Pine Bush boys and girls welcome new X-C coaches

By Mike Zummo
Posted 9/14/22

It’s a new era for the Pine Bush cross country program, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams will have new coaches along the trails for the first time in decades.

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Pine Bush boys and girls welcome new X-C coaches

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It’s a new era for the Pine Bush cross country program, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams will have new coaches along the trails for the first time in decades.

The program’s previous modified coaches will take over the varsity teams, as Rob Lawrence will replace Al Schmidt as the boys’ coach and Robin Renahan will take over the girls’ program for its longtime coach Gerald Risco, who recently retired.

“This is the first time without Al Schmidt at the helm since the early 90s,” Lawrence said. “I’m trying to make sure the legacy of coach Schmidt and coach Dan Brown is carried on. As a former runner of both coaches, it’s extremely important to me.”

The Bushmen went 2-2 last year with Colin Best and Christopher Gentile both graduating from the team. Seniors Colby Zupetz, James Michael Vizzari and Andrew Donaldson will return to the team, along with junior Malakai Henry-Geraghty. Senior Jacob Crawley and freshmen Peter Agro and Joseph Donaldson will join the team.

Renahan also admits to having big shoes to fill as she takes over for Risco.

“I hope to share my passion for running and build a strong team,” Renahan said.

Pine Bush has lost Alyssa Biondi and Amelia Tremper to graduation, but return seniors Eden Carr and Jessica Horne and juniors Hannah Pawlowski, Marissa Albano and Lillian Gabriele. Junior Shaylen Goslar joins the team with freshmen Ava Dymond and Viola Thibodeau.

Both coaches are looking to build and expand on a “successful” program and develop the young runners while pushing the upperclassmen to achieve personal bests. They’re also looking to improve on the Bushmen’s record in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association last year.

They also hope to be in the top five at the OCIAA meets and the Section 9 meet at the end of the season and push some athletes through to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet in November.

Valley Central’s Ava Carsley is looking to make her final and third appearance at the state meet in November.

“She has had a stellar high school career and is looking to close out her senior cross-country year with some personal best times,” Valley Central girls’ coach Allison Borriello said.

The Vikings have lost Riley Cavalluzzo, Hailey Morrison and Allison Robinson. Carsley will lead a returning group of junior Catherine Primavera, and sophomores Grace Burns and Laura Griffin. Sophie Carsley, Arielle Dominguez, Maeve Eagan, Sydney Remenar and Leah Restivo will join the team.

“Our goal this season is to be a competitive team within our section,” Borriello said. “We have a great blend of accomplished upperclassmen and incoming freshmen that are ready to compete.”

The boys’ team was in a bit of a building year in 2021, but second-year coach Brendan Sutta said the team showed great progress over the summer. He said the team is in great shape, and almost every member from the last year’s team returned, along with new recruits.

The Vikings have lost Miles Corday but return a pair of brothers in senior Jacob Sahlstrom and junior Caleb Sahlstrom. They also return senior Brian Quinn, junior Vance Palmer and sophomore Rocky Reavey.

Sophomore Daniel Weikel and freshmen Jack Dudzik, McMullen Murphy and Damon Hawvver join the team.

“The athletes are excited and are looking forward to racing this season,” Sutta said. “Our top runner, Jacob Sahlstrom, is seeking a berth in the state meet after a strong junior season of cross country and track.”

The Wallkill Panthers lost their only state qualifier – Luke Diemoz – to graduation, and the Panthers might have a tough time getting anyone through this year as they were moved up to Class A.

The boys’ team placed third at last year’s Mid Hudson Athletic League championships last year, and the girls were fourth.

Seniors Jake Craypo and Marco Martini and sophomore Josh Craypo return for the boys, while junior Andie Psilopoulos and sophomore Maria Morales return to the girls’ team. Freshman Caitlyn Murphy will join the girls’ team.

Both teams are looking to improve their standing in the MHAL under fourth-year coach Nick Mancuso. Individually, Jake Craypo and Psilopoulos are looking to compete for the overall league championship.

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