Seniors John Huber and Lisa Cappello have more in common than being responsible for Starpoint's sweep of the large school races at Saturday's Western New York Track and Field Officials cross country meet.
The meet, formerly known as the Evening Optimist, covered 3.15 miles and was run under ideal conditions at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island. The meet featured 12 races involving 52 teams from WNY public and Catholic schools.
Neither Huber nor Cappello showed any signs they have been slowed by stress fractures in the offseason. Huber was diagnosed with a fracture of his tibia after the outdoor season while Cappello's femur injury forced her to miss all of last season.
Cappello had the fastest girls time of the day, winning by a 48-second margin in 18:38.5.
"Not being able to run last year killed me," she said. "I was really upset so this year I want to do my best."
Huber finished in 16:27.0, beating runner-up Peter Meindl, an Orchard Park sophomore who ran a personal-record 16:30.3.
"I liked the trails and it was a pretty fast course," Huber said. "I just wanted to run a smart first mile, and then take the lead, and then just run as hard as I could."
Huber is ranked among the top 50 runners in Harriers, a national high school runners magazine.
Runners from the Msgr. Martin Association finished 1-2 in the small school boys race. Senior Chris Kuroski of St. Mary's of Lancaster won the race in 16:47.7, followed by Rusty Ormsby of St. Mary's School for the Deaf in 17:02.3. The two schools combined teams for this race.
Kuroski is no stranger to hitting the tape first. As a sophomore and junior he won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races at the All-Catholic meet.
"I felt really, really good. I was just pulling away. The pace wasn't even hurting me at all," Kuroski said.
The win was especially satisfying for Kuroski, who led most of the way last year, only to lose it in the last 400 meters.
"I guess you could say this is good compensation for what happened last year," he said.
Alden freshman Karen Kozub won her second invitational in two weekends, capturing the small schools girls division in 19:40.5. Kozub also placed first at Franklinville last Saturday. She placed third last year.
Pulled hamstring muscles prevented defending champion Peggy Melonic of East Aurora from competing.
Winning girls team titles were Lockport (Division IV), Mt. Mercy (Division III), Alden (Division II) and Akron (Division I).
Kenmore West, runner-up to Gates-Chili in Division IV last year, beat the Section V school this year by 19 points. Other winners were Sweet Home (Division III), Grand Island (Division II) and Sherman (Division IV). Sherman picked up two strong runners when its football program folded this fall.