West Genesee Runners

Running Wildcats Cross-Country




Cross-Country is a racing sport contested over natural terrain. A Cross-Country race course may be the playing fields of a school, the woods trails of a Nature Center, the hills of a golf course or combinations of all these. Courses may be flat or hilly, rough or smooth. They may contain many turns or few. They may make several loops of the same terrain, going in opposite directions, or they may race in one large around-and-back circle. Every school’s race course is different, but the distances are the same. For Modified Cross-Country, the standard course distances are 1.5 and 2.0 miles. Varsity runners race the 5k(3.1m) distance.

The objective of a Cross-Country races is simple: get from start to finish faster than your opponent. But it’s a Team Effort. Races are won by adding up the places of your top-5 runners. Unlike other sports, in Cross-Country the low team score wins the race.


Of course, training is the key to successful Cross-Country racing. A complex combination of Steady-State, Threshold, Interval, Strength and Speed training is completed over the course of a season to bring a runner to peak condition for important Championship races at season’s end. The training is hard, but adjusted according to the runner’s ability level and experience. One of the advantages of XC training is that a good workout can be completed in a relatively short period of time. XC practices seldom must run longer than two and a half hours, leaving more time for homework, family and evening activities. Wildcats Cross-Country starts in June, with voluntary summer training by team members in order to perform their best in the Fall competitive season. Summer Training, our unofficial First Season, consists mostly of lower intensity runs to strengthen body and mind. The summer goal is to create or hone Physical and Mental toughness.  Monday/Thursday evening Summer Team runs and a special July Distance Camp are available for team members so to train together. Training Pods are also organized by the runners to make their summer miles more enjoyable and communal.


Fall Cross-Country races are the reward for the hard work of practices and the commitment to training. They offer the opportunity to demonstrate a runner’s talent, commitment and contributions to teamates and team. 

XC runners compete in three types of races. Dual Meets pit two league teams against each other, usually on a Wednesday afternoon. Invitational Meets are exciting 6-20 team Saturday races that offer ribbons, medals and plaques to top team and individual finishers. West Genesee regularly participates in the very large 100+ team fields of the McQuaid Invitational(Rochester) and, on some years,  the overnight Manhattan Invitational(NYC) as well as smaller local invitationals. Championship Meets occur at season’s end. For Modified runners, the unofficial Multi-Dual Meet championship race closes their season before the end of October. For Varsity members, the SCAC League Championship allows ALL team members to compete. That is followed two weeks later by the Section III Championship, with the team's top-10 runners racing. Winning teams in each class advance to the NY State Championship. Five individuals from each Class can also qualify for the state championship. The final team competition, the Federation Championship, pits the best selected state teams and individuals against each other, regardless of class.

Images of Wildcats XC


Magnificent Fall weather presents the backdrop for Wildcats competing in the October 2007 Marathon Invitational, a meet both boys have won several times.


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In 2011, Laura Leff qualified for the Footlocker National Championship at the Northeast Regional, then traveled to San Diego's Balboa Park where she finished 3rd in the nation, still the highest

finish of any Section III athlete. Matt Bartolotta(in gold at right) raced at his best with a 10th place invitation-only 2019 NYS Federation Championship in Bowdoin Park.



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The 2003 girls team in our old-style singlets go "legs up" for relaxation prior to their Tully Invitational race. Justin Malinowski and Casey Conmy tackle

the Amphitheatre Hill on their home course during a tough 2020 circuit workout. Justin moves on to Fredonia College where he will compete in

Cross-Country/Track & Field, while Casey returns to lead the Wildcats to another successful season in 2021.



All team members have personal reasons for being runners, but here are a few good ones for becoming a Modified/Varsity Cross-Country athlete:

  • Everyone Competes — If you attend all scheduled practices and train diligently, you will be entered in ALL Dual and several Invitational meets during the regular season.

  • We Go Places — Our invitational schedule regularly takes us to new places around Central New York. Each year, we attend the McQuaid Invitational in Rochester and on some years compete the Manhattan Invitational, and overnight trip to New York City. Utica, Binghamton, Lake Placid, Philadelphia, Long Island—WG runners have competed in all these places at one time or another.

  • You Will Never Be More Fit — Nothing will ever develop your aerobic fitness better than one of our seasons. XC also builds body strength and a strong mental discipline. It provides the Base-Conditioning that enhances all other training, whether for basketball, volleyball, lacrosse or other sports. For Track athletes, the endurance base-building of Wildcats XC is vital for peak competitiveness during the Indoor and Outdoor Track seasons.

  • Good Company To Keep — Not to brag, but our team members are also typically high achievers in the classroom, with many Honor Roll and High Honor Roll members on each year’s teams. The boys and girls squads routinely qualify as New York State Scholastic-Athlete Teams. Our XC runners do a fine job of balancing sports and academic excellence.

  • You Never Know…. You may a good athlete in other sports who could be a GREAT athlete in this sport. Every year, we are contacted by many colleges interested in our runners, with partial scholarships and financial aid offered. You could be one of those in the future. It pays to find out with a season of Wildcats Cross-Country.
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    The Stuff of Running: A clear and crisp autumn practice day on our Camillus Middle School trail and race system,

    considered by many CNY coaches to be the best in the area.


    Join Us!

    Questions? Contact: Coach Vermeulen