Shenendehowa boys cross country coach Mark Thompson wasn't concerned about winning last Saturday's Springstead Invitational at Colonie Town Park not when there are more important meets coming.
So, Thompson rested his top five runners and essentially left the team title for Queensbury to pick up, which the Spartans did with a dominant performance. Queensbury had three of the top five runners as it finished first overall with 35 points.
The season is so long, I don't want to over-race them," said Thompson.
Thompson has reason to keep his top runners fresh. Shen is considered by many to be the best boys high school cross country team in New York and one of the top five in the United States, and Thomspon wants his runners to live up to those lofty expectations.
"They still want to have their life. They want to go to Friday night football games and hang out with their friends, and that's fine," said Thompson. "But, they're going to have to be able to make some sacrifices to live up to that hype."
Even without the likes of Mike Danaher, Brian Trainor and Alex Leuchanka, the Plainsmen still ran a competitive race at the Springstead Invitational. The Plainsmen finished third with 99 points and had four runners in the top 20 " Brent Pavlick (16th place, 17:02.45), Chris Shartrand (17th, 17:06.07), Ian Dorset (19th, 17:07.60) and Mitch Todorov (20th, 17:08.40).
Shen will likely return to full strength Saturday when it runs at the Bowdoin Classic at Bowdoin State Park in Wappinger Falls " the site of the annual New York Federation Meet. The Plainsmen will face a tough field featuring the top teams in New York and the Northeast.
Other area cross country teams used the same approach at their opening weekend invitational meets that the Shen boys had at the Springstead Invitational. The Shen girls rested most of their top runners and allowed top freshman Lizzie Predmore to compete against her fellow classmates at the Springstead Invitational, while Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake kept its top female runners off the course at last Saturday's Guilderland Invitational.