West Genesee Cross-Country

Season Reviews


2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2013




State Honors

State Championship Qualifiers: Steve Houghmaster

Girls Team: #17 State Rank - Class AA


Sectional Honors

All CNY - 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster

All CNY - 3rd Team: Colleen Smith

Sectional Champion: Steve Houghmaster


League Honors

All CNYCL - 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster

All CNYCL - 2nd Team: Billy Gabriel/Tom Hopkins/Colleen Smith/Katie Rothenberg/Sarah Kibby


League Competition

Boys League Dual-meet Record: 6-2(2nd place)

Girls League Dual-meet Record: 6-2(2nd place)


Team Awards 

Most Improved Runner

Impact Rookie Award





Andy Incaudo

Katie Riley

Billy Gabriel

Jessica Emanuelli


Hammer Award

Most Valuable Runner





Tom Hopkins

Sarah Kibby

Steve Houghmaster

Colleen Smith


Wildcat Scholarships: Sarah Kibby/Katie Rothenberg


Senior Awards(3 years of XC): Steve Pietruniak/Ben Siegal/Garrett Smith/Sarah Kibby/Katie Naton/Katie Rothenberg


Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches

First and foremost I would like to thank some people in attendance tonight. First I would like to thank Coach Vermeulen and Coach Delsole for allowing me to come onto this team this summer. I’m sure that they were wondering what they were getting themselves into when they let a baseball player join the cross country team for his senior year, but I think it worked out very well. Secondly I would like to thank the parents. Specifically, I would like to thank my parents for all of their support and encouragement throughout this season. I would also like to thank the Reedy’s and the Rotella’s. I thank them because I have never eaten so well in my life while participating in an athletic event. Currently, I am trying to sign them on to do the baseball games but it is not working out to well. Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow teammates, specifically the seniors for all of their support and guidance throughout the season.

Now, since I was only on this team for one year I would like to talk to the underclassmen who are returning next year. I would like to tell the story of the lion and the gazelle. Every morning the gazelle awakens knowing that it will have to run faster than the fastest lion so it will not be eaten. The lion awakens every morning knowing that it will have to run faster than the slowest gazelle so it will not die of starvation. Both awaken knowing that they will have to run for their lives. I interpreted this story as following. The lion is symbolic of us awakening and chasing after our dreams. Your dream for next year is the Sectional Championship. Once you reach the specific goal you set for yourself you should always set a new goal to chase after. You should be chasing your goals for all of your life. The gazelle represents survival and in relation to your goals it represents that someone is always chasing after the same goals that you are. Next year there are going to be other teams chasing that Sectional Championship along with you. You are going to realize that in order to win Sectionals you must fend off these opponents. You must worker harder and be more determined than all of your opponents. Whenever someone is chasing the same dream you are chasing you have to work harder than them and when it comes down to crunch time you have to have more heart than your competitor, so you know that there will be no doubt in people’s mind who the real champion will be.

So as the sun sets on the 2007 season and this summer when the sun rises on the 2008 season I want you to run for your lives. I want you to run with the determination and pride of a lion, with the survival of the gazelle, and I want you to run with the attitude of a champion in your quest for a Sectional title.

This is your quest and you control your own destiny.

Steve Menges, Class of 2008



Hello. My name is Sarah Kibby and this year I was a captain for the girls team. To start this whole speech thing off, I wanted to thank everyone on the team, but especially the girls. The main reason that I did cross country was because I loved the girls. They felt like sisters to me, and kept me going through the good and the bad., and oh, were there some bad times! Times that I felt I wanted to give up, I wanted to quit because I felt I couldn’t do it anymore, they were there. I feel that cross country not only changed my out look on life but it showed me what I can do when I push myself to new limits. It gave me great running partners, but even more, gave me great friends. As much as I do not want to admit it, I think some of the credit for where I am now should go to both of the coaches sitting up here--Coach Vermeulen and Coach Delsole.

These two men are almost like father figures to me because I see them so much. They brought many emotions including angry, frustration, guilt, sadness, defeat, happiness, accomplishment, fulfillment and hope. They have been there training me, training us to be the best regardless of emotion, making the impossible possible. They have been there to bring us up when we were down and knock us down when we were up. They have been there with their corny jokes and smart remarks. We have survived through pretty much everything.

I remember when Coach Delsole first arrived to coach the team. I thought to myself, "He’s not gonna boss me around like he is my coach. V. is my coach." Oh, how that changed. I got bossed around, knocked down, and yelled at. Dell was the coach that you could make jokes about, and wouldn’t get so much of a death stare back, as commonly occurred with Coach V. I would have to personally thank Dell for making my season so much better with the battles of smart remarks that we had everyday. Dell trying to burn me with a joke and it not working always made my day.

Coach Vermeulen, most would say, is the toughest coach out of the both of them. With his statue face, you couldn’t tell if he was joking or being serious. His mouth, covered by the famous mustache, would leave you clueless to his emotions. After my four years with V. I think I have finally figured out the mystery to this man. He is someone that knows the highest cloud that you can reach, and how to get you there. He will show you how to run with hate, to run with love, to flat out just run. He will tell you when it will rain, and will be right. Coach V can be tough, rough, loud, and bossy. But he can also be kind and there for you when you feel that you couldn’t have let the team down anymore than you have. He will be there when you have run your heart out and still came in second. He’ll be there when you are throwing up. He will be there period. I want to thank you personally V. for being there for me, in all my four years as a runner. You have been a big part of my life and I am proud to say that.

This year especially, I found out what it meant to be a true leader by caring for everyone on the team, and speaking up for the team when it was necessary. The team made this year the best out of all four years for me. Watching people excel to newer, higher levels was a great experience. Cheering the 10 different chants we had together was fantastic. Just being together made things so much more exciting,

As I look out on to the crowd I see this great team in front of me. There are older kids and there are younger kids, there are kids that are right in the middle. You have those that are out-going, those that are dorky, those that ask too many questions. You have people that run for the enjoyment and those that run for competition. There are people who are in the band, in other sports, in math league, and other various things. No matter what type of person you are, you are always a runner when you come to practice. You are accepted and befriended. I love every single person for that, accepting others who are nothing like you. Creating one big breed of runners, of dorks.

Thank you to all the runners, all the parents for being so supportive, and the coaches. It has been a great season and I hope next year will be even better!

Thank you.

