By all accounts, Orchard Park senior Peter Meindl is the kind of high school runner that comes around every couple of decades or so. If you want to see him attempt to add on to his running resume, you'll want to drop by Elma Meadows Golf Course the next two weekends.
Meindl set the course record at the McQuaid Invitational in Rochester early this season, broke the Alden course record at the ECIC meet last week and has turned heads at local road racing circles by blazing through 5Ks and 10Ks.
He has two chances to set the Section VI record at Elma Meadows, the 15:48.3 run of Grand Island's Joe Dunlop in 1991. Elma Meadows, the site of the Section VI championships all but three years since 1965, will not only host Friday's sectional meet but will also be the site of the state championships on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Meindl's 15:56.9 time in last year's sectional meet is currently fourth-best on the list.
"Western New York is really in for a treat," said JFK coach Pete Szymanski, a coach for 11 years at JFK and the ECIC co-chairman. "If he gets the conditions, he can get it (the Section VI record), and if he doesn't he'll get it at the state meet when he'll be pushed. It's something that if people in Western New York have an opportunity to witness it, it'll be a long time before an individual like this comes a long again."
Meindl is being highly recruited by Division I colleges for accomplishments like his undefeated cross country season as a junior and last spring's 1,600-meter state championship.
Meindl ran a 15.24.9 at the Alden Invitational in good conditions on Oct. 13, then broke his own ECIC championship mark Saturday by three seconds with a 15:23.2 while the course was sloppy.
"He is an amazing individual," said Szymanski. "It seems like if the weather is beautiful or the weather is terrible, he goes out and just dominates."
Class of the sectionals
Here's a look at the favorites in Friday's sectional cross country meet, where eight races begin at 11 a.m. The winning seven-member team as well as the five best individuals qualify for the state meet.
Class A: While Meindl is running his own race, Mike Rizzone and John Holtz will try to help Clarence fend off Frontier and OP in the boys' race. It's more Orchard Park and Clarence on the girls' side, as the Red Devils' Kate Kohout takes on the OP duo of Patricia Rich and Erika Somogyi.
Class B: Matt White, Chuck Laderer and Kevin Bauch give the Starpoint boys the inside track, while teammates Angela Kudla, Andrea Cappello and Kelly Pimm will lead Starpoint in the girls' race against Albion's Lindon Wilcox and Alden's Karen Kozub.
Class C: Dan Field and John Yager should put East Aurora up front, while Brandon Molissani will lead Newfane in the boys race. In the girls race, East Aurora's Molly Clauss and Newfane's Lacey Watkins and Jenny O'Connor lead their teams in what should be a neck-and-neck battle.
Class D: Nate Peterson and Frewsburg look to have an edge on Maple Grove and Sherman, while Randolph's Danielle Greene runs for her third straight girls title.
City's honors to others this year
The City Honors girls cross country team went 12-1 in the Columbia Cup this season, while the boys went 13-1.
Those records are outstanding, but this season actually marked some landmark losses for the Centaurs.
The da Vinci girls ended City Honors' championship streak at 12 years, while the Hutch-Tech boys ended the Centaurs' eight-year win streak. The City Honors boys had won 127 straight meets and the girls had won 116 consecutive meets before dropping respective meets to Hutch-Tech and da Vinci in a season-ending tri-meet last Tuesday.
Ashanti Osteen's 18:10 run over the 2.5-mile Delaware Park course gave da Vinci its 20-40 victory over City Honors, while John Pasciak's 14:59 performance led the Engineers to a 18-37 victory over the Centaurs.
Around the halls
The members of St. Joe's 1972 distance medley and 2-mile relay teams, which won both events at the Penn Relays, will be among this year's inductees into the St. Joe's Sports Hall of Fame. Eric and Alex Trammell, Gary Duszynski, John Kropski and Jim Walter will be joined by Dick Jackson (1959; football, track, basketball), Andy Moynihan (1953; football, baseball), Ray Wopperer (1942; baseball, basketball) and Paul Schrems (1982, manager). To make reservations for the Nov. 2 reception at the school, call 873-3599 or go to www.sjci.com. . . . The Lancaster girls gymnastics team is ready for Saturday's Section VI Championships -- the Redskins broke a 11-year old school record with a 168.35 total last week.