Newark Central School District’s modified boys cross country team recently distinguished itself by winning the first-place title in the Junior High Medium Schools Boys Race at the McQuaid Invitational.
The 11-member team beat over 40 schools from New York and Canada at Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park through the McQuaid Invitational, one of the oldest, largest and most renowned cross-country invitationals in the Northeast.
The team is coached by Danielle Ohlson, who teaches English at Newark High School.
“This is the first time in Newark’s history that we’ve captured a team victory at McQuaid,’’ she said. “We currently have a pretty stellar group of runners.”
Ohlson said the team’s score is based on the individual performances of the top seven runners in the race. Those runners are Joey Camblin, Chad French, Broden Haltiner, Aiden Lanse, Torrell Lee, Chip Murphy and Tyree Orbaker.
Haltiner, an eighth-grader at Newark Middle School, placed third out of 331 runners who participated in the Junior High Medium Schools Boys Race.
“I saw their raw talent last year, but after a season and a half of training, everything is clicking,’’ she said. “This team has a great dynamic. They feed off of each other’s drive, and push one another to race stronger and stronger. When they won, I felt like everything was coming to fruition for them. It is fun to see them receive this level of recognition and be in the limelight. As a coach, it’s satisfying to watch athletes learn what it’s like to win. Success begets success. Once you have a taste of it, you want more. You dig deep to get that feeling again. They love the sport. Their passion for running and competing is infectious.”
Ohlson, who also coaches the modified girls cross country team that participated in the Junior High Medium Schools Girls race at the McQuaid Invitational, said NMS eighth-grader Trinity Wells placed second out of 325 girls running the race.
“She was our stand out girl,’’ Ohlson said.
Haltiner and Wells moved to the varsity cross country teams at NHS, because of their accomplishments at McQuaid.
“They had to take a test to qualify,” Ohlson said. “The athletes, varsity coach Joe Contario and I, along with their parents, made a collective decision to move them up.”
They performed well in their recent varsity debut at Red Jacket High School. Haltiner placed eighth in the race.
“He was the third fastest Newark runner as an eighth-grader, and helped the Newark varsity boys win the meet,’’ Ohlson said.
Wells won first place in the meet for varsity girls. Ohlson said she beat out one of the top girls in the Wayne-Finger Lakes League from Honeoye Central School District in the process.
In the modified race at Red Jacket, French placed first, Murphy placed second, Camblin placed third, Orbaker placed fourth and Lee placed fifth.
The teams’ success is supported by runners Brooklyn Baker, Cayden Davis, Joel Garcia, Mea Hamelinck, Maddy Jorgensen, Isabella Lara-Garcia, Gabby McGavisk, Bryce McInroy, Jacob Rodriguez and Jeydimar Viera.
“These are the most exciting teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching,’’ Ohlson said. “They love the sport, and have a lot of fun together. They love competing. They have the talent, work ethic and desire that it takes to be champions. Mark my words, these kids will be a dominating force in the league for years to come.’’
“We are very excited for the potential of our modified runners,” said Chris Corey, NCSD director of health, physical education and athletics. “While winning the McQuaid Invitational is a great accomplishment, we are most proud of the athletes’ skills and attitudes that lead to success in athletics — perseverance, goal setting, work ethic, respect for competition and discipline. We are very excited to continue to watch these athletes develop as they transition to the varsity level.”
“I am proud of all our students that participate in athletics,’’ Superintendent Matt Cook said. “Obviously, however, these outstanding modified boys and girls cross country team athletes have distinguished themselves with these phenomenal wins at McQuaid and Red Jacket. On behalf of our entire school district, I congratulate them and their coach, Danielle Ohlson. You have made us all very proud.”