Sarah Kibby, Class of 2008



NYS Federation Championship Honors

Boys Team: 16th place

Steve Houghmaster: Medalist - 12th place

State Honors

State Championship Qualifier: Steve Houghmaster

Boys Team: #10 State Rank - Class AA


Sectional Honors

All CNY - 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster

All CNY - 3rd Team: Tom Hopkins

Boys Team Finish: 3rd(Merge: 3rd)

Girls Team Finish: 4th(Merge: 5th)


League Honors

All-League 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster/Tom Hopkins


All-League 2nd Team: Billy Gabriel/Katie Bott/Colleen Smith

 Alex Incaudo/Kristin Waters


All-League Honorable Mention: Sam Reedy


All-Division 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster/Billy Gabriel/Tom Hopkins

Katie Bott/Alex Incaudo/Colleen Smith


All Division 2nd Team: Andy Incaudo/Sam Reedy/Kristin Waters


League Competition

Boys League Dual-meet Record: 4-1(2nd place)

Girls League Dual-meet Record: 2-3(4th place)


Team Awards 

Most Improved Runner Impact Rookie Award
Boys Girls Boys Girls
Matt Gonnella Lauren Stummer John DeLallo/Martin Leff Alex Incaudo


Hammer Award Most Valuable Runner
Boys Girls Boys Girls
Sam Reedy Kristin Waters Tom Hopkins Katie Bott


Wildcat Scholarships: Colleen Smith/Jon Richardson


Senior Awards(2+ years of XC): Amanda Brown/Brittan Ellis/Rachel Hefti/Molly Hollenbeck/Kayla Murphy/Kathleen O'Meara/Colleen Smith/kristin Waters/Pete Brogan/Tom Hopkins/Andy Incaudo/Zac Karpinski

Jon Richardson/Ron Ta/Dave Wells


Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches

  Jon Richardson, Class of 2009: I would like to start off the evening thanking everyone here for coming tonight:  The athletes for coming out on a school night to spend one last evening with their teammates, the custodial and cafeteria staff for setting up such a lovely event for all of us to enjoy, our special guests who took time out of their very busy schedules to come celebrate with us--and of course the parents. We all should appreciate the hard work they commit out of their personal time to make out season easier and more enjoyable. Every one of these people I mentioned contributed to part of the four amazing years I have had running cross country at West Genesee. Right now, I appreciate all of you more than ever.

          I would like to say the special things about the senior class of 2009. On the girls side they are a group of incredible individuals that influenced the success of the team in so many ways since they have been here. Now on the boys’ side it’s a pretty different story. My class would have to be the turning point in the team for many years to come. We were the end of the goofy ‘frozen treats’ era and the beginning of increased summer mileage, a state-ranked team, and the first federation championship qualifying team since 1985. We were also lucky enough to undergo the transitions of course changes. Every year we have been here, our course has changed from the previous year and gotten harder. The additions included the outer field loop, the notorious dirt hill, and recently the infamous inner-field loop. These changes can be seen as a metaphor for the boys’ team. Every year the training and talent on the team increased just as the intensity and difficulty of the course did. It’s not necessarily because the coaches decided we need more torture every year; it’s because of the dedication and commitment to the team got stronger. The people who ran with me my freshman year, compared to the people now, would be considered extremely lazy and undedicated. Now, they worked out properly and raced hard, but this large and talented group of boys sitting before me certainly worked to their highest potential, and this unique and incredible season proved that.

          Everyone can agree that this season was one of the best this boys’ team has every seen. Let’s see, we dominated the VVS invitational, won Chittenango, had of our top five scorers run times in the Top-25 West Genesee times at McQuaid, placed third in our race at Manhattan, swept all three races we were entered in at Marathon due to outstanding performances from the underclassmen and Junior Varsity, had beaten every team in our league in at least one race in our season, had the 2nd best team cumulative time at sectionals and the 2nd best team place in school history, and the obvious thing this year, we became only the second team ever in West Genesee history to qualify for the New York State Federation Championship. All these accomplishments couldn’t have happened without all these hard-working athletes and also the help and guidance from the two men sitting up in this front table.

          These two men I must say are the most knowledgeable and experienced men I have ever met. The experiences I have had with these men are some of the most memorable in my high school career. I’ll begin with Coach Vermuelen. The first time I met him was in Modified Outdoor Track. He would frequently watch my meets and talk to me about the options I would have in high school. Apparently, being an undefeated 200m hurdler and the team’s best high jumper made me an excellent fit for the varsity cross country team. I haven’t realized that great potential he first saw in me until my recent running seasons, but I don’t know who I would be today if he didn’t see anything. Then there’s Coach Delsole. Del wasn’t the coach every year of mine. He came in my sophomore year with an attitude determined to make us the best we possibly could be. At first, it seemed like he had expected way too much from us and all he had to say were some corny jokes, but when I look back, he influenced the work atmosphere in a positive and successful way. Today he’s a little more feared than V but he’s made some pretty funny jokes. Because of these two coaches, we would not be here celebrating a great season that is still in progress. They contributed tremendously to the accomplishments we all claim today.

          Entering the team in 2005, I would hear how immature and mediocre our team was. Now as I finish my last season, people’s opinions have changed and we are seen as a threat, some hard competition, and a team to be jealous of. Just because the seniors and I are leaving doesn’t mean it will not stay that way.

          Every single one of these boys has the drive and talent to continue the success here on the team. My advice to every one of you is this: keep working hard, run your summer mileage, listen to V and Del about everything, trust me they know what they are talking about, and encourage each other to be the best you all can be as a team.

          Freshman, you have time to work and prove yourselves, but don’t take it for granted because it goes by so fast. Sophomores, I have never seen a group with so much talent and depth ever in my running career. If you all keep it up, you are going to hurt people in the next couple of years. Juniors, be ready to lead next year. For the few of you, you have a lot of talent to lead, but you are all capable of doing it. Finally, my seniors. I wish good luck to all you girls wherever your bright and gifted futures lead you. Dave and Peter, good job leading from the back and good luck with everything else. Ian and Logan, congratulations on finishing your first cross country season; unfortunately it will be your last. Andy, you’ve been impressive every season you’ve run and congrats. Zac, indoor track starts next Wednesday buddy so be ready. I can’t wait to watch for it. Ron, all seasons and Manhattan rooms wouldn’t have been as enjoyable if you weren’t there. Finally, T-Hop. Eleven seasons running with you and finishing twelve and without you I wouldn’t have done cross country in the first place.

          As I end here tonight I would like to agree with Coach Phil Jackson when he said, “The strength of the team is each individual member... the strength of each member is the team”. Cross country is the one of the most team affiliated sports I know, and all of you wouldn’t be where you are now without your teammates. Now, when the boys and I prepare ourselves for Saturday, we are doing what is best for the team. Without the work of all us, no one would have made it this far. When I run this Saturday at my last scholastic cross country meet ever, I won’t be thinking about myself. I will out there to run for the team who I had come to care about and who, I hate to admit, I will miss so much when I leave.

          Again thank you everyone for coming tonight--and to my team, I wish you the best of luck in a future I know will be triumphant. Thank you.




