Cross-Country/Track & Field Programs

About Running

Other Running


Indoor Track Outdoor Track

To join any of our programs, contact Coach Vermeulen.

About Running:

Running, the world’s oldest sport, dates back to the Track & Field games of the ancient Greeks who celebrated the notion of a sound mind in a healthy body. More recent running history found Native Americans crossing the wide, horse-less Great Plains using a single-file running style that athletes still employ as a training technique. Today, the sport of competitive running enjoys growing popularity among American students. The most recent 2013-14 National Federation survey of scholastic athletic programs found TRACK & FIELD had the most participants nation-wide for girls and was 2nd for boys,  ranking ahead of others such as soccer, basketball and swimming. CROSS-COUNTRY was the 4th most popular program for boys and the 5th most popular for girls.

A potential life-long sport, running combines the simplicity of natural motions with the subtle complexities of training and running mechanics. The Runner’s discipline, self-sacrifice and healthy life-style that we promote at West Genesee will benefit athletes beyond the sport itself. Personal improvement and achievement of potential are the primary goals of our running programs. We believe that all participants who commit themselves fully will be winners at running.

Our runners enjoy a tradition of excellence. West Genesee advances boys/girls runners to the State Championships of XC, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track almost every running season. The boys Indoor Track team 4x1600 meter relay finished 3rd at the national championship in 2010 to become All-American athletes. In 2011, at the Footlocker Cross-Country National Championship in San Diego, Laura Leff placed 3rd in the nation with the highest finish ever for a Section III athlete. In 2002, Kerry Banazek advanced to the Outdoor Track National Championship in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she placed 7th nationally in the 2000 meter Steeplechase, while in 2015, Carly Benson won the national Freshman  Mile at the Indoor National Championship in New York City. The girls Varsity XC team was undefeated in the 1999/2000/2001 dual meet seasons, winning THREE consecutive National Division Championships, and qualified in 2014 for the New York State Federation Championship of the state's top teams. The boys cross-country team has qualified for the same championship in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.  Excellent students as well, our teams are routinely designated Scholar-Athlete Teams. 2001 Boys Track had the 3rd highest team average in New York State.




     laura   Feds


FEATURES: Cross-Country competitions are races contested over natural outdoor terrain: fields; wooded path and hills. No two race courses are exactly the same, creating interesting variety for competitors. Cross-Country is the most ‘team oriented’ running sport. All team members run the same course, and the top-5 finishers for each school become the team scorers for that particular race.

LEVELS: West Genesee runners participate at two levels. Grade 7 and 8 students run Modified Cross-Country. High School students are members of the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. In certain cases, highly talented 7th and 8th grade runners can be “selectively classified” through a state-mandated process to compete on the Varsity level.

EVENTS: In New York State, Cross-Country races are two maximum distances—a 2 mile race for Modified runners and a 3.1(5 kilometer) race for Varsity/Junior Varsity. Some Modified and Varsity/JV courses are slightly shorter distances.

COMPETITIONS: West Genesee teams compete in two types of races during the season. Wednesdays after school, league teams race each other in Dual Meets. The results determine Varsity league standings, and these races usually combine Varsity and JV runners. On select Saturdays, 6-20 teams gather for Invitational Meets at sites around the state. Runners compete for individual medals/ribbons as well as for team awards. Modified runners compete in several of these invitationals as well as an unofficial ‘championship race’ at Baldwinsville to end their season. For Varsity runners, the season culminates with County, Sectional, State and Federation Championships. The Modified season opens around September 1st and concludes the last week of October. The Varsity and Junior Varsity season begins with daily team practices in mid August and ends in early to mid November.

Recent Highlights:


Girls Varsity:  2014 NYS Rank #11 & Federation Championship Qualifier(13th); 2013 NYS Rank #23; 2009 NYS Rank #21;  2007 NYS Rank: #17; 2006 NYS Rank: #12; 2005 NYS Rank: #11; 2004 NYS Rank: #18; 2003 NYS Rank: #24; 2001 NYS Rank: #13.

Girls Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1997--1998--1999--2000--2001--2002--2003--2004--2005--2006--2007--2008--2009--2010--2011--2012--2013--2014

Boys Varsity:  2013 NYS Rank #10 & Federation Championship Qualifier(18th); 2012 NYS Rank #24; 2010 NYS Rank #5 & Federation Championship Qualifier(3rd); 2009: NYS Rank #14 & Federation Championship Qualifier(15th); 2008: NYS Rank: #10; Federation Championship Qualifier(16th); 2000: NYS Honorable Mention Team.

