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Wayne Post
  • Cross Country: Burke, Lembo lead way at Section 5 championship

  • The seniors from Rush-Henrietta and Penfield, respectively win their third career Section 5 title on Saturday at Genesee Community College. Webster Thomas and Pittsford Mendon sweep the Class A and B team titles.
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  • Mickey Burke’s senior season at Rush-Henrietta has been building towards the state meet. Following his latest victory in Section 5, you have to like his chances.
    Burke blew away the field at the Section 5 Class A championships, winning by 25 seconds on Saturday at Genesee Community College. The Royal Comet standout will lead Section 5 into the state meet next weekend in Queensbury (Section 2).
    “Everything (this season) has been aimed at winning the state meet,” said Burke, who won his third career Section 5 Class A championship race. “I am feeling good about the state meet. I hope to be peaking heading into next weekend.”
    Burke skipped last weekend’s Monroe County Championships and looked fresh on Saturday taking the lead early and never looking back. He will be joined in states by runner-up Josh Dyrland (Irondequoit), Hilton senior Tyler Ranke and McQuaid’s Nick Ciolkowski and Nate Howe.
    Webster Thomas depth led them to the team title as they scored 52 points, 37 ahead of runner-up McQuaid. Senior Keith Johnson led the Titans finishing fourth (16:35.9) as all five Thomas scorers finished in the top-16.
    Burke and the rest of the field had to battle brutal race conditions featuring heavy rain and temperatures in the 40’s.
    “The first mile was really slow, but you couldn’t ask for too much in this weather,” Burke said. “I really wasn’t planning on breaking away that fast but it was whatever the race called for, and I just decided to do it.”
    Like the Thomas boys team, the Titan girls had their top-five runners place in the top-16 holding off Penfield 46-55. The Titans, who only have two seniors in their top-seven, were led by freshman Amanda Vestri (fifth, 19:10.7).
    Patriot senior Katie Lembo won her third career sectional title, led from start to finish crossing the line in 18:28.8. Lembo, who ran in nationals last season, will look to improve upon last year’s fifth-place finish at states.
    “It feels really good to win this race, because it is my senior year and I wanted to end it on a good note,” Lembo said. “It was really cold today. The conditions were difficult, but I am used to it. That helped me today.”
    Pittsford Mendon swept the Class B boys and girls titles.
    The Viking boys team had all seven of their runners finish in the top-12 led by senior Nathan Doyle, who finished as the runner-up (16:35.3). Mendon junior Mary Barger was impressive taking first by over 14 seconds (19:51.4) in the girls ‘B’ race.
    Brighton senior Will Ronchetti fought off a tough challenge from Doyle finishing in first place (16:34.0). Ronchetti went out in the lead and then held off Doyle down the stretch to earn his first sectional title.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I liked to be pushed and no race was is won easily, and today was a perfect example of that,” Ronchetti said. “I had some nerves coming in, but we went out there and ran as hard as we could and it worked it out for me.”
    The top team in the Finger Lakes during the regular season, East Rochester, showed their depth on Saturday easily outdistancing the other teams in DD winning by 35 points. The Bombers entire top-five placed in the top-16.
    Jacob Hanss edged out teammate Dawson Bathgate for first place finishing in 16:56.3. The Bombers will be Section 5’s team representative in Class D.
    “We were trying to get our top-five into the top-20 and we were all trying to race our best,” said Hanss, who ran in states last season. “I was not expecting to be racing (Bathgate) at the end. Having him with me, it was great. He really pushed me.”

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