  Kayla Murphy, Class of 2009: I would like to start off by thanking everyone for coming tonight. My name is Kayla Murphy and I was a senior on the team this year. The past three years at the banquet I couldn’t imagine being in the position of the seniors. It seems impossible to me that this was my last cross country season as a Wildcat. This sport and team are a very big part of my life. I never expected a sport that people don’t give enough respect to, to impact me in such a great way. I don’t know where I would be without running. Runners are unique people, and because of my coaches and teammates I have grown and learned so much. Over the years one thing I have learned is dedication. Hard work is the backbone of any cross-country team, and this team has certainly taught me not to be afraid of that. Cross-country has also helped me learn skills that will I will use for the rest of my life--for example, individually each season we take time to write down our goals, and our coaches and teammates support us in reaching them by the end. Just like on the team, in life you need to set goals and be able to be willing to work hard to achieve whatever goal you set for yourself.

To the coaches, you have always been there for me through the bad times and the good times. You are like parental figures to me, because I actually do see you more than my own parents. You can be tough, but I know you want the best for us. There would be times when I thought I never wanted to talk to you again, and then Del would say something funny, and I couldn’t help but laugh. One thing I think is amazing about V is that if he says it’s going to start raining in 7 minutes, it will start raining in 7 minutes. During stretches you would always see Del walking around with a piece of grass and putting it in someone’s ear to make them think there was a bug attacking them. I personally have fallen for that one too many times and finally, just this season, have learned to know it’s only Del and not freak out. Coach V has helped me come so far as a runner. After most races if something didn’t go right we would talk about it and figure out what went wrong. And whenever he gave you a high five or a pat on the back, you knew you’d done something right. Del is always supportive, and I loved having him on the starting line, because I would be so nervous, and then he would say something that would completely focus me and get me ready to really race. Both coaches have taught us to race with emotion, and to race for ourselves, but more importantly to run as a team. Thank you for believing in us, and training us to reach our true potential. I am so glad that you have been my coaches for the last five years, and I hope you know that you have been such a big part of my life.

I would like to thank the parents for all their support. I think the team would agree the food after every meet was amazing. All the parents who cheered on the sidelines are wonderful; you have no idea how much that helped. I would like to give Mrs. Reedy a personal thanks; you always said just the right thing to make me run just a little bit faster. I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me through all these years.

To the team, it’s very hard for me to put into words just how much you all mean to me. You guys are my family and I wouldn’t trade you for the world. Especially the girls, you always make me laugh, and are always there for me when I need you. It’s no secret that cross-country is tough, and without my girls I don’t think I could get through a season. What I’m going to miss the most about Cross-Country are the little things, like the long cramped bus rides that only we could make fun by singing Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and other really old songs, our pre-race huddles, ooga shaka, team dinners, Del’s jokes that we understand most of the time, Manhattan, the many times I laughed so hard I cried, and all of our inside jokes, like awkward palm tree and mustache that only the girls would understand. I know that I’m going to be friends with these people for the rest of my life. This season was the best yet, and I’m going to miss going to practice everyday. I know I have two more seasons of track, but track doesn’t come anywhere close to how great cross-country is. I loved every second of this season, even the days when I thought it was impossible to do one more dirt hill, or one more Bingham 800. But most of all I loved going to practice everyday, and seeing my best friends.

 I hope you guys have a great season next year. Again I cannot thank the team and coaches enough for always being there.

 Thank you.





Team Captains:

Boys – Sam Reedy/Steve Houghmaster

Girls – Katie Bott/Katie Riley


NYS Federation Championship Honors

Boys Team: 14th place

Steve Houghmaster: Medalist - 5th place

Laura Leff: Medalist – 7th place


State Honors

State Championship Class AA Qualifiers:

Steve Houghmaster(Medalist - 4th), Laura Leff(Medalist - 9th)

Anna Leo(61st)

Boys Team: #13 State Rank - Class AA

Girls Team: #21 State Rank – Class AA

Laura Leff: NYS 8th Grade Runner-of-the-Year/All-State 2nd Team


Sectional Honors

All CNY - 1st Team: Steve Houghmaster

All CNY – 2nd Team: Laura Leff

All CNY – 3rd Team: Anna Leo

Boys Team Finish: 3rd(Sectional Merge: 3rd)

Girls Team Finish: 3rd(Sectional Merge: 4th)


League Honors

All-League 1st Team:

Steve Houghmaster/Laura Leff


All-League 2nd Team:

Billy Gabriel/Sam Reedy/Anna Leo


All-League Honorable Mention:

John DeLallo/Abby Kastick/Alex Incaudo


All-Division 1st Team:

Steve Houghmaster/Billy Gabriel/Sam Reedy/Martin Leff

Laura Leff/Abby Kastick


All Division 2nd Team:

John DeLallo/Matt Gonnella/Matt Serrao

Katie Riley/Alex Incaudo/Abby Kastick


League Competition

Boys League Dual-meet Record: 5-1(2nd place)

Girls League Dual-meet Record: 5-1(2th place)



Team Awards

Most Valuable Runner:

Boys – Sam Reedy

Girls – Laura Leff


Most Improved Runner:

Boys – Mike Wells

Girls – Alycia Andolina


Hammer Award:

Boys – Billy Gabriel

Girls – Anna Leo


Impact Rookie Award:

Boys – Mark Reilly

Girls – Laura Leff


Step-Up Award:

Boys – Martin Leff

Girls – Katie Riley


Wildcat Scholarships:

Steve Houghmaster

Katie Bott


Senior Awards(3+ years of XC):

Katie Bott, Steve Houghmaster, Zack Lafaver, Sarah Olson, Sam Reedy, Allison Reichel, Katie Riley, Diane Rotella, Ethan Wojcik



Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches


 Sam Reedy, Class of 2010: First I would like to congratulate Steve, Laura and Anna on their outstanding performances at states. You guys did awesome. Never did I think I would be part of the best boys cross country team ever to come through West Genesee. We didn’t do it like FM either; we actually had fun. For the past four years building up to this point, a lot of things happened, both good and bad. This ranges from making varsity my freshman year to missing my entire sophomore year with a stress fracture to making feds two years in a row--but over these four years, if there is one thing I learned, it’s do your summer mileage. For my first three years, everything I did wrong was because I didn’t do my summer mileage. I don’t even think I did my summer mileage this year so I would be better prepared for the season; I did it so I wouldn’t have to listen to V and Del nag me about it; it just so happened to pay off.

I never liked to run until just recently. It was more a chore to me. I am still not sure why I even started. The sport just never made sense to me. Then, halfway through the time trial of my sophomore year, I got a stress fracture…but I still finished the race. For the rest of the season, I sat with V and Del taking splits at practice, an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. That’s when I realized that I really missed running; but I never loved running until we made Federations last year. That is why I was so excited to go back again this year. So, to all you beginning runners out there, give it a chance; you never know what might happen.

