Section I turns out for Xavier Invitational


The Bronx, N.Y. – Marc Violone and Byram Hills are big fans of Van Cortlandt Park’s rollicking course, but not for the huge crowds that arrive with the Manhattan College Invitational. With that in mind, Saturday’s Xavier Invitational was the ideal venue for the boys from Section I to get a crack at Vanny’s 2.5-mile swing.

“It’s a historic course,” said Byram Hills assistant coach Tom Andriello. “It’s an opportunity for (Violone) to get a fast time on the course and for the other seniors to run it one last time.”

Violone, a senior who finished sixth at last year’s NYSPHSAA Class B Championship, sped through a soggy course in 13:12 for the win, pulling away from Stuyvesant junior Jack Stevenson (13:23).

“We’re looking for everyone to come together (in one race),” said Violone of his team, which only brought a handful of runners, including 10th-place finisher Ben Ferraro. “We haven’t really had that yet this year.”

Thomas Jefferson took the team title with 46, points, edging host Xavier (49).

“We have some guys who have really put in the work this summer,” said Thomas Jefferson coach Claudel Martin, who returns a strong core of runners, including junior Sidgie Greene, who finished third at the PSAL City Championships a year ago.


New Rochelle coach Andy Capellan wanted to give his girls another look at Van Cortlandt before the Manhattan College Invitational on Oct. 9. They got an eyeful, and claimed a victory with 52 points, holding off South Side and Holy Trinity.

“The kids came through,” said Capellan. “We’ve been working on running as a cluster. To go into Van Cortlandt and win the title at the Xavier Invitational, I’m pretty happy with that.”

Junior Lara Gaffney and senior Selena Marshall led the effort, finishing fifth and seventh. Holy Trinity’s Caroline Brown won the race in 16:09.

New Rochelle has been running without its No. 1 runner, senior Maura McCabe, who is nursing a leg injury. Gaffney has stepped up in response.

“She’s been holding up the team,” said Capellan of Gaffney. “She’s been carrying the team.”

New Rochelle’s biggest competition in Class A in Westchester comes from White Plains and Ursuline.

“I’m hoping to win Westchester County Class A as a surprise,” said Capellan.

Notes:  Xavier has been running without senior Dmitri Zuccarello, one of the top distance runners in the city. Zuccarello is recovering from a high ankle sprain. In his absence other runners, like junior Isidro Camacho, have stepped up. Camacho finished eighth Saturday.  … St. John’s Prep senior Gabriel Vazquez, one of the CHSAA’s top returning cross country runners, finished sixth in 14:08. He noted that this year the league looks especially tough:  “We all know each other. We all race against each other. The CHSAA is looking really good.” … Garnet Valley High School made the trip from southeastern Pennsylvania and put two runners in the top five: junior Anthony Smart (13:47) and senior Brian O’Donnell (14:03).