After a season of hard work, on Saturday, Nov. 12, the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Cross Country teams sent three accomplished runners to the state meet. Seniors Patrick Dye and Hannah Butler and sophomore Sophia Vinciguerra represented J-DHS in Binghamton.
Dye has been a cross country runner for J-D since seventh grade, when he ran on the Modified Boys Cross Country team. On varsity he has made it to states every year that he’s run. Unfortunately, junior year Dye was out of commision the entire season due to an illness. “I was recovering from an injury, drug-induced arthritis, which I can’t run with,” said Dye. This illness is a joint and muscle inflammation which can occur as a side effect of many common prescription medications, and it kept him from running for close to four months.
Varsity Boys Cross Country Coach Emily Rowles attributes Dye’s success despite his injury to his constant belief in himself. “I love that Pat never doubts himself,” said Coach Rowles. “Many kids would have had that situation last year and not come back as strong as he did.” Dye’s accomplishments were due to a lot of hard work on his part. He trained all summer, both in strength and running. “My friends also pushed me to work hard,” said Dye. After the summer and fall of building back up his strength and endurance, he finished the sectionals meet in second place, and states in fifth.
Like Dye, Butler had sickness and injury to deal with throughout the season, which presented challenges to her training. She had a hip injury early in the season which caused some delays. But Butler recovered, trained hard and was able to compete. “Hannah always works very hard and has strong motivation,” said Varsity Girls Cross Country Coach Jim Lawton.
Butler also said that college applications and her school schedule made this a very busy season. This wasn’t Butler’s last season. She will be running at Brown University next year.
Butler was not originally a runner. She only began her cross country career sophomore year. “I started because I played soccer and lacrosse and did indoor track my freshman year and I really liked it.” said Butler. From her first year running full time Butler proved herself to be a deadly competitor. She has made it to states every year she’s run, making this her third time to qualify.
Butler worked hard to get to where she is today. “I just love running. It’s something I love to do so it’s easy to work hard,” said Butler. After finishing first in the sectionals meet, Butler’s goal was to finish states in the top three. Although she ended up placing 20th, she thought it was still a good experience.
Vinciguerra was an underclassman who also made it to states after placing fourth at sectionals. Like Butler, Vinciguerra was originally a soccer player, but joined the Modified Girls Cross Country team in eighth grade. “I wanted a change,” said Vinciguerra. “I was getting kind of sick of soccer.”
Vinciguerra is a very engaged runner. “She’s very into the running scene,” said Coach Lawton. “She volunteers at running camp and races.” She also does everything she can to make herself a better runner inside and out of practice. “It’s doing little things, like going to bed at a reasonable hour every night, eating the right things,” said Vinciguerra. That and hard work is how she feels she accelerated to this level.
Unfortunately Vinciguerra says she didn’t do as well at states as she had hoped. Part way through her race her sock got pulled down into her shoe, causing her shoe to rub against her heel. She ended up with a very bad blister, and finished 72nd out of 127. She enjoyed the experience in Binghamton nevertheless. “It was still cool racing against people I don’t usually race against,” said Vinciguerra. Next year she is hoping to make it into the top three in sectionals, and to bring the team back to states to do even better. After meeting her goal of breaking the 20 minute mark in the 5K this year, she also hopes to break 19:30.00 next year.
With both Butler and Dye graduating this year, the team will lose two important runners. However, both Coach Rowles and Coach Lawton are optimistic for next year’s team. “We’ve got a really strong and motivated group of freshmen and sophomores,” said Coach Rowles. “The team will miss having their top runners.” said Coach Lawton, “but we have a lot of strong juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, so we will have a strong team.” They expect that with hard work and dedication the team can reach the standard Butler and Dye set.