Before I let Steve take over I would like to thanks some individuals. First, V, thanks for all the time you devote to coaching us. I have enjoyed every minute of it. Del, I appreciate your attempts at jokes and your confidence in us to pretty much do the impossible. The Gentlemen’s Club, keep the tradition going…to the barn and back! To you juniors, next year the team is yours--be ready. To both the Girls and Boys teams because running would be boring without you. Finally I would like to thank my mom, my dad and my sisters E.J. and Mal. EJ was the one in the family who turned us onto running. Mal, well, she knows nothing about running, so I got to share my otherwise meaningless stories with her. And mom and dad, you’re the best. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me and the team. The pictures, the food and the traveling across New York just to watch me--I think you guys might go through withdrawal. Thank you.



 Steve Houghmaster, Class of 2010: Before I begin, I ask that someone check Martin Leff's plate and make sure that he's actually eating food tonight and not just bread and butter. (Sorry dude, but you can't always have mama’s dearest pasta.)  Anyway, hello everyone; for those of you who don't know, I'm Steven Houghmaster and welcome to the 2009 Cross Country banquet--and yes I said Cross Country. For those of you who thought this was football simply because of the amount of food we have here, well sorry, but you're in the wrong place, and we ask that you leave. I'd like to personally thank all of the parents and supporters who showed up tonight, because without all of your hard work and support we wouldn't be the successful team we are today. So I speak for everyone when I say thank you for everything you've done to help make us a stronger team over the years. But I also have to give out a special thanks to my teammates. Because without all of your support over the years, I wouldn't be as successful as I am today. Whether you believe it or not, everyone of you has made a great impact on my life and has helped me become the person I am today.

But there are specific teammates who've made my running career here the past four years truly amazing. On the guys side, I have to thank Sam Reedy, Ethan Wojcik, Billy Gabriel, Matt Serrao, Matt Gonnella, D.J Campbell, Mike Schrank, John Dellao, Martin Leff, and--last but not least--my man Will Johnson. And no, Will, you're not dreaming because if that was the case you'd have the backseat of a car all covered in dirt. Ohh, wait, never mind you already did that. Each of us has grown up so much together since modified and even though we've had our differences at times, the time we've spent together has been great and I can't thank you enough for everything you've done. On the girls side I have to thank Diane Rotella, Sarah Olsen, Allison Reichel, Katie Bott, Katie Reilly, Jess Emanuelli, Alex Incaudo and of course Olivia Brown. Each one of you has helped me out so much when I've needed it and have provided a great amount of support for me during races where I might not have believed in myself at the beginning. Knowing that you've always been there for me is the greatest feeling, and I thank you so much for that.

You see, when you become part of the West Genesee Cross Country team, you don't become just another teammate. You become part of a family that looks out for one another and always supports each other, even if you happen to get on each other's nerves every now and then. On the bright side, you don't have to deal with crazy in-laws on holidays. But in all seriousness, our success and strength comes from one another as we continue to grow and come up with new ways to establish a closer bond with one another and to perform better at meets by working on our weaknesses. But, if anything, I believe that this has been our best season ever. With a 7th place state ranking and shattering multiple team course records, we've been able to go lengths that no other boys team has by qualifying for the Federation Championships for the 2nd year in a row. However, we wouldn't have had this tremendous success without the hard work and determination from not only our athletes, but, more importantly, two of the greatest men I've ever met.

These two dinosaurs who're old as dirt--OHH dang I did it again, but hey nothing but love man. Four years have passed and I might've gotten a little older and more successful, but in your cases I think that you guys have just grown to be a little older and more senile. These two men here ,Jim Vermeulen and Lou Delsole, are the heart and soul of this team and do everything they possibly can to not only ensure our success out on the field, but to ensure our success in the future as well. When I first met Del, it was my 8th grade year of modified Cross Country and boy was it ever a change for me. When he came up to us at our first practice I was truly scared. He had this stone cold face and was stern as he told us that we would be working a lot harder that year and if we put the time and effort in we could achieve greatness. Only later did I find out that this wannabe coach with slicked back hair, stone cold facial expressions and who would tell the occasional corny joke or two was a real softy on the inside who really did care and wasn't just out there to work us to death. But, when he says that we're like his children to him, he really does mean it, so when you're running out there on the trails and you think he's brutal because of a workout that he came up with, it's because he cares and wants you to be able to do the best you can. I also met V back in modified Cross Country of my 8th grade year when he took an interest in me by asking me to consider moving up to varsity for indoor and outdoor track. When I first saw him I have to say that I was a little scared of him too, because like Del, he had a stone cold face as well but the only difference was that he hides part of it behind a bushy moustache that at first I mistook for a mouse that crawled up on his face and died. But I have to say that I couldn't be any happier today, because he saw great potential in me and helped me to find my true potential as a runner and harness it. Not only that but he helped me to love the sport even more, so without him I wouldn't be the successful person I am today, so I thank you for all that you've done for me over the years and I thank you for helping me to see what I can be and exactly what I can accomplish if I give it my all.

So the next time you come to one of their practices just know that you're in the presence of not only two of the greatest coaches, but two of the greatest people you'll ever meet. I also ask that all of the underclassmen cherish every moment with not only each other, but with the coaches as well, because before you know it you'll be a senior and asking yourself where the time went and wishing that you could re-live it all over again. As for the 8th graders moving up next year, don't worry about the increase in distances for race-- trust me you can all handle it. I know that each one of you has the potential to be great, especially with V and Del as your coaches. Also know that the senior class will be leaving you in a period of time where we've come close to hitting our prime but not just yet. It will be you who decides to take it to the next level. So as we run this upcoming Saturday, know that we'll be running for the future success of West Genesee Cross Country. As this night draws to a close, I leave you all with the wise words of Confucius, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Thanks again to you all for your support tonight and throughout the years. To everyone--always remember what your goals and dreams are, for if you lose sight of them, you lose sight of all that is important in life.  



