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 nice things about 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 hours, leaving more time for homework, family and evening activities.


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 and dedication.

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 the 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 the Wednesday before Halloween. For Varsity members, the OHSL county championship is followed a week later by the Section III Championship. 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 state teams and individuals against each other, regardless of class.


Start of the 1998 Boys State Championship: WG XC runner Chris Dankiw(circled) races in Section III yellow. Chris was a States medal winner, placing 20th and qualifying for the NYS Federation Championship.

Big Apple Racing: Entering the hill loop, Kerry Banazek and Monica Macro(in yellow) lead the Wildcats to a 2nd place, trophy finish in the 2001 Manhattan Invitational, a yearly trip for Varsity harriers.



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 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 the Manhattan Invitational in New York City. Utica, Binghamton, Lake Placid, 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 leg strength and a strong mental discipline. It provides the Base-Conditioning that enhances all other training, whether for basketball, volleyball or lacrosse. 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.
  • The Stuff of Running: A crystal-clear autumn practice day along the Eric Canal, something to be long remembered.

    A Top-Hat Affair: The annual, season-ending Wildcats Cross-Country Banquet honors our Modified/Varsity runners.


    Join Us!

    Contact: Coach Vermeulen, Hm. 425-8003