YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Most athletes, when competing for the first year in a particular sport, are just looking to get their feet wet and stay above water, so to speak.

However, when it came to cross country, Yorktown junior Sydney Leitner did a lot more than that. As a matter of fact, she became one of the stars of the sport.

For Leitner, 2020, was her first year running cross country, but one would never know it, by her performance, as Leitner earned both All-County and All-Section honors.

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The well-earned honors came after she placed first at the Section 1 League A championships (in a time of 20:04.3), which were held at Yorktown, before finishing her campaign by placing fifth (18:49.3) at the Section 1 Regionals at the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton.

Those accomplishments would be outstanding for a veteran runner, but are even more impressive considering this was just Leitner’s first year running cross country.

“Sydney worked really hard in the offseason, and it really paid off,” said Yorktown coach Keith Smith. “She was new to cross country, but found it to be something that she liked, and pushed herself to achieve her goals.”

In addition to Leitner, brothers Colin McCarthy, a senior, and William McCarthy, a sophomore, were both named All-County. Like their teammate, the McCarthys put the work in and were reward for their efforts.

“Colin and William trained together over the summer, and really put in the time and the hard work,” Smith said. “They pushed each other and trained hard and well together.”

It meant a lot to the program to have these three Huskers earn the honors that they did, Smith said.

“It is a great accomplishment, and a tribute to their work ethic,” Smith said. “It is also nice that Sydney and William will be back next year. We have some very talented underclassmen coming back also, and that will help them to push themselves even harder.”

Colin McCarthy will graduate from Yorktown in June and continue his cross-country career St. Bonaventure University, a Division 1 program.

“Colin was looking forward to running on the next level, so I am very happy for him, and I think that he will do very well at St. Bonaventure,” Smith said.

To have someone like Colin McCarthy commit to a Division 1 program like St. Bonaventure gives the younger Husker runners something to aspire to, according to Smith.

“It means a lot to the program and, as I mentioned, we have some strong underclassmen who I feel will be following Colin’s lead, and continue their careers when they leave Yorktown,” Smith said.