Team Captains:

Boys – Billy Gabriel/John DeLallo

Girls – Kaitlyn Richards/Jessica Emanuelli/Nicole Andolina


NYS Federation Championship Honors

Boys Team: 3rd place

Billy Gabriel: Medalist - 22nd place

Laura Leff: Medalist – 3rd place


State Honors

State Championship Class AA Qualifiers:

Laura Leff(Medalist - 5th), Billy Gabriel(24th)

John DeLallo(55th)

Boys Team: #5 State Rank - Class AA

Laura Leff: NYS Freshman Runner-of-the-Year/All-State 1st Team

Boys: NYS Scholar-Athlete Team: 96.452 GPA

Girls: NYS Scholar-Athlete Team: 97.128 GPA


Sectional Honors

All CNY - 1st Team: Billy Gabriel/Laura Leff

All CNY – 2nd Team: John DeLallo/Martin Leff

Boys Team Finish: 2nd(Sectional Merge: 2nd)

Girls Team Finish: 4th(Sectional Merge: 6th)


League Honors

None(top runners not competing)


League Competition

Boys League Dual-meet Record: 4-1(2nd place)

Girls League Dual-meet Record: 2-3(4th place)


Team Awards

Most Valuable Runner:

Boys – Billy Gabriel

Girls – Laura Leff


Most Improved Runner:

Boys – Matt Byrnes

Girls – Olivia Brown


Hammer Award:

Boys – John DeLallo

Girls – Anna Leo


Impact Rookie Award:

Boys – Nate Conroy

Girls – Mary McGlynn


Wildcat Scholarships:

Matt Serrao/Matt Gonnella

Jessica Emanuelli


Senior Awards(2+ years of XC):

Tom Brogan, Matt Byrnes, D.J. Campbell, John DeLallo, Billy Gabriel

Matt Gonnella, Mike Plunkett, Mike Schrank, Matt Serrao, Brett Smith

Nicole Andolina, Jessica Emanuelli, Kaitlyn Richards


Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches

Kaitlyn Richards, Class of 2011: My family always jokes that when I was little I used to follow my dad around the house saying “Goin’ runnin’ dad, goin’ runnin?”, hoping to join him on the track with my tricycle for a few fast loops. Ten years later I would be making those same laps around the track, but by then I was on foot too, training to run for more than just fun. When sign-ups for fall sports began in seventh grade, I immediately joined the cross-country team. Running was already in my blood, but by that time I had no idea just how much writing my name on that slip of paper would change my future. Running has not only kept me focused and determined, but it has also taught me countless lessons I can carry through life, lessons I am sure to find absolutely invaluable in the future.

Cross-Country has always been more than just race times and speed; for it has been a way to fit in and to find a place where I truly feel at home. I joined this high school team four years ago, a scrawny little freshman with chicken legs and too-long hair. It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t always this tall. I knew little when it came to the mechanics of this sport, and never failed to giggle when coach told us our workout of the day was “fartleks.” I still remember the gun going off for the first time, hearing the clicking of spikes over the path and realizing that this was so much more than just a sport. The solace of a cross-country path has allowed me thousands of hours to think about what this sport really means, and I don’t believe anyone could truly describe all the feelings that pass through our minds in a single season.

Racing brings out the true character of a runner and pushes us to limits we never dreamed to reach. Whether you were the fastest runner this year and fought tool and nail to beat out your opponent in the final stretch, or whether you silently pushed yourself to shave four seconds off your first race time(a truly amazing feat), we all struggled through the hard times and rejoiced when we won. Over the years I’ve had my own share of tough times, but never once did I imagine leaving the sport behind and trying something new. Cross-Country has become so much a part of me that I don’t think I will ever be able to leave these experiences behind. When’s the next time I will be able to run barefoot through three inches of mud in a downpour, or cross a finish line and look up to see a number lower than before?

Through running I have learned that determination and perseverance can take you to all new heights, and that although it may hurt along the way, reaching your goals is one of the greatest feelings known to man. I’ve learned the value of teamwork and I’ve created bonds that will never be broken. I remember sitting at this banquet four years ago, looking at my seniors and not being able to imagine myself in their spot. It seemed so many years away, and I had so much to learn and do along the way. Now I’m standing where they were so many years ago, and I still don’t feel like I’m ready to leave. I know those trails like the back of my hand and can’t imagine not lacing up my shoes to run them one more time, to hear the leaves crunch under my feet as I fly though the Inner Loop or push myself over the crest of one more exhausting hill. I keep thinking I’m going to show up at practice and hear Coach V. telling us he has come up with an more extended interval workout, complete with two death-defying hills, or that Del will there with some corny joke I can repeat every word of because I have heard it since I was in seventh grade. But then I realize that the end has come, and that it is time to move on and run new courses, conquer new hills, and sprint new finishes. It time for me pass the “course” on to all of you younger runners and trust that you will let it teach you the same lessons, and that you will add new experiences to its story.

I just want to thank each and every person here for helping me gain all that I did out of this sport. All I needed was a pair of shoes, a t-shirt and some shorts, and with these I began a new chapter in my life. The coaches have taught me so much about what it means to be a runner and a member of a team, and I trust their teachings to keep me moving through life in college and beyond. The parents have spurred me on at times to greatness, and other times have cheered me through to the finish of a tough meet. Thank you for coming out in the worst weather conditions imaginable, for running the course as much as we do to make sure you are always there to offer a word of encouragement. Thanks to the Leff’s and Emanuelli’s for keeping my belly full. Thanks to Mrs. Gabriel for always being there with camera in hand, even though some of those pictures I could do without seeing again. Thank you to my parents, who were never afraid to tell me what they really thought of my race and who were always there on the course ready to push me on through some of my worse runs. I owe so much of my perseverance to them, because they never let me believe I wasn’t good enough to be there.

And of course my biggest thank you goes out to each and every one of my teammates seated before me, some of whom I’ve know and even “played” with since I was eight years old. You guys were always there to join me in celebration after a great race, and even more importantly to pick me up when I was down. Some of you believed in me more than I believed in myself, and gave the hope I needed to push myself to new levels. I’ve formed some friendships here that I never wish to lose, and for as long as I live this family will hold a special place in my heart. I’ll miss being a proud member of the West Genesee Cross-Country program, but as long as you keep running and pushing yourself as hard as possible, I will make sure I’m there to watch you succeed whenever I can. Spectating is almost as great as the race itself, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this team. It’s sure to be great. 

Matt Gonnella, Class of 2011: Four years ago, a person gave this speech who had a little more fun in cross-country than usual. As he stepped up to the podium to speak, I along with all my teammates expected nothing more than jokes and laughter. I was excited for it. We were all ready to laugh. But we never did. What surprised me was that one runner who never had any running experience, in a sense taught me how to run. In his speech, he referenced a lion chasing a gazelle which to him symbolized us chasing a dream. 

Four years ago I was no better than anyone else. I never really had any success with cross-country and never expected to. But when I heard that speech, something clicked. I figured if I liked it so much and I was going to show up to practice every day, then why not? 

Four years later I can proudly say that I am proud of my accomplishments as runner and my only regret is that I didn’t truly realize what hard work could do before then.  

Four years later West Genesee Cross-Country has put their name on a list of the best running programs in the state. Which tells me one thing: we are all working hard. 

Four years later, whether we know it or not, that speech set the tone for West Genesee Cross-Country. 

Four years later, one runner, in his first and only running season, who never broke 20 minutes in the 5k, showed us how to run. 

