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Westhampton's Gavin Ehlers runs second in state Class B cross country

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Westhampton’s Gavin Ehlers didn’t really know, but he didn’t care much either. The only runner he cared about watching on Saturday morning was LaSalle Institute’s Gitch Hayes.

The field in the Class B boys race at the public school cross country state championships had thinned out quite a bit earlier than expected. What started as a race with over 100 competitors at the line had, more or less, become a three-man race in a relative instant.

“It was a three-person race before the mile mark,” Ehlers said.

But, it was Hayes who ultimately proved uncatchable. He won in 15 minutes, 37.1 seconds on the 5-kilometer course at Chenango Valley State Park in upstate Chenango Forks. Ehlers was second in 15:54.2.

“The gap started forming with [Hayes] on the first hill,” Ehlers said. “I knew there were two more coming after that, so I played it a little bit more conservative there. He didn’t open up a huge gap, it was maybe 2-3 meters. But, it never really came back to me. He just kept extending on it from there.”

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Across all four classes Saturday, Ehlers time was the third fastest overall and fastest on Long Island .

Ehlers’ teammate, Max Haynia, was seventh in Class B in 16:26.9. Westhampton (71 points) was second to Burnt Hills — Ballston Lake (35 points) in the team competition.

“I think we’re super psyched about it as a team,” Ehlers said. “We came in here wanting to take a crack at Burnt Hills, but they’re a very strong team…I don’t think we could have asked for much more. Burnt Hills is a crazy strong team. There were a couple of projections that didn’t even have us second, they had us third. To come out and do as well as we did today, I’m super proud of the guys for that.”

Eastport-South Manor’s Austin Wefer finished 12th in Class A in 16:31.4. Corning’s Jack Gregorski won Class A in 15:45.7. Wheatley’s Scott Schmuck finished 16th in Class C in 17:17.4. Kyle Urban of Alden won Class C in 16:14.7. Southold’s Flynn Klipstein was 12th in Class D in 17:33.3 and Beaver River’s Colton Kempney won Class D in 16:06.5.

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