MIDDLETOWN -- Sadly, for the legions of athletes anxiously anticipating competing this fall, the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic eradicated their season, postponing sports like football, soccer, volleyball …
MIDDLETOWN -- Sadly, for the legions of athletes anxiously anticipating competing this fall, the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic eradicated their season, postponing sports like football, soccer, volleyball and cross-country until March, with no guarantee that they will even take place then. But for dedicated runners, there is no such thing as not lacing up their shoes and heading out to run.
Running is in their bloodstream and as vital to them as breathing. I know whereof I speak. I vividly recall the period in my life when I was training daily for looming 5k's, 10k's, half-marathons and the NYC Marathons. Back then, running was the central activity of my life. Though swimming has since replaced running as my means of staying fit and being centered, I remember well the impetus and joy that running brings.
Clearly not everyone who runs has that intense passion but for several dedicated distance mavens from Sullivan West and Tri-Valley, a chance still exists to compete even though the school races are not taking place. 12th Rock Ministries, a non-profit enterprise started by brothers Mark and Greg Jaloszynski seeks to provide sports opportunities for youth in these turbulent times. Its faith-based mission is to reinforce character, responsibility, community and integrity and to hopefully impart an increased awareness of spirituality while providing opportunities to forge unity between mind, body and spirit in a variety of sports.
A future sports complex is still in the planning stage that will no doubt become a nexus for regional athletes. Though the leaves are falling quietly on the sparsely populated trails of Bear Mountain and other venues, harriers have been taking to the 12th Rock pristine course and competing as unattached runners. 12th Rock in conjunction with Fulton Accurate Timing is sponsoring a series of races this fall that have already seen some of our locals marshaling their efforts despite the disappointing postponement of their school season.
The first race was held on September 26. Three Sullivan West runners including Oneonta freshman Bryce Maopolski, along with SW junior Reece Maopolski and sophomore Dom Plescia, competed in this fall's initial run. 12th Rock filed its safety precautions that included social distancing, the wearing of appropriate face masks, a limit of one parent per competitor and a maximum of 65 runners per race.
For the SW harriers who were training hard all summer for their cross-country encounters, building mileage was priority one. Thus, the fast-paced 2.7-mile course at 12th Rock draws highly competitive runners from talented Mount Academy and other highly competitive schools not only from Section 9, but also from other regions in the upstate NY area.
Runners are not permitted to wear their school uniforms. The SW harriers competed in the high school open boys race. All three turned in PR performances.
According to SW Coach Dee Maopolski, “All three felt really good to be racing again since they hadn't raced since February. For Plescia his last race was a year ago in the cross-country season. Bryce placed 15th with a time of 15:03.4. Reece was 37th in 16:22.2 and Plescia came in 57th in 20:45.2.
Tri-Valley sophomore Thomas Houghtaling finished 54th in 18:57.4. In the 1.5-mile race for students from 7th through 9th grade, Brynn Poley came in 18th in 15:29.3.
The SW runners did not compete in the October 3 race held in Montgomery. T-V's Van Furman, an eighth grader, was second in the 1.5 race for 7-9th in graders with a time of 9:27.5. Amelia Mickelson (ninth grade) was 17th with a time of 11:32.6. In the High School boys race of 3.1 miles, sophomore Adam Furman came in 11th in 17:41, Junior Caleb Edwards was 45th in 22:08.3, Houghtaling was 48th in 23:06.6 and sophomore Vincent Mingo was 49th in 23:39.1.
The next race is on October 24 at 12th Rock. Another race on October 31 will be held at Mount Academy. Participants from both schools plan on attending.