen would place three guys in the top 10 and win after finishing 2nd to East Aurora in 2015 and seeing the Blue Devils promoted to Class B for 2016. Briarcliff's Ryan Gallagher had finished only 19th in C in 2015, but 13 of the guys ahead of him were seniors and he was fully ready to win by more than 12 seconds in a field that included just Watkins Glen freshman Gabe Planty as a non-senior among the top 13 finishers. Class D saw Norwood-Norfolk's Kyle Fulk take the top spot by more than 12 seconds, but the team battle between Maple Grove and Lake Placid was fierce. The Red Dragons were able to reverse the 2015 results with a 58-61 win over the Bombers and gain their first title. Another team that moved up from the 2015 runner-up spot to claim its first title was Corning in Class A with a convincing 59-80-80 win over Warwick Valley and reigning champ Liverpool. Ty Brownlow of Liverpool had the most exciting individual win as he broke away from Sachem North's Chris Tibbetts, Guilderland's Noah Carey, and Liverpool teammate Steve Schulz on the last straightaway for a 3-second victory.

In Class B, Burnt Hills had assumed the role of heavy favorite when it returned five of its top six runners from a 3rd place States team that included three freshmen -- Aidan Gillooley, Evan Brennan, Nick Hunziker -- among that group along with junior Michael Bashant. With Tyler Berg added to the elite group of now Spartan sophomores along with freshman David Metacarpa, Burnt Hills looked like a safe bet to end Pittsford-Mendon's three-year reign at the top after the Vikings lost three of their top four to graduation. PM did have Class B's top runner with Nathan Lawler, however, and after a surprise win in Section 5 the Vikings could not be counted out. Somers was also in the mix with a first appearance at States in nine years after 1st and 2nd place finishes in 2003 and 2004. Brighton's Paul Dellinger had dueled with Lawler on a couple of occasions and was seen as possible winner, while East Aurora's Ian Russ had started out the year explosively but was starting to have some late-season issues.

Indeed, Lawler and Dellinger ran close together far in the lead for much of the race, but Lawler broke away and opened up a lead that would grow to 30 seconds at the finisher as he replaced Carthage's Noah Affolder as Class B champion. Dellinger held on for the next spot to finish a half second ahead of Glens Falls' Chris Hughes, who would win the 2017 Class C title. Seniors Chris Nowak of Sweet Home and Patrick Dye of Jamesville-Dewitt finished in at 4th and 5th.

Burnt Hills' onslaught began with Brennan in 6th place and continued with Berg and Gillooley in 14th and 15th and Metacarpa in 34th to open up a 30 point lead over PM through four runners. Michael Bashant and Luke Gobel finished in 60th and 65th to seal up the win for the Spartans by 53 to 91 over the Vikings with Somers in 3rd at 95.

Note that the team results show 12 listings instead of the maximum 11 because Beekmantown had five at-large runners qualify for States though the team did not qualify as a scoring unit.

Interview with Nathan Lawler

Interview with Burnt Hills