By: Tim Birney | | September 10, 2022 | Photo courtesy Liza Henderson


ONEONTA — Sophomore Sara Bronson and senior Emma Bronson both ran to top-10 finishes to pace Athens in a fifth-place finish here Saturday at the Dave Forbes Cross Country Invitational.

The Athens junior high boys won the team title, while the Wildcat boys placed ninth.

"Today was a good start for us on both the boys and girls sides of things,” said Athens boys coach Mike Bronson. “For our more experienced kids like Ethan Hicks, and Emma and Sara Bronson it was a good rust-buster and good for them to get back into a race.

“It gave our younger or new runners a good opportunity to gain some experience in a bigger race,” noted Bronson. “For the guys, we ran a pretty young group in the varsity race today, we had one senior (Nate Prickitt) and then the rest were freshman or sophomores, so they need some time to just gain experience running at that level.

“We know we still have work to do, but I'm pretty happy with where we are for this early in the season,” added Bronson.

"The kids have been anxious to get a race in and we were excited to see where they stand,” said Athens girls coach Scott Riley.

“The team has a good balance on youth and experience,” noted Riley. “For many kids on high school and junior high teams, this was their first cross-country race ever. We were pleased with how they ran with a good opener across the board. In all the races, we had some really good standout performances with top place finishers.

“Today definitely gave us a good sampling of where we are starting the season and that’s pretty exciting,” added Riley.

Sara Bronson finished third in a time of 21:08.7, and Emma Bronson was 10th in 22:06.3 to pace the Lady Wildcats.

Junior Thea Bentley finished 29th in a time of 23:48.2, while junior Emily Henderson was 58th in 27:42.5, and junior Janae Harkins (35:15.9) and sophomore Mary Rose Bertsch (36:52.3) were 82nd and 83rd, respectively.

Ithaca cruised to the team title with 47 placement points, while runner-up Union-Endicott had 69 points, third-place Horseheads had 89 points, Oneonta was fourth with 112 points, and Athens tallied 127 points.

Sophomore Ethan Hicks paced the Wildcats, who finished ninth in the 12-team field.

Hicks clocked in at 18:28 to place 15th, while sophomore Carter Lewis was 39th in 20:02.3, sophomore Ronel Ankam was 47th in 20:36.7, senior Nate Prickitt was 49th in 20:42.3, freshman Sam Sensing was 59th in 21:38.4, and sophomore Aiden Oldroyd was 71st in 22:44.7.

Ithaca ran away with the team title, totaling 26 placement points, while runner-up Oneonta had 96, and third-place Saqouit Valley tallied 101 points. Athens amassed 198 points.

In the junior varsity race, Athens finished sixth of the six complete teams.

Junior Caleb Simwale led Athens with a 27th-place finish in 22:13, while sophomore Pierce Oldroyd was 49th in 24:05.4, freshman Aiden Pollock-Sinsabaugh was 54th in 24:26.7, freshman Andrew DeForrest was 60th in 25:03.8, and sophomore Lohith Kinthala was 70th in 27:15.3.


All five of Athens’ scorers, led by Graham Wanck, finished in the top 10 to lead the junior Wildcats to the team title in the junior high division.

"In the Junior High races, the boys ran a really nice team race today with six of them finishing in the top 12 of their race,” said Bronson. “in the girls race, Alissa Vough, in her first race, ran a great race to finish a really close second"

Athens claimed the team title with 24 placement points, while Delhi was runner-up with 38 points, and Union-Endicott was third with 84 points.

Wanck won the race in a time of 7:06.1, while Eli Hicks was fourth in 7:50.6, and Jacob Shores was fifth in 8:16.6.

Zachary Fisher finished ninth in a time of 8:40.1, and Matt Rossettie was 10th in 8:40.6.

Abram Steinfelt finished 12th for Athens in a time of 8:46.5, while Darious Miller was 28th in 9:47.2, Isaac Roy was 37th in 10:31.0, and Johnny Roberts was 50th in 13:04.2.

Alissa Vough — one of two Athens runners — finished second in the girls junior race.

Vough clocked in at 9:37, while Abigail Conklin was 29th in 17:28.9.

About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).