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Athletics

 

Germano reaches states in boys' cross country

On Oct. 26, after a disappointing finish in the Big 10 championships, Philo Germano felt like the goals he set for himself as the leader of Albany High School's boys' cross country team were slipping away. He needed just three days to get back on track, and just over a week to complete his personal checklist for the season.

 

Germano, a junior, qualified for the state cross-country championships with an outstanding performance at the Section II meet Nov. 4 at Saratoga Spa State Park. He did it with the first sub-16-minute race of his life, and he did it on his sport's biggest local stage, the 3.04-mile Saratoga course.

 

"It was a big goal of mine to make states, and I always wanted to break 16 minutes at (Saratoga)," Germano said.

 

Bolting to the front at the start of the race, Germano willed himself to run with the lead group and finished among the area's elite. His time of 15 minutes, 45 seconds was a personal-best by more than 20 seconds -- and 53 seconds better than his time on the same course at the Big 10 meet the previous week.

 

"My goal was just to give myself a chance to be in contention and then let it happen," he said.

 

Germano finished the Section II meet seventh among runners from the Capital Region's largest schools and 12th overall out of 572 runners from all area schools. He competed in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet Nov. 12 at Vernon-Verona-Sherill High School, finishing 51st out of 107 runners in the large-school division. He is the first member of the Albany High boys' cross-country team to reach states since Erich Strassner qualified in 1995 and '96.

 

"I'm not surprised. He's a phenomenal runner," said first-year coach John Deere. "I'm just elated that he could make it to states."

 

The schedule gave Germano a chance to rebound quickly after his fifth-place finish at the Big 10 meet Oct. 26, and he took advantage. He won the Harvest Classic at Troy's Knickerbocker Park on Oct. 29, providing the confidence boost he needed with the Section II meet approaching.

 

"I could tell that mentally he was ready for it," Deere said.

 

Germano got another lift in the days leading up to the Section II meet when several former Albany High runners called with words of encouragement.

 

"All of their advice definitely helped, and it also means a lot that they still watch and look out for me," Germano said. 

 

 

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