North Salem Girls Win First Ever League Title

The girls cross country team. From left: Ava Jolley, Juliette Intrieri, Stella Ard, Danielle Jacobsen, Emma Litchfield. Credits: David Wohl

PAWLING, N.Y.— It’s been an impressive season for North Salem’s girls cross country team and that continued with the Tigers claiming their first league championship in program history last week. North Salem won the League 3D title at Pawling High School with a team score of 24 points, edging out second-place Putnam Valley (31 points).

“From the very start of the season, the girls goal was to win the first league championship in school history,” North Salem coach Nick Kowgios said. “They embraced the process and worked so hard every day, pushing and encouraging each other during workouts. It is a wonderful group, and I am thrilled for them. The athletic director, Henry Sassone, has been so supportive, and he has already ordered a banner for the gym to denote the achievement.”

Freshman Ava Jolley had another stellar race, placing first with a clocking of 20:48.50. It was the third race Jolley won this season.

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“Ava’s first-place finish was very impressive,” Kowgios said. “When she exited the woods at the 2-mile mark, there was no other runner in sight. What makes Ava so unique is she does not need another runner to push her. She attacks the course and is one of the toughest athletes I have ever coached.”

Sophomore Juliette Intrieri was third in 21:47.70 and junior Stella Ard was right behind her in fourth (21:51.90) to also earn all-league honors. Emma Litchfield (11th, 24:17.70, personal record) and Daniella Jacobsen (13th) rounded out the field for the Tigers.

“Juliette, Stella and Emma were equally impressive,” Kowgios said. “They work at it and continue to improve. Taking three out of the first four spots in the race certainly put us in a great position.”

Ben Leicht placed first (16:54.70) in a field of 64 harriers for the boys, who took third as a squad with 52 points. Host Pawling won the meet while Putnam Valley was second.

“Ben dominated the race from the start and pushed the pace,” Kowgios said. “When he decided to take off with a little more than a mile left in the race, no one in the league could stay with him. Ben has been getting better with every race and we still have not seen his best.”

Shane Cotter was the second Tiger to cross the finish line, taking ninth overall in 17:43.10 to earn all-league. Sean Vincent (12th, 18:16.40), Evgeniy Batuyev (13th, 18:22.50), Christian Kappes (17th, 18:49.40, personal record), Eric Lange (24th), Lucas Colletes (26th) and William O’Leary (30th) finished in the top 30.

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