Saratoga Springs – If you follow Triple-A baseball, you’re familiar with the Toledo Mud Hens.
If you follow NCAA Division I cross country, you are not necessarily familiar with the University of Toledo Rockets.
It may change someday. And if it does, so will Saratoga Springs High School senior Ella Kurto—who left through “quite” mud spots at Saratoga Spa State Park on Tuesday while in second place in a double meeting for teammate Emily Bush. But stay – could be a big part of it.
The 2019 Section II Class A champion has made a verbal commitment to participate in the Toledo of the Mid-American Conference.
The program doesn’t have a higher profile than traditional strongholds at the Power Five conventions, certainly not. Expectations are high for the future, however, after the school appointed Andrea Grove-McDonough as head coach in the summer of 2019, and convinced a runner of Kurto’s stature to join the team, indicating a program It is possible.
For Kurto’s part, this is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of whatever growth and progress Toledo makes over the next few years.
“That’s because I think the program is going somewhere,” said Linda Kranick, a longtime co-coach at Saratoga with husband Art. “So it’s good to be involved and be a part of bringing it to the top.”
“When I went there to tour the team, I felt so at home,” Kurto said. “I know the head coach, Coach McDonough, is trying to build a solid team and get up in the NCAA, and I think I really trusted him and wanted to be a part of him.
“I think every team she’s touched has put her up in the NCAA, and I just trust her and what she thinks is the best.”
Kurto said the top three schools of his choice came in Toledo, Providence and Northeastern.
Ever since Yola Strock chose the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, Cranix has sent at least one Saratoga graduate to a Division I school each year. In addition to Kurto, classmate Mackenzie Hart has made a verbal commitment to Wake Forest.
Linda Kranick assists Toledo in mixing former Saratoga star Nicole Blood Freitag, who is a cross country and track assistant coach at the University of Virginia and has crossed paths with Grove-McDonough.
She was hired by Toledo as cross country head coach and track and field assistant for one season in the summer of 2019 at North Carolina, Iowa State from 2013–18 and Yukon from 2008–13. Grove-McDonough was an All-America 1,500-meter sprinter for the University of Minnesota in 1996.
Cranix met him when he was in Scotland with Kelsey Chamil, who won the Great Edinburgh International Xcountry Challenge there and is now in the state of North Carolina.
“We got the idea from Nicole Bloods,” said Linda Kranick. “Our kids were looking around, and he said, ‘Try Toledo.’ And, in fact, when we took Kelsey to Scotland for the race, Andrea was with some Iowa State girls.
“I think Ella is going to be in great shape, and she’s going to get some more good recruits and Andrea is a good coach. She’s energetic, she’s very positive. We spent time with her in Scotland and He’s a good person.”
Kurto and his Blue Streaks team still have three seasons left for 2021-22 and the goals they want to achieve, of course, although one of the most important ones will not be available, will be held at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon. NXN), was canceled due to the pandemic. NXN will organize nine regional meetings across the country.
Running as a Kinetic TC, the Saratoga team won the NXN in 2019, and will take another crack at the 4xMile national record (9:40.67), which was set at the Nike Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field on July 2 . Kurto teamed up with Bush and Mackenzie and Alicia Hart for that performance.
“We’re just getting started, so [at] At the end of the season, I think we have a few things to prove here,” Kurto said. “And I’m a little sad that NXN got canceled this year, so we can’t reclaim our national title. . It’s a team-oriented thing, that’s what makes it special, and it still doesn’t feel real.
“I think we’re going to try it” [4xMile record] Have to go for it again during indoor, and then maybe outdoor and see what we can do.”
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