Four years from now, I don’t want you to forget his speech. I don’t want you to forget what the power of hard work can do because in four years, we can be four times better than we are now.  

In four years, the impact of my class won’t be seen in stats or memories. 

In four years, the impact of my class will be seen through your actions. I hope and I pray that these actions will be great. I hope that we, as seniors, did our job.  

In the next four years all your actions and all of your accomplishments can be rooted back to your seniors, past, present or future. So whenever you do something great, I know that the foundation was laid by years of hard work by all of you and your predecessors. And that every former Wildcat can be proud of your accomplishments.  

I am going to end this speech with the very words Steve Menges closed his speech with in 2007:  “This is your quest and you control your own destiny.”






Most Valuable Runner

Laura Leff

 Most Improved Runner

Emily Lynch

 Hammer Award

Kelly Powell

 Impact Rookie Award

Lindsay Weaver

 Wildcat Scholarship Award

 Amy Hannahan



Footlocker National Championship Qualifier

Laura Leff - 3rd place

Federation Championship Qualifier

Laura Leff - 2nd place

 State Championship Qualifier

Laura Leff - 2nd place

All League – 1st Team

Laura Leff

All League – 2nd Team

Lindsay Weaver

Abby Kastick

All League – Honorable Mention

Alycia Andolina

Kelly Powell

All-State 1st Team:

Laura Leff


Laura Leff


Most Valuable Runner

Martin Leff


Most Improved Runner

Mike Lannon/Andrew Marotta


Hammer Award

Mike Wells


Impact Rookie Award

Will Randall


Wildcat Scholarship Award

Mark Reilly




Federation Championship Qualifier

Martin Leff - 26th

State Championship Qualifier

Martin Leff - 27th

All-CNY Runner

Martin Leff

All-League – 1st Team

Martin Leff

All-League – Honorable Mention

Ethan Osborne

Nat Conroy

Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches

Olivia Brown, Class of 2012: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family. Welcome to the 2011 West Genesee Cross Country banquet. My name is Olivia Brown. I am a senior on the girl’s team and have just completed my third and final year of varsity cross country running. First I would like to say congratulations. Congrats to you all on finishing another great season. And congrats to Laura and Martin Leff, who are competing at the New York State Federation Championship meet this weekend. Good luck to you both. 

          Nowadays, you can find all the answers on Google. So I ‘googled’ cross country, and it told me this. Cross country running is a running event in which runners and their teams compete to gain first place on a course over open or rough terrain. What this definition does not include is that cross country running is painful. It is tough, and although it is these things, it is enjoyable. What this definition does not include is that one must have not only physical endurance and strength, but these mental aspects as well. Coach V isn’t kidding when he says that race analyses are vital in becoming in tune with yourself as a runner. Building that mental and comprehensive strength early on will only make you a better runner in the long run, no pun intended. Unlike the definition, cross country’s main goal is not always to win first place; sometimes that is out of our reach. I have learned that it is about becoming successful in your own self. Vince Lombardi once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." This really signifies what cross country has taught me. Striving to be better makes you better, and setting new goals helps you to work at them, not only in cross country, but in life as well. 

          Most importantly, what the definition does not include is that cross country running brings a group of people together: to suffer, to enjoy, and to thrive in the gift of an art. Our team is a family. I truly believe that no sport is more connected than ours. In cross country, everyone does the same work and runs the same races. Over this, we can bond like no other. This year, the senior class members on this team are closer than ever. I believe that we have the closest group this team has seen in a few years. You have become my best friends, and there is no group of people I would rather end this experience with. I love you all. 

          Thank you to the rest of my teammates: juniors, sophomores and freshman alike. Thank you for all cheering for me during races, and pushing me to the farthest limits in practice. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. And thank you especially to my brother, Joe Brown, who decided to start his first year of varsity cross country with me, while I finished my last year; who had icing parties with me after practice, and who let me cry in his arms after my last race. You really don’t know how much it means to me that I was able to share my favorite season and hobby with you.

          I also want to thank my parents. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for putting on our first team dinner with the entire team at our house. I know four kids at times is a lot to handle, and that having 60+ must have been astronomically difficult. You both have always given me support in everything that I do. I love you both.

          Don’t worry, V, I didn’t forget about you or Del. Recently at the state meet at VVS during the awards ceremony, the coordinator was talking about how the runners must all thank their families, friends, and other supporters for helping them get to where they are. Coach V then turned to us and said, “What about your coaches?” There is a lot I could say about these two men. 

          I have always wondered what V’s office looks like at home. The only way I can picture it is a room stuffed with manilla folders, clipboards, and data charts dating back to God knows when. I don’t think we realize or appreciate how much time V puts into not only our team as a whole, but each one of us individually as runners. He spends hours of his time logging data and thoroughly responding to our race analyses to make us better runners. I want to thank you, Coach V, on behalf of the team for caring so much and striving to make us the best we can be. You always know the highest place we can reach, and you never fail to guide us in the right direction to get there.

          Now, Coach V we can count on for the answers, but we all know we can count on Coach DelSole to make us laugh by cracking his corny, usual jokes. If I had a nickel for every time Del leans against his car, arms crossed, transitions lenses darkened so you can’t tell where he is looking, only to get off his car and start with, “You know something…” or “I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you,” I would be a very wealthy girl. Not only is he a jokester, but Del keeps us focused. He knows just as well as V what we can accomplish, and he will not hesitate to push us harder when he knows we can do better. Nevertheless, Del, you never fail to put a smile on our faces, not even when we are having the most down of days. Thank you for always making us smile, and for keeping us focused in the right direction. 

          I love these two men like fathers, and I will never forget what you two have done for me. A ‘thank you’ from me is not nearly enough to give you both. 

          Another important aspect to a runner’s life is, of course, the food. I have many people to thank for food. Thank you to Mrs. Powell, Mrs. Lannon, and the rest of Friends of Wildcats Cross Country for traveling to every meet and feeding us after our races. I speak for all of the team when I say that probably the brightest face of the day was Katie Lannon after every race, waiting with a huge cup of chocolate milk for all of us.

          I will miss many things about West Genesee cross country. I will miss coming to practice after school everyday, sitting down in front of V’s car, waiting to hear what he has to say. Running through the quagmires, falling in the quagmires. Showing dirt hill no mercy, digging into every crevasse with my FM spike. I will even miss V telling us to do his favorite loop. I will miss the remarkable satisfaction you get when you cross the line, tears in your eyes, mud on your legs, gripping onto the lines trying to catch your breath when all your mind is screaming to you is, “You did it!” Most of all, I will miss all of you sitting in front of me. I know you are all going to have another phenomenal season next year; you are beyond talented. I will be back here cheering for you all next year as much as I can. However, this is not a farewell, not even close. This is merely a see you soon (really soon for all of you who are doing Indoor and Outdoor). And for those of you who are not, good luck with the rest of your year and activities. No matter what, you are always a Wildcat runner. I am blessed to have met and gotten to know, each and every one of you. Thank you. 

