VERONA – Great performances in cross-country are a function of hard work, assiduous practices, building strength, endurance and speed. But besides the physical elements, setting goals and the …
VERONA – Great performances in cross-country are a function of hard work, assiduous practices, building strength, endurance and speed. But besides the physical elements, setting goals and the meticulous planning by coaches and runners to attain them, comprise the very attributes that led to great performances like those evinced by the Bears in this year’s state meet. By day’s end, Tri-Valley had encoded a definitive place in the school’s already rich history in the boys and girls championships.
At the apex of that pyramid of accomplishment stood senior Adam Furman’s state cross-country Class D championship, something he had dreamed of throughout his middle/high school career. Last year he finished a close second, so this year nothing short of that first-place finish would suffice. With that unity of purpose built upon the succession of tough races he and his teammates had competed in this fall, Adam led from start to finish.
“I didn’t hold anything back,” he said. “I knew in advance which runners would try and compete with me and I was determined to hold them off. I wanted this so much.”
Furman turned in a winning time of 16:21.20, thirteen seconds faster than his time on the same course at the outset of the season in the Pre-States invitational. As it turned out, his nearest competitor was none other than his sophomore brother Van, who finished an impressive second in 16:44.50.
Van was third with about 800 meters to go and sensed the runner in front of him was fading. As has been his modus operandi all season long, picking off runners in front of him came in handy once again. Van caught and passed Oakfield-Alabama’s Connor Domoy, beating him by nearly three seconds. That herculean effort afforded the younger Furman the silver medal. Winning the state championship is clearly in Van’s plans, and with Adam off to the next level in the fall, there is a very real possibility that just such a milestone may be very close at hand.
Van took 29 seconds off his Pre-States race time on the tough course at Vernon Verona Sherrill High School, a gauntlet that was wet and muddy in places and features some tough hills to navigate.
To repeat as state champions the Bears would need the rest of the team to turn in their best. Each T-V runner had his individual goals, but collectively they had one outcome in mind, to repeat as state team champions. As the race unfolded, it was clear that just such an honor was about to be forthcoming.
Junior Craig Costa finished in 13th place with a time of 17:42.20. Senior Vincent Mingo was next in 31st place with a time of 18:08.90. Evincing an impressive improvement, Thomas Houghtaling came in 33rd out of the field of 114 runners representing the 11 sections of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). Houghtaling finished in 18:14.40, a full minute ahead of his time on the course early in the fall. The top five T-V runners accrued a combined point total of 39, 33 points ahead of second place Arkport’s 72.
The other two T-V runners, Connor Weyant (62) and Dayne Wall (65), turned in times of 19:19.40 and 19:28.20 respectively, showing improvements of 1:32 and 2:19 from the earlier race on the course.
T-V Coach Chip Furman who was a state cross-country champion in 1990 (16:48) planned out the itinerary to this year’s state meet with a succession of tough invitationals along the way, many featuring the top state runners from all classes.
“Everything we did this year was pointed towards this meet,” he noted.
Methodically planning and tracking the runners’ workouts and times across the season with adjustments Furman felt would be timely considering what was coming formed the basis for his coaching. This group, which had won the state title a year ago, returned intact minus the team’s second-best runner Caleb Edwards who graduated in June.
Next up for the boys is the Federation Championship race at Bowdoin Park, a race that features the best runners from all classes together from not only NYSPHSAA, but also NYC’s Public School Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and the Independent Schools Association (NYSAIS). Adam is vying to win this year’s event to claim sole possession of the best cross-country runner in New York State. Last year he finished seventh.
In the girls Class D race at this year’s state meet, T-V eighth grader Anna Furman finished in second place behind defending champion, junior Brynn Bernard of South Lewis H.S. Furman turned in a speedy time of 19:37.20 in her first state meet.
“I started out not feeling that great and I was in fifth place at the one-mile mark. I started to feel like some of the runners in front of me were tiring and I told myself that I can do this.”
Furman used the final leg of the race to pass eighth grader Andrea Sassatelli from Hoosic Valley and senior Mariem Sayahi from Voohesville to capture the silver, completing what was indeed a milestone day for the Furmans.
As history would have it, not only was Chip Furman a Section IX and State cross-country champion in 1990 to be followed by his son Adam this year, but his wife Julie Ehrets Furman was Section Nine champion in 1995 and part of the state championship teams in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Anna already has a Sectional Championship under her belt and no doubt, a state title in her future.
The only other Sullivan County runner competing at states was Fallsburg’s Nataly Zempoaltecatl who ran in the Class C race. She finished in 88th place with a time of 23:08.70. Kudos to Nataly for making it to states. Just the day after the T-V football team had won the Section IX Eight-Man football title, the Bears struck gold again with their state championship title, Van and Anna’s second place finishes and Adam’s long-sought after crown. What a weekend for Tri-Valley. It was truly one for the ages.
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