Bear Mountain - Newburgh Free Academy Girl’s Cross Country Coach Blair Balogh is not only noting Gianna Frontera’s declining times this year, but something else is taking an equally impressive turn.
"She is becoming a true student of the sport," said Balogh just after Frontera earned her first Section IX, Class A Championship Friday.
Applying her new knowledge of conserving energy and saving the best for last, Frontera made her move on Valley Central’s Holly Cavalluzzo on the final 200 yard straightaway of Bear Mountain’s three-mile course. After closely stalking Cavalluzzo, using her to draft off of, Frontera turned it into high gear when it mattered the most, eclipsing the NFA Girls’ Bear Mountain Course Record for the second week in a row with a finishing time of 17:34.
The win earned her a third trip to this weekend’s State Cross Country Championships. Happy to just qualify in previous years, Frontera has high expectations heading into Saturday’s race.
"I feel much more confident going to States this year and am really setting goals when I go there," said Frontera.
NFA finished sixth out of a ten team field. Other scorers were: Kalleigh Forrester (17th), Chelsea Dunderdale (39th), Alex Messer (43rd) and Raquel Asher (65th).
Leading the charge for the boys’ team was Shea Ratynski, who claimed 29th in a 17:38 split. Other Goldback finishers included; Nick Boyea (32nd), Oscar Fuentes (54th), Chris Baines (57th), Grant Boyd (58th), Tim Maisonet (59th), and Josh Tocci (65th).
Friday’s meet marked the end of the 2011 season for NFA, aside from Frontera. Coach Robyn Jowell hopes to build on this season to make 2012 even better.
"My runners had a very successful season, improving consistently over the season and peaking in their final race," said Jowell, who will be saying goodbye to six seniors. "I’m going to miss them a lot; I wish them all the best."