One thing that can be said about the returning cross country star runners in the area is that youth is being served.
Of the top 25 finishers at the annual GR/LCAA Championship last season, 22 were underclassmen and will return to the courses again this season. And there are certainly some impressive athletes in the bunch.
Among the incredible runners that will make up this list, Pavilion/York’s Alexa Wolcott, Le Roy’s Charlotte Blake, Geneseo’s Adeline Capel and Alexander’s Jadyn Mullen were all representatives at the New York State Championship last fall and all are back to continue to improve their numbers in 2020 as cross country will be one of the few sports that will be able to commence.
Here are 15 (plus one) girls cross country runners in the area to keep an eye on this fall (listed in alphabetical order):
Emma Allen, junior, Kendall — Already a two-time Genesee Region League All-Star, Allen had an exceptional sophomore season when she finished 11th at the strong GR/LCAA meet with a time of 21:18. At the Class D Championship, Allen followed that up with a solid 15th-place finish with a time of 22:17.9.
Charlotte Blake, sophomore, Le Roy — The leader of the young and ever-improving Oatkan Knights squad, Blake as a freshmen earned third-place finishes at both the GR/LCAA Championship and the Class C sectional meet. At the GR/LCAAs she ran a time of 20:06, while at the Class C meet she finished with a time of 20:16.2.
Adeline Capel, senior, Geneseo — Actually one of the lone seniors on the list, Capel was the leader on a Blue Devils team that finished in seventh at the Class D Championship last year and should return its top four runners. Capel was seventh at the GR/LCAA meet with a 21:09 and was even better at the Class D meet, taking fourth with a time of 21:07.2
Leah Filter, sophomore, Pembroke — A two-time GR All-Star through her freshman year, Filter took an impressive fourth at the GR/LCAAs in 2019 with a time of 20:31. At the Class D Championship she finished a strong 13th, with a time of 21:59.4
Kaitlyn Geary, freshman, Avon — One of two freshman on the this list, Geary has a bright future after finishing sixth at the GR/LCAA Championship with a time of 21:04. She would go on to cap her season with a time of 21:51.8 at the Class C meet, good for 14th.
Kayla Harding, sophomore, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba — On a team that should be returning all seven runners that competed at the sectional meet last season, Harding will be one of a trio of sophomores and the leader after she took 14th in Class D last season with a time of 21:23.7. At the GR/LCAA Championship, Harding took 16th with time of 21:43.
Sydney Konieczny, sophomore, Batavia — One of two young Blue Devils on the list, Konieczny followed up an 86th-place finish at the tough Monroe County Meet with a solid 20th-place finish at the Class B Championship. Konieczny had times of 21:23.7 and 21:53.6 in those races, respectively.
Isabel Marzec, senior, Avon — A strong runner on a good Braves squad, Marzec put together an impressive junior campaign. At the difficult GR/LCAA Championship she finished 10th with a time of 21:17; at the Class C Championship she finished up last fall with a time of 22:12.2, which put her in a solid 21st.
Jadyn Mullen, sophomore, Alexander — For an Alexander squad that finished fourth at the Class D Championship last season and should return all but one of its top runners this fall, the young Mullen was the best the Trojans had. She had fifth-place finishes at both the GR/LCAA and Class D Championships, with times of 20:50 and 21:10.8, respectively.
Bailey Nixon, eighth-grade, Attica — The youngest runner on this list, Nixon came on strong last season in her first season with the Blue Devils. As a seventh-grader Nixon finished 12th at the GR/LCAA meet with a time of 21:26, while she would go on to finish a solid 37th at the competitive Class C meet with a time of 23:40.3
Melanie Quinones Santiago, sophomore, Batavia — The second of the young Blue Devils found here, Santiago had a strong freshman season as she took 27th at the Class B Championship with a time of 21:58. At the Class B meet, she would finish in 92nd with an even better time of 21:38.9
Mallory Rice, sophomore, Geneseo — The second of the returning Blue Devils and one of four returning sophomores, Rice capped her freshman season with an impressive 11th-place finish at the Class D Championship with a time of 21:55.9. At the GR/LCAA Championship, Rice finished in 19th with a solid time of 21:58.
Margot Sovocool, junior, Attica — Overshadowed a bit last season by the graduated Madi Folts and seventh-grade phenom Bailey Nixon, Sovocool was nearly as good, taking 21st at the GR/LCAA Championship with a time of 22:06; at the Class C meet she would take 40th with a time of 23:54.6
Julia Schlenker-Stephens, senior, Byron-Bergen — The only Bee on the list and one of only a few seniors, Schlenker-Stephens earned a GR All-Star bid last season after she finished 22nd at the strong GR/LCAA Championship with a time of 22:19. Schlenker-Stephens would go on to take 42nd at the Class D meet with a time of 24:14.7.
Fanny Venegas, senior, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba — The elder statesman of O-A/E, Venegas is a two-time Genesee Region League All-Star after she finished in 13th at the GR/LCAAs with a time of 21:31. Venegas followed that up with a 17th-place finish at the Class D meet with a time of 22:38.8.
Alexa Wolcott, junior, Pavilion/York — Arguably the best runner coming back with this season, Wolcott has been a force in the fall for a number of years. As a sophomore she was the winner at the GR/LCAA Championship with a time of 19:28, while she came back to finish a close second at the Class D Championship with a time of 20:40.8.