There was a sense of excitement in the air along with the normal signs of summer transitioning into fall as Northern Conference Cross Country teams opened preseason practices two weeks ago.
The 2014 season will climax with Section 10 hosting the New York State High School Championships at SUNY Canton on Nov. 8.
“It should be a very exciting season with the states at SUNY Canton,” said OFA Coach Chris McRoberts.
“Getting a chance to run in the states at home is a big opportunity.”
In preparation for the states, the SUNY Canton course will also host the annual preseason scrimmage and the state venue invitational involving teams all over the state on Sept. 20.
Coach McRoberts is also excited about the prospects of his boys and girls team despite the graduation of team leaders Donovan “Donnie” Smith and Kurstyn Macaulay.
“We lost two outstanding runners in Donnie Smith and Kurstyn Macaulay but both teams are going to be very solid,” said Coach McRoberts.
“Both teams have the ability to run together which is very important. A group of our runners also showed well at St. Lawrence University summer camp.”
The OFA Boys feature seven proven performers in seniors Joey Grizzuto, Owen Pearson, Nate Stowe, Sebastian Quintilliani and Bailey Phelps and juniors Nick Vielhauer and Garrett Dennis.
Sophomore Alex Sias, Connor Banning and freshmen Ian Berg and Chris Cole are all looking to expand the depth of the Devils.
The Lady Devils feature four performers who have all enjoyed success as three-season runners in seniors Danielle Steenkamer and Shelby Mack and juniors Sara and Ellen Miller. Senior Zoey Bishop also brings a great deal experience to squad which is rounded out by juniors Dana McCormick, Eliza Jane Hamilton and Julia DeCoursie and freshman Courtney Stowe.
The OFA harriers will have only one home meet this season, on Oct. 14, this season at their course at the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.