Mike Wells, Class of 2012: Good evening everyone. V and Del, you were right once again, once the season starts it really does fly by. Tonight we sit here together as we conclude the 2011 cross country season. That’s with the exception of the Leff family duo, congrats on making it to feds and good luck on Saturday.

            I want to start by thanking the committee and staff that puts this banquet to together season after season. It is a night that runners, coaches, and parents alike all look forward to. Also a special thanks to the “partners in crime”, Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Lannon, who filled our stomachs after meets, and to Mrs. Osborne who stepped up to capture all of the season memories for the season DVD. These parents, along with all of the other parents, grandparents, and siblings, combine together to be West Genesee XC’s biggest fans. You travel across New York State in all different weather conditions to watch a sport that many compare to watching grass grow. None the less you continue to support us. Thank you.

            Coach V and Del, has it already been 4 years? It seems like just yesterday that I was an awkward little freshman on packet night and now it’s the banquet of my senior year. You two with your workout ideas and summer mileage requirements, which always seemed insane at the time, have put me in the best shape of my life. Coach V, it’s your dedication to the sport that I admire and aspire to adopt most. You put countless amount of hours into updating the running database and writing out these weekly e-mails that always seem to take a half hour of analyzing for me to read. The dedication you have is unimaginable. Hey Del, which NCAA teams are playing tomorrow night? You always know how to make us crack a smile during practice when you quote the lyrics of one of the latest hit songs. You know the difference between when it is time to work and when it is time to play. You set high expectations for each and every one of us and hold us to these expectations as you watch us progress from season to season. Thanks for all the support and everything you have done for me over the past 4 years. 

            Now onto the team. You guys are one of the main reasons I continue to run season after season. The size of the team has grown since my freshman year, when I thought the team was already huge. However one thing I have noticed is as the number of athletes continues to grow, the memories and friendships throughout the season continue to grow as well, especially with the seniors. This group of seniors has become my best friends, which might be because I spend as much, if not more, time with you guys then I do with my own family. Yes, we have had our disagreements and heck even our fights but we put all of that aside to make our senior year the best season yet. Thanks guys. You’re the best.

            I lastly want to thank my parents the most. You are the ones who since a very young age have encouraged all of us boys into participating in sports and extracurricular activities. You made it out to as many meets as you could and made it a priority to wish us good luck before every meet. You guys have the hard task of taking care of all 3 of us and everything at home as well. I know that is by no means an easy task, but you find a way to get it all done. You’ve always gotten us to and from practice when it’s needed and you support us with each and everything that we do. Thank you for everything. I love you both. 

            Cross country has been the best experience I have had through high school. It has taught me lifelong skills that I will take with me to college and use in life.  It’s been my social life over the past 4 years and has given me many memories and laughs. The sport has taught me to be determined; you won’t be successful in cross country without the determination to do the work and the determination to get better.  It has also taught me perseverance, you won’t get better with each season if you don’t have the perseverance to push through the tough workouts and keep going, even when it gets harder. The sport has also taught me team work and leadership skills. During workouts and warm-ups I have always stepped up to be a leader and help push my teammates that I’m running with. I’ve given them helpful pieces of advice from me personal experiences to help ease their nerves a little. 

            I started Cross Country in 7th grade and quit because I decided that it was too difficult for me to do, but a lot of my friends did the sport so I went out for it again in 8th grade and completed the modified season. The only reason I decided to continue on to varsity cross country was because my older brother Dave had done cross country and loved the comrodery of the team. I started freshman year and ran my first ever 5K on our home course, I finished with a time that now seems like forever, 33 minutes and 33 seconds. It was from then on that I established I had needed to work my butt off to improve. It was my senior night race that I captured my new personal best on the home course with a 20:55. So in 4 years, and a lot of hard work I have taken off over 13 minutes on the home course. This just shows that anyone can run cross country. If I can take that amount of time off, anyone willing to put forth the work can too. No matter how slow you are, if you’re willing to put forth the effort and work you will get better, and as long as you improve you have been successful as a runner. My all-time favorite moment though was the McQuaid Invitational in 2010. My one and only goal was to get under 20 minute. During the race I knew that it was going to be tough, but as I was sprinting down the final stretch I saw a 19 on the clock and knew I still had a shot. I crossed the finish line and my first reaction was a fist pump in the air as read the clock, a 19:57.  There is no better feeling than having a milestone race and getting a time you have never gotten before.

            As I finish tonight I want to speak to all the juniors, sophomores, and freshman. Start your work for West Genesee Cross Country 2012 now. Start thinking about your goals for next season. Begin building your base up because both of the teams have the potential to be great teams.  Start working for your goals now. I will be on the sidelines cheering all of you on when I can get there. Good luck and remember to set your goals high and work hard to reach them. 

Wildcats XC Post-Season – 2013


Boys-Girls XC Team Photo.jpg

Girls Team Awards

Most Valuable Runner – Laura Leff

Most Improved Runner – Delaney Nolan

Hammer Award – Lindsay Weaver

Impact Rookie Award – Maria Matkoski


Girls Sectional Awards/Honors

Top-25 Finishers: Laura Leff(3); Elise Dunshee(20); Maria Matkoski(21);

Lindsay Weaver(22)

All-CNY: Laura Leff, 1st Team

State Championship Qualifier: Laura Leff

Federation Championship Qualifier: Laura Leff


Boys Team Awards

Most Valuable Runner – Will Randall

Most Improved Runner – Sean Beney

Hammer Award – Matt Romano

Impact Rookie Award – David Leff

Wildcat XC Scholarship - Nate Conroy/Jack Erhard


Boys Sectional Awards/Honors

Sectional Top-25 Finishers: David Leff(12); Will Randall(13); Nate Conroy(16)

Jack Erhard(22)

All-CNY: David Leff, 2nd Team; Will Randall, 2nd Team

Federation Championship Team Qualifier: David Leff; Will Randall; Jack Erhard

Mike Lannon; Sean Beney; Nate Conroy; Mike Richards


Cross-Country Banquet Senior Speeches

 Mike Richards(Class of 2014):

How’s everyone doing?  First off, due to recent safety codes I am legally obligated to inform Ryan Dunning that there are several poles located at the exit of the building as well as a few trees next to the sidewalk, so watch out for those.  I would like thank our coaches for a great season, Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Lannon for feeding us like kings every race and to Mrs. Smith and that other lady for setting up this banquet.  Lastly, thanks to all the parents who have put in their own mileage driving all over the place this season to drop us off and watch us compete, as well as for supporting us on our toughest days.  Without you guys, none of this would be possible. 

