PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – North Salem’s Ava Jolley finished in third place at the New York State championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Plattsburgh, despite “treacherous” track conditions brought on by a snowstorm several days earlier.
The storm, said North Salem coach Chris Gould, created a mix of snow, mud and ice on the course. To accommodate the unsafe conditions, the race was shortened from 5,000 meters to 4,500 meters.
“Nobody can really train for those conditions unless you have them in your area,” Gould said.
Still, Jolley completed the shortened race in 17:01.80, just 10 seconds off the winning time.
“This race was more about mental toughness and survival,” Gould said. “For Ava to come to Plattsburgh and put herself in a position to win was truly remarkable—a real tribute to her ability to handle adversity and duress.”
Race day conditions included 20-degree temperatures but no wind. After getting off the line well, Jolley ran much of the race from the front of the pack.
“When they came out of the trail with about 1,000 meters to go, she was still up front with three other athletes,” Gould said. “Coming into the finish, there were two upstate runners that separated a bit from Ava and she ended up taking the bronze medal.”
Finishing first and second in the Class C race were Camden’s Elizabeth Lucason (16:51.60) and South Lewis’ Brynn Bernard (16:57.80).
“I’m most proud of [Jolley] because, despite the conditions, she went for it,” Gould said. “It’s easy to back down and many made that choice. Ava knew what she wanted and she gave it her best shot.”
Jolley’s season is not over. Because of her performance at the state championships, she has been invited to compete in the Federation Meet on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls. The meet includes runners from New York public and private schools.