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Tawasentha trailblazer

The 2.7-mile cross country course at Tawasentha Park was created 11 years ago by Bob Oates, but Brian Rhodes-Devey owns it.

The Guilderland High School senior broke his own course record by 18 seconds as he breezed to another Guilderland Invitational individual title last Saturday.

It was Rhodes-Devey's first in-vitational meet in New York since winning last year's Federation championship, and he wanted to make a good impression.

I really wanted to come out and blow out the (exhaust) pipes, and I like to think that I did that, said Rhodes-Devey.

As is his style, Rhodes-Devey jumped out to the early lead. The only person that stayed with him was Thousand Islands senior Matt Leeder, one of Canada's junior top distance runners. But even Leeder was no match for Rhodes-Devey when he began pulling away midway through the course.

"I just started booking it in the back woods, and when I looked back, I was worried that he (Leeder) would be kicking behind me," said Rhodes-Devey. "When I didn't see him, I was relieved."

All that was left for Rhodes-Devey to pursue was his course record. He hustled down "Suicide Hill" and sprinted to the finish line for a winning time of 13:35.82.

"Coming off 'Suicide,' I was feeling really good because all the people were there cheering for me," said Rhodes-Devey.

Rhodes-Devey's victory high-lighted a strong overall performance for Guilderland's cross country program. Both the boys and girls varsity teams placed fourth in the highly-competitive large school division, the girls junior varsity team won its section and Guilderland's boys junior varsity and freshman teams placed second, as did the girls freshman team.

"We're pretty happy with it," said Guilderland girls varsity coach Dave Kosier of his team's fourth-place finish. "They were hoping to get T-shirts (for fini-shing in the top three), but they ran great."

Danbury, Conn., won the boys large school division title with 57 points, while Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake claimed the girls large school division title with 53 points. Burnt Hills sophomore Meaghan Gregory defended her individual title in the large school division with a time of 16:24.70.

Small school division titles went to Cooperstown (boys) and Hopkinton, Mass. (girls).""

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