A pair of Section VI cross country champions placed in the top half of their respective fields at the Nike Cross Nationals on Saturday at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Ore.
East Aurora senior Ian Russ came in 86th place, while Lockport sophomore Sydney Nowicki finished 88th.
Both fields had 199 competitors run the 3.1-mile course, which was muddy due to a steady, light rain throughout the morning and during the races.
Russ finished with a time of 16:19.1, which was a couple minutes behind Aidan Troutner (15:03.9) of the Southwest region. The top three boys were 3.7 seconds apart. Russ’ one-mile split of 4:58.5 was 72nd and the two-mile split of 10:20.1 was 73rd.
Nowicki’s time was 19:13.8, with a one-mile split of 5:47.2 (74th) and two-mile split of 12:07.4 (73rd).
Fellow sophomore Katelyn Tuohy of Section I’s North Rockland (north of Yonkers) won the girls race in a course-record time of 16:44.7, which was 40 seconds ahead of the closest pursuer.
After a little rest, Nowicki will be back competing for the Lockport indoor team. Unlike in past years, Russ will be able to compete in track this winter, as East Aurora combined with Holland for the indoor season.
Russ and Nowicki qualified for nationals by competing in the New York Regional in Wappingers Falls on Nov. 25. Russ finished eighth and Nowicki came in 11th.