The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
Faltay, Finton take titles at Keystone
LORAIN » The meet may have been called the Keystone Icebreaker at the Lorain County Equestrian Center, but there was nothing but straight heat at the meet this year.
With the temperature pushing 90 degrees for the girls’ varsity start at 5:30 p.m., runners were throwing water on their heads halfway through the 5,000-kilometer race.
In the boys race, it was a Keystone runner who took the first-place crown. Stephen Faltay won the boys race in a blazing 16:46.6, edging out Bay’s Michael Muccio, who ran a 16:52.8.
“Definitely for the last mile we were side-by-side and pushing each other the whole time,” Faltay said of him and Muccio. “I just had to make my move with 600 (meters) to go.
“When I hear people cheering for me, I always think it means someone is coming up behind me and that makes me go a little faster.”
For Faltay, it was a great feeling to win, but a special feeling to win the meet Keystone hosts.
“My coach said he couldn’t remember the last time a boy had won the Icebreaker event that we host, and that motivated me a lot,” Faltay said.
Faltay runs the course a lot, and that helped him prepare his strategy.
“Course is pretty good,” Faltay said. “Of course it was hot out and it’s my home course so I knew the course and I had a slight advantage for that because we run here once or twice a week, but I just knew where to start my kick.”
Winning the first race of the season is always a nice confidence boost for the rest of the grueling season.
“I just wanted to have a
good start to the season, and if I make it to the state meet, and I have for the past two years, if I make it this year it will definitely be a confidence booster and I can look back to the first week,” Faltay said. “It pays off to work hard.” The Bay boys won the overall team race with 40 points, while Cloverleaf finished second with 49. North Royalton’s Austin Kling finished in third with a time of 17:09.1, and Bay’s Will Dunston and Patrick Melvin finished in sixth and eighth place with times of 17:43.9 and 17:47.4, respectively.
On the girls side, Columbia senior Madeleine Finton blitzed the field and won the race with a personal-best time of 19:33.6. Her time was 1 minute, 20 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Zurina
Immel of Norwalk.
“I felt really good today,” Finton said. “I didn’t really want to lead from the first mile because I didn’t feel like I needed to, but I hit six minutes (the first mile) which was exactly what I wanted to hit.
“My two mile I hit 6:04 which is exactly what I needed to do as well and I knew I just had to kick to break 20 (minutes) which was one of my goals.
“I definitely felt it the third mile, but everyone was cheering me on and it was great to have everyone here for that. I feel like I accomplished what I came out here to do.”
Running that far ahead of everyone can be tough, but Finton kept on herself and kept self-motivating herself.
“My watch helped a little,” Finton said about pacing. “I worked on more tempos this summer, and I normally do those by myself so I am used to that. I just keep pushing and keep telling myself to keep going.”
Finton is poised to have a big senior season, and this race was a great start.
“It feels great,” Finton said about starting her season. “I am so far ahead of myself from last year, and I didn’t think I was going to do that honestly. I thought I was capable, but I wasn’t sure, so it is a nice confidence boost moving forward.”
Audrey Sanzone from Midview and Madison Palmer from Brookside finished in fourth and fifth place with times of 21:25.0 and 21:27.3, respectively.
Cloverleaf won the girls race with 58 points.