SARATOGA COUNTY: Three clubs punch their tickets to Portland

If Nike ever decides to move its national high school cross country meet out of Portland, Ore., it might consider placing it at Saratoga Spa State Park.

After all, that's the course that produced three of the six New York teams heading to this weekend's Nike Team Nationals.

The Shenendehowa boys and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls teams earned automatic berths after placing in the top two at last Saturday's NTN regional at Bowdoin State Park in Wappingers Falls, while the Saratoga Springs girls team received an at-large berth after finishing third.

It's kind of nice. You're going to know a lot of people, said BH-BL girls coach Shaun Zepf. "New York is just solid."

Shen enters Saturday's boys race on a hot streak, having won both the NTN regional and the New York Federation meet in its past two races. Both victories were by at least 20 points.

"The kids have been great at staying focused and re-focusing every week," said Shen coach Mark Thompson.

Running as Clifton Park Track Club, Shen placed four runners in the top 10, led by Dan Harris' individual victory. Harris defeated Queensbury's Matt Flint by two seconds to take first place in a time of 16:22.9.

Jamie Glover and William Danaher were the next two Shen runners across the finish line. Glover placed fifth in a time of 16:41.3, with Danaher following in sixth place with a time of 16:52.2. Brian Trainor was 10th in a time of 16:58.9, and Jon McDonald finished 15th in a time of 17:05.5 to round out Shen's top five.

The strong grouping up front allowed Shen to best Warwick Valley for the team title. Shen finished with 37 points, while Warwick Valley " which defeated the Plainsmen at the state public school meet three weeks ago " settled for second place with 57 points.

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