Thursday, 27 June 2024 15:11

Saratoga Distance Runners Win “Triple Crown”

The Saratoga Springs varsity boys distance runners captured several state titles this year in cross-country, indoor relay, and outdoor relay events. Photo provided by Shane Zanetti. The Saratoga Springs varsity boys distance runners captured several state titles this year in cross-country, indoor relay, and outdoor relay events. Photo provided by Shane Zanetti.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs varsity boys runners won the “triple crown” of distance running this year, a feat that Coach Shane Zanetti said may have never happened before in New York State history. 

In November, they won the New York State Class A Cross-Country Championship. In March, they were state champs in the 4x800 indoor relay. Then, earlier this month, they won another state title in the 4x800 outdoor relay.

Coach Zanetti said that many of his runners have been talking about winning races, capturing titles, and setting records since they were in 7th grade. When the moment finally came to realize their ambitions, they were ready.

“A lot of these guys have been at it together for many years,” Zanetti said. “I think they build a lot of trust in each other and a lot of accountability towards each other.”

“When we’re going for these team championships, you know that everybody takes it seriously and it’s kind of just like pushing each other to see how far we can take it,” said Charlie Dybala, one of the outdoor 4x800 state champions.

“Being on a team like this,” said cross-country champ Hudson Shaw, “gives you the skills that you’re going to need after high school because you know how to persevere through a lot of hard work that I think is unique to distance running in particular.”

The long road to the “triple crown” began at the cross-country state championships in November, which the Saratoga crew won in a sixth-man tiebreaker. The first runner was only 25 seconds apart from the sixth, reinforcing Zanetti’s belief that his teams are filled with players who are near-equals in both talent and contribution. 

“I was the third runner that day and I just thought it was really cool as a team to run in such a tight pack,” said Darren Pasek. “That day, we all were as close as we were the whole year and that’s how we won. It was all about teamwork.”

The second leg of the “triple crown” was the indoor state championships in March, where Saratoga’s near-equal relay team had no apparent weak spots.

“We could’ve alternated or changed our order completely around and it would’ve come out to really the same result,” Zanetti said.

That strategy also worked for the outdoor relay team earlier this month when they secured the third leg of their “triple crown.”

“We had a bunch of guys who could be interchangeable that took whatever spot they were in really seriously on that given day,” Zanetti said.

When Saratoga Springs High School held its commencement ceremony on Wednesday morning, five Saratoga runners bid farewell to their teammates. Despite this loss of talent, sights are still set high for next year. On the distance running crew’s to-do list: repeating all of their state title victories, and making it to nationals. 

“We definitely are coming back with a vengeance,” said Darren Pasek. 

Cross-Country State Champions

Thomas Isenovski

Owen Blaisdell

Darren Pasek

Luke Dacey

Cooper Brandriss

Jacob Bernd

Hudson Shaw

Indoor Track 4x800 State Champions 

Jacob Bernd

Luke Dacey

Owen Blaisdell

Thomas Isenovski

Outdoor Track 4x800 State Champions

Jacob Bernd

Luke Dacey

Owen Blaisdell

Charlie Dybala

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