Boys Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1997--1998--1999--2000--2001--2002--2003--2004--2005--2006--2007--2008--2009--2010--2011--2012--2013--2014



Pat Gaffney—2000 State Championship Qualifier, All-CNY Selection

Shannon Morris — 2000 State Championship Qualifier.

Kerry Banazek— 2001 All-State, 6th Team

Elizabeth McMahon--2003, 2004, 2005: State Championship/Federation Championship Qualifier, All-CNY Selection, 2003: Section III Freshman-of-the-Year; Section III Junior-of-th-Year. 2005 OHSL & Section III individual champion; 2005 All-State, 2nd Team. 2006 OHSL & Section III individual champion; State Championship qualifier; Section III Runner-of-the-Year

Colleen Smith--2005 State Championship Qualifier; 2005 Section III Freshman-of-the-Year; 2006 All-CNY Selection; 2007-State Championship Qualifier, All-CNY Selection

Laura Leff--2009 State Championship--9th, All-State, 2nd Team; Federation Championship--7th; NYS 8th Grader-of-the-Year; 2010 State Championship--3rd, Federation Championship-5th, NYS Freshman-of-the-Year; New Balance National Championship--3rd; 2011 State Championship--2nd, Federation Championship-2nd; 2012 State Championship--6th, Federation Championship--13th; 2014 State Championship--18th, Federation Championship--21st

Steve Houghmaster--2006: Section III Freshman-of-the-Year, 2007: Section III Class AA Individual Champion, State Championship Qualifier, All-CNY Selection, 2008: State Championship Qualifier, Federation Championship-12th, 2009: State Championship-5th; Federation Championship-5th.

Martin Leff--2011 State Championship, 27th, Federation Championship--26th

Grace Craig--2014 State Championship, 53rd

Will Randall--2014--State Championship, 16th, Federation Championship, 18th

Carly Benson--2014, Section III Individual Champion, State Championship--5th

  If interested in joining Wildcats Cross-Country, contact Coach Vermeulen.



                     carly      jackson    


FEATURES: Competitions are contested on the shorter and tighter 200 meter indoor tracks of Central New York. Some of the race event distances differ from those of outdoor track. All meets are invitationals, with Section III class A, B, C and D schools participating. Indoor meets because of the confined spaces, are busy but exciting affairs.

LEVELS: West Genesee has both Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls Indoor Track teams.  There are no Indoor Track programs in New York for Modified athletes. Exceptional Modified level athletes are sometimes allowed to compete on the Varsity level through the State-mandated Selective Classification Process.


SPRINT  EVENTS: 55m dash/300m dash/600m dash/4x200Relay/4x400Relay(Additional relays such as the Sprint Medley are often added to Invitational Meets)

MIDDLE DISTANCE EVENTS: 1000m/1500&1600m/3000&3200m/4x800Relay(Additional relays such as the Distance Medley and 4x1600m are sometimes added to Invitational Meets.)

FIELD EVENTS: Shot Put/Pole Vault/Long Jump/Triple Jump/High Jump

COMPETITIONS: Starting in 2015, most Section III meets will be held on Saturdays and all will be contested at the Onondaga Community College SRC Center. Early season competitions are typically Relay invitationals, with no individual events. Individual event competitions begin following Christmas vacation.  The state championship is staged at Cornell University.  Championship competitions begin in late January with the CNYCL Championship and continue through Sectionals and State Qualifiers to the State Championship in early March.

Recent Highlights:

Boys 4x800--2014 National Championship Emerging Elite, 16th

Martin Leff--2012 State Championship 1600m, Medalist--5th

Billy Gabriel--2011 State Championship 1600, State Champion.

Boys 4x1mile Relay--2010, 3rd in the National Championship, Designated All-Americans

Boys 4x800 Relay--2010, 6th in the National Championship, Designated All-Americans

Steve Houghmaster--2006/07 Boys National Freshman Mile, 6th(All-American); 2007/08 State Championship Qualifier(1600m)

Carly Benson--2015 National Freshman Mile, National Champion

Girls SMR Relay--2015 National Championship, 19th

Girls DMR Relay--2014 National Championship, 23rd

Laura Leff--2013, State Championship 1500, Medalist--2nd 

Katie Bott--2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10 State Championship Qualifier(600m) 

Elizabeth McMahon--2006 1500m State Championship Medalist, 4th place

Shannon Morris—2000/2001 1000m State Championship Medalist, 6th Place.

