Leading off today:
I'm not sure why, but distance runners almost always seem to make for the kinds of stories that you don't necessarily stumble across in other sports and disciplines.
I don't know if there's merit to it, but I've long suspected that it might have something to do with long training runs giving those competitors time to compose their thoughts and express them in more depth than others. And, with apologies to Yogi Berra, when you spend that much time running through the streets and parks you can observe a lot by watching.
Anyway, some terrific stories about cross country runners have been told in the past few days. Here's a look at stuff definitely worth a read.
'My mom would've wanted me to run': Syracuse.com told the story of Chittenango senior Chelsea Lamphere, who ran the McQuaid Invitational on Sept. 28 a day after her mother, Kelly, died following a 10-year battle with cancer.
"My mom would've wanted me to run," she said. "It wasn't even a question in my mind on if I was racing or not."
The teen placed 40th in her race in a time of 20:21.8. Though her coaches were aware of the circumstances, she didn't tell teammates about her mother's death until after the race because she didn't want it to affect their performances.
"She went out and got on the starting line and did something I would call superhuman," coach Derek Gott said. "Under the circumstances, she did really well."
Motivated by the care her mother received during her multiple hospitalizations, Chelsea Lamphere plans to attend college to study hospital administration while continuing her track and cross country career.
A whole new meaning to 'G.O.A.T.': Tully junior Brooke Rauber already owns a sparkling distance-running resume that includes too many victories to count. But the trophies, medals and ribbons associated with those accomplishments -- including a three-peat in the NYSPHSAA Class D cross country championships -- have to share shelf space with awards she has racked up in 4-H competitions.
Rauber raises dairy goats, and her prized Nubian and Oberhasli goats have racked up a slew of honors -- including most recently at the New York State Fair.
"In racing and showing goats, I'm super competitive," she told Syracuse,com. "And I get nervous before competitions for both. I don't know why."
Rauber's racing success makes sense in light of her parents' background since both were accomplished NCAA Division III competitors. But the interest in goats started in middle school while visiting a former teammate who showed goats.
"I went over to her house, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so cool.'" she said. "I was already in 4-H and I wanted something to show."
The herd grew to more than two dozen over the summer, but the family was planning to sell some. Goats are relatively self-sufficient, but there's a lot of time involved in clipping hooves, milking the females and keeping the animals clean -- not to mention time spent watching how adorable they can be.
"They each have a personality, and they're so much fun," Rauber said. "I just love everything about them."
Stretching his limits: Frontier junior Josh Peron made his mark primarily as a sprinter and hurdler in his first two years of high school, but wins at the McQuaid and East Aurora invitationals have positioned him as a contender in the cross country postseason.
"I've definitely spent a lot of time and money on running in order to reach my goals," Peron told Milesplit. "I've spent money to make sure I have the proper trainers and spikes, rollers, different ice packs and other injury prevention stuff.