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IAC CROSS COUNTRY: NOTRE DAME'S YOUNG WINS GIRLS RACE; SIMPSON 2ND IN BOYS RACE AT CRUSADER CLASH (16 PHOTOS) (2021-09-12)

Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
ELMIRA — Piper Young has some big goals entering this season.

The Crusaders junior wants to get back to the state meet, but more than that, she wants to bring home a state medal this year.

Saturday was another sign that she’s already in mid-season form as she cruised to a win in the first Crusader Class, winning in 17:16.30, finishing more than 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Harper Minaker of Waverly (17:57.01).

“I am thrilled,” Young said. “It’s been tough running alone the last two meets, but I’m super thankful for my teammate Maura (Devlin), she stuck with me since I joined cross country and I’m glad to have her here for my junior season and her senior season.”

The numbers are small for Notre Dame this year, but the success has been big.

While Young won the girls race, Derek Simpson finished second in the boys race, and Devlin was sixth in the girls race.

For Simpson it was nice to finish so high.

“I was really excited, because I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Simpson said. “I thought I would get around top 10, but I stayed in second the whole way and it paid off.

“I always like to have a good start and get up with the pack, because the pack pushes me, and then when the pack started drifting away then I thought maybe I might get second.”

For Young it was special for the Crusaders to host an invite this year, running it at the Elmira Domes on Saturday morning.

“It’s been incredible to work with all our coaches to put together a great invite like this,” Young said. “We have a couple teams we don’t see often through the season, so it’s nice to get some of those other teams around, different people to race with. It’s been a breeze planning this and I think they’ve done a great job.”

Young is happy with the way the season has started so far.

“It’s been great to start off the season so strong,” she said. “Usually it starts slow and we see some progression through the season, but it’s been a hard summer and I’m glad to be able to start off strong.”

Things are different now. While the Crusaders had big teams in the past, this year it’s been a core group of runners.

“It was lovely having such a large team the last couple of years,” Young said. “But, the girls and boys we have this year are stronger and closer together than ever and it’s meant the world to me to have Derek and Maura to run with.”

Seeing Derek have such a strong showing to start the year as well is special for Young.

“It’s great, we are training partners on the road and on the course when we are able to race together, so I love having him with me,” Young said.

Young hopes that this strong start leads to a strong finish to the year as well.

“I’d love to go back to states of course,” she said. “It’s been a dream of mine to medal so I’m definitely looking to. Home course advantage at Chenango Valley, that would be lovely to medal this year after a couple trips already.”

Devlin fished in 19:45.80 in the girls race to take sixth.

For Simpson he sat second all race, but as the race went on there was a group of runners starting to gain ground.

“They were in high gear,” Simpson said of the group behind him near the end of the race. “I just kind of pushed myself really, really hard. I heard my coach saying get in the next gear, so I was sprinting basically.

“Mostly I was trying to keep pushing myself as much as I could without dying. The people behind me kept pushing me. Like the finishing hill I looked back and saw a bunch of people and thought, ok it’s time to sprint to the finish.”

Notre Dame swept the top two spots in the modified boys race as Gavin Meier won in 9:41.60, followed by Dominic Caporiccio in 9:52.90.

Neal Moore won the JV race in 19:22.09 and Isabella Mashewske was fifth overall in the co-ed race in 26:07.90.

In the girls’ modified race Claire Devlin finished third in 11:36.51 and Caitlin Keenan was eighth in 13:06.63.
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IN TOP PHOTO: PIPER YOUNG OF NOTRE DAME. . . PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES


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