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Sydney Shaw feels the beat in victory

Sydney Shaw was running to her beat when she heard first woman being shouted from the sideline.

The Delmar teen didn't immediately realize that it was in reference to her.

"I ran with headphones in so I didn't know if I heard him right," said Shaw.

It was only when Shaw neared the finish line at last month's Dodge the Deer 5-kilometer cross country race at Schodack State Park that she fully understood that she was the first woman finisher.

"When it was announced that I was the first female, I think many people were surprised, but I got a lot of congratulations," said Shaw.

Shaw not only won the women's division, but she did so in style. The 14-year-old Bethlehem Central High School student finished with a time of 21:11, which placed her in the top 25 overall of a race that was predominantly an adult race. The next-fastest woman, 28-year-old Susana Garcia Romer of Rensselaer, trailed Shaw by more than one minute.

"There were a lot of people," said Shaw. "I don't know if there were more than last year, but there were some good runners there."

Shaw " who plays lacrosse and field hockey at Bethlehem " said the key to her success was being well rested for the race.

"I ate good the night before, and I slept good the night before," said Shaw. "So, I came into the race feeling good."

To set the right pace, Shaw played up-tempo pop in her headphones.

"I think I was listening to a couple of songs by the Black Eyed Peas because they have some songs that have a beat I can run to," said Shaw.

With the right music in her head, Shaw followed some advice her father gave her before the race to win her first women's division title.

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