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SARATOGA COUNTY: Three clubs punch their tickets to Portland

"I think the Federation meet gave them a lot of confidence," said Thompson about his team's NTN regional performance. "The kids were very excited about (facing Warwick Valley). We beat Warwick Valley at the Manhattan Invitational pretty soundly, and then they beat us at states. So, the season series was tied at one going into the regional."

The BH-BL girls team was coming off a two-week break after passing on the Federation meet to concentrate on the NTN regional. The strategy paid off, as the Lady Spartans fended off Saratoga Springs for second place. BH-BL finished with 72 points, while Saratoga " running as Kinetic Racing Club " finished with 83 points. State and Federation champion Fayetteville-Manlius won the regional with 40 points.

"The Federation meet is such an honor to get invited to, but we weren't healthy at that point," said Zepf.

BH-BL wasn't completely healthy at the NTN regional, as Molly Pezzulo sat out the race. But Meaghan Gregory was back from her bout with mononucleosis, and her 15th-place performance spearheaded a Lady Spartan pack that was tight enough to keep Saratoga at bay.

Sam Roecker continued her strong season for BH-BL. The junior won the individual title with a time of 18:18.5 " nearly 11 seconds ahead of Saratoga's Hannah Davidson, who placed second in a time of 18:29.4.

"I'm sure she was happy with her race, but she knew what her role was for the team," said Zepf.

Riley Wilk (16th place, 19:41.7), Alyssa Drapeau (17th, 19:46.2) and Rachel Stalker (23rd, 19:55.9) rounded out BH-BL's top five.

Saratoga placed three runners in the top 15. Besides Davidson's second-place finish, Sydney King finished eighth in a time of 19:14.7, and Cassie Goutos took 12th place in a time of 19:23.8. Amanda Borroughs (29th, 20:11.7) and Megan Conway (32nd, 20:20.5) were Saratoga's fourth and fifth runners.

Saratoga was one of four girls teams nationally that received an at-large berth to Nike Team Nationals. The others were Warwick Valley, Hanover (N.H.) and Mountain Brook (Alabama). It will be Saratoga's fourth trip to the Nike Team Nationals.""

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