Coach Lori Penesis described herself as “cautiously optimistic” entering the 2015 cross-country campaign.
By Mitch Silver
Coach Lori Penesis described herself as “cautiously optimistic” entering the 2015 cross-country campaign. Though she lost her All-County strider Cayla Vinzons to graduation, Coach Penesis still was able to send a pair of top girls to the starting line for the season-opening Somers Big Red Invitational September 12. Junior Kiara O’Day finished 22nd out of 81 runners, while senior Kate Brennan came in 36th.
On the boys’ side, senior Michael Miranda joins returning classmates Conner Sexton and Mike Wong. Sexton and co-captain Ryan O’Day, who graduated in June, posted the fastest times for the Panthers in most of their meets last year, with Sexton putting up an 18:09.6 to lead all Rye Neck runners at Sectionals as a junior. He came in 6th overall this month at Somers.
Penesis is also looking to sophomore Brendan Tuohy to build on his strong performances last year. “I see a lot of potential among the ninth and tenth graders,” the coach said. “Brendan started on varsity as a freshman, and that’s hard to do.” Tuohy, one of the youngest runners in the 5,000-meter race, finished 24th. Teammate Isaak Myer placed 46th out of 158 runners.
This year’s leading ninth grader, Curtis Alter, produced a top-10 finish in the 2,400-meter Under-16 race in 9:36.40.
Looking ahead, Strength Coach Ed Miller will be working with the runners for the first time this season. “We want to develop core strength and flexibility,” Coach Penesis said. “It isn’t all about simply logging the miles.”
The team traveled to Hastings for a meet post-press time. They next go up against Irvington on September 29.