Fredonia’s Rey, Brown claim medals at state championship

Hillbillies represent

Submitted Photo Fredonia varsity cross country runners Diego Rey (left) and Emily Brown (right) show off their medals for placing in the top 20 in the state championship cross country meet at Kings Park on Long Island on Saturday. Rey also qualified for the New York State Federation Meet at Bowdoin State Park in Wappingers Falls next weekend.

KINGS PARK — At the state championship cross country meet at Sunken Meadow State Park on Saturday, two Fredonia runners achieved something they never had done before in their cross country careers — they won a medal in the state finals.

Fredonia’s Emily Brown and Diego Rey each returned to the state championship meet after falling short of a medal last year. This time, they each finished in the top 20 of the Class C races on Saturday to earn the medal.

“We were happy with how both of the kids raced. We’re so proud that they each earned a medal,” said Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle. “They both fell short of that last year and came back with that goal in mind.”

For Rey, a six year varsity member at Fredonia, the medal wasn’t the only achievement from Saturday. Rey qualified for the New York State Federation Meet next weekend. The meet is an overall state race encompassing every class in the state. Rey is the first male runner to qualify in Zirkle’s 19 years as Fredonia coach.

“I’m really proud of everything he’s accomplished,” said Zirkle. “We’re all very excited that he made the Federation Meet.”

Zirkle described Rey’s strategy as running slowly out of the gate to pace himself, then speeding up to pass multiple runners later on in the race. When it was all said and done, Rey finished in 18th place in Class C with a time of 17:29.

“Diego (Rey) ran an incredible race,” said Zirkle. “He really ran a smart race and he held tough mentally and physically.”

In her third straight trip to the state finals, Brown finally earned the medal for a top 20 finish, after a long and successful career as one of Fredonia’s standouts throughout her time on the varsity team.

“We’re very happy for her,” said Zirkle. “She’s an extremely hard worker with very high goals for herself. We’re thrilled that she medaled.”

Brown’s time of 20:24 was good for 17th in the Class C girls race, the highest place of all four local runners in Saturday’s championship meet. After making the Federation Meet last year, Brown is finally able to add the state finals medal to her long list of awards from her time at Fredonia.

Also running on Saturday were Silver Creek’s Ellie Decker and Dunkirk’s Jericha Petrella.

Decker, only a sophomore, finished 41st in the Class C race with a time of 21:10. Decker was the leading runner for Silver Creek’s Class C2 sectional championship team all season long.

Running in the Class B race representing Dunkirk, Jericha Petrella placed 79th out of 113 runners in Class B. Dunkirk coach Adam Woelfle said he was “more than pleased at that result.”

Coming in ranked 124th in Class B after being the final qualifier for the state meet at the sectional championships, Petrella’s time of 21:52 placed her much higher than her previous rank.

“She said she felt good, just the hills that gave her trouble. You can only go so fast and sometimes if felt like she wasn’t moving, but she pushed through,” said Woelfle.

This was the first trip to states for Petrella.

“Jericha (Petrella) worked hard all year, and closed in on her goal these last couple weeks just to make it here, and for that I am so proud.”

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