Katie Bubnack—1999/2000 1000m State Championship Qualifier.

Girls 4x800 Relay—2000/2001 & 2003/2004 Sectional Champions

Girls 4x1mile Relay--2003/2004 National Championship Qualifier(13th place), 2004/05 National Championship Qualifier(29th place),  2005/06 National Championship Qualifier(24th place)

Girls Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Boys Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

If interested in joining Wildcats Indoor Track, contact Coach Vermeulen.





FEATURES: The premier season for many distance runners, Outdoor Track presents the full array of Track & Field events and provides the finest of competition on its 400 meter tracks.

LEVELS: High school athletes are members of the Varsity Boys or Varsity Girls Track Teams. There are no JV or Freshman track teams or competitions in New York State. Athletes in Grades 7/8 compete on the Modified Boys or Modified Girls Track Teams. Modified level athletes sometimes compete on the Varsity level through the state-mandated Selective Classification process.


SPRINT  EVENTS: 100m dash/200m dash/400m dash/4x100Relay/4x400Relay(Additional relays such as the Sprint Medley are often added to Invitational Meets)

MIDDLE DISTANCE EVENTS: 800m/1500&1600m/3000&3200m/4x800Relay(Additional relays such as the Distance Medley and 4x1600m are often added to Invitational Meets.)

FIELD EVENTS: Shot Put/Discus/Pole Vault/Long Jump/Triple Jump/High Jump


COMPETITIONS: As with Cross-Country, Track & Field competitions are divided into two types. League Meets, in which 2/3 teams compete, are held during weekdays after school. Unlike Cross-Country, however, the Varsity and Modified teams have separate dual-meet schedules. Varsity runners also compete in selected Invitational Meets. These Saturday meets provide heightened competition and opportunities to qualify for post-season championship meets. Championship meets for Varsity include OHSL, Sectional, State Qualifier and State Championships. All Varsity athletes are allowed to compete in the OHSL Championship. Thereafter, athletes must meet qualifying standards to advance to the Sectional, State Qualifier and State Championship meets.

Recent Highlights:

Girls Team - 2006 American Division Champions(6-0)

Elizabeth McMahon -2000m Steeplechase 2004 Sectional Champion & State Championship Qualifier; 2004 National Championship Qualifier in 2000m Steeplechase, 9th Place; 2006 State Championship Qualifier, 1500m, 12th place; 2007 State Championship Qualifier, 1500m, 7th place

Kerry Banazek— 2001 NYS 2000m Steeplechase Medalist, 4th Place; 2001 & 2002 National Qualifier in 2000m Steeplechase, 7th place at  2002 National Championship(2000m Steeplechase)

Katie Rothenberg - 2005 Qualifier for National Championship Freshman Mile

Girls Distance Medley Relay—Set an OHSL Record(12:59.6), 2001.

Girls 4x800 Relay—2000 Sectional Champions & National Qualifier; 2007 State Championship Qualifier

Girls Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1998/1999/2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2007

Boys Scholar-Athlete Teams: 1998/1999/2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005.2006/2007

If interested in joining Wildcats Outdoor Track, contact Coach Vermeulen.


Additional Running Programs:


This four day summer camp is open to all WG athletes and incoming students grades 6-12. The camp meets Mondays-Thursday from 6-7:30 PM and is staffed by WG XC/Track coaches. The goals of the camp are to introduce potential distance runners to the elements of distance training and racing as well as other-sport athlete information on proper running technique for training. Conditioning runs appropriate to all fitness levels are available. Running techniques, training, gear and nutrition are discussed. Veteran runners also use the camp for summer aerobic base-conditioning and to pass on their knowledge to prospective runners. May/June sign-ups are held at the Camillus Parks & Recreation Office. 


West Genesee Cross-Country runners meet during the July/August months for voluntary, non-school sponsored conditioning runs. West Genesee athletes and community members are invited to attend. Tuesday/Thursday evening runs are road runs or soft-surface runs on courses such as the Eric Canal path, Gilly Lake or the Camillus Middle School XC course.  For more information, contact Coach Vermeulen or check the TeamInfo web site page for current dates, times, sites, etc.



A nationally respected track club that serves the Central New York running community, the Syracuse Chargers Track Club supports or sponsors a year-round variety of running events for members and area runners. These include winter indoor track meets at Manley Field House, spring/summer/fall road races, and programs for runners of all ages. Their monthly newsletter keeps members informed of local/regional running events and news. Yearly fees begin at a very modest $10. For membership information, check the Syracuse Chargers web site.