Work ethic drives RFA runner Capoccia to succeed

Published Nov 8, 2018 at 4:10pm

RFA sophomore Gianna Capoccia is aiming for a top result at this weekend’s cross country state meet in Long Island after just missing the chance to