It’s been quite a season.  We started off by winning the Chittenango Invite and since then we’ve seen a lot of our teammates grow and finally put all the work to good use for an awesome performance at Marathon.  Ya know, it’s too bad the school doesn’t have a case big enough for our trophy, I mean, unless they let us get rid of some of that lacrosse junk, right?  Our most exciting performance was at Sectionals, where we reminded everyone out there that there are not two but three great Section 3 teams, as well as secured our school’s fourth Federations bid since 2008.  And although we might not have done quite as well as we hoped to at Feds, Will and David still managed to crack the top 32 overall.  I can’t wait to see those guys take off even higher next year.

I can’t thank Coach V and Del enough for the amazing commitment they have to this team.  I swear they must see us more than they see their wives.  Many people don’t even realize the extra time Coach V puts into compiling all that data for those books he calls emails.  And Del, where would we be without seeing Will Ferrell’s “Get Off the Shed” clip at practice for the 500th time? I mean, other than home 5 minutes earlier?  But seriously, you have both been great role models for me, and have always pushed me to do my best no matter how bad of a day I’m having.

On to the freshmen: Every year when one class graduates and the next one comes in, you can’t help but think that the new guys will never fill the old guys’ shoes.  Six months ago, this group of tiny doofuses stumbled over to CMS for the first summer practice.  They couldn’t have been more different from last year’s seniors.  But soon they each played an important role on the team.  These guys quickly became like little brothers, often times annoying little dorks but always our annoying little dorks.  You can tell them something a million times and they’ll never get it in their heads.  I’m not sure David’s ever gonna be able to wipe his nose without us telling him to.  He better figure it out quick, or it’s gonna be a loooong indoor season.

To all the underclassmen: I know it sounds like a cliche, but don’t take a minute of what you have left for granted.  Go after every race with everything you have.  You don’t want to spend a single minute wondering what could’ve been.  Make it happen.  Don’t settle for anything less than your best.  The future of West Genesee Cross Country is in your hands, and I know you won’t let us down.

Lastly, 1247 days, 2 hours, 3 minutes and 17 seconds. That’s how long the rest of the seniors and I have been Wildcat runners.  In those 1247 days, we’ve been through thick and thin together.  We must’ve put in almost 5000 miles altogether over the last four years.  The blood, sweat and tears we’ve put into this sport could fill an Olympic swimming pool. That would be a pretty gross swimming pool.  During practice and after, we’ve built bonds that can’t be put into words.  I’ve never known a better group of guys.  The years pass by though, and we may begin to grow apart as this season begins to fade into memory, but:

“We in this day shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother.”

 I get bonus points for quoting a Shakespeare play, right?  I consider it a great honor to be able to call you guys my brothers.  I know that we will soon have to say our goodbyes as we each head off on our own great adventures, but I’ll never forget the brothers I gained on this team, or the memories that we’ve shared.  Thanks everybody, and have a great night.


Allison Iles(Class of 2014):

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the 2013 West Genesee Cross Country Banquet. My name is Allison Iles and I am a senior on the team who just completed my third year of cross country.

When I sat down to write this speech, I started to think about where my relationship with cross country began. It was one modified track practice in 2010, when a then intimidating Coach Vermuelen approached me. He had seen my success as a sprinter on the team and told me I should consider giving cross country a shot in the fall. He then handed me a brochure highlighting all the aspects of cross country.

To my surprise, I found that I still had this valuable paper stored in my room today. There’s a section dedicated to the basics, such as “What is cross country?” and “Cross-country training”. He even highlights the annual Manhattan trip and banquet. I got to the page entitled, “Why run cross country?” The top reasons Coach V has listed are everyone competes, we go places, and you will never be more fit. He also promotes the fact that both teams regularly qualify as Scholar Athlete teams, and that you’ll never know how good you could be at cross country until you try it.

  All of those are definitely a part of what makes cross country such a unique sport. But there is something missing off that list that perhaps may be the most significant. What is not included on this list is the special bond you become a part of when you join the West Genesee Cross Country team. Our team is a family, we succeed together, we suffer together, but we are always there supporting each other no matter what.            

My sophomore year, I decided not to do cross country due to an ongoing knee injury. At the time, I felt like I was making the right decision. Maybe it was better for me in the grand scheme of things, but it wasn’t until that fall that I realized how important running cross country was to me. Up until that point, I was just going through the motions of running. As I watched my teammates compete that season, I realized how much it meant to me to be running along-side them, and I swore that I would never let that happen again.

With that being said, I would like to thank all my teammates here tonight.  Thank you so much for believing in me and pushing myself to achieve my biggest goals. To the seniors, I’ve enjoyed growing up with you these past four years and watching you become amazing people, inside and out of running. I can truthfully say many of you have become my best friends and I will never be able to express to you how much that means to me. 

Before I continue, I need to give an important thank you to Mary McGlynn. Without you and my sister, Emily, encouraging me to join the cross country team my freshmen year, I would have never been introduced to such a remarkable experience that I can’t imagine my life without.

Next I would like to thank my coaches, V and Del. Although many may compare them to “the serious one” and “the funny one”, you are both so much more than that. There is no doubt you have both taught me how to become a better runner throughout the years. However, what you have also taught me is how to set goals and achieve them. You have taught me how to push myself when I thought I had nothing left. Your guidance means the world to me, and I’m glad I still have two track seasons left to fulfill my potential as a runner. It’s evident that you both care so much not only about the sport but about the well-being of your runners, and that kind of passion is hard to come by. 

I would also like to thank Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Lannon for all their hard work. Not only does Friends of WGXC provide us with delicious food every meet, but the fact that you’re willing to travel many miles to support us is something that we all appreciate.

            Lastly, I would like to thank all the parents in the room. Without your unconditional love and support, I don’t think many of us would be the runners, let alone the people we are today. I would like to give a special thank you to my parents, who honestly didn’t know anything about running before I joined the cross country team. I wouldn’t even know how to start to repay you for all the things you’ve done for me over the years, but thank you for dedicating your time to come support me at all my meets and for always having the perfect words of encouragement.  

It’s hard to believe that I will never run another meet on the picturesque trails of Camillus Middle School. It’s hard to believe that I’ll never again experience the satisfaction after I’ve given a tough 5k my all. It’s hard to believe that I’ll never spend another summer and fall running with my favorite people.

 It’s true that you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone. On that note, I‘d like to close with a message to the underclassmen. Cherish the rest of your time as a wildcat cross country runner. It truly does go by fast, and before you know it you’ll be at your final banquet. Good luck next year, and remember that no matter where life takes all of us, we are all part of one, big, happy West Genesee Cross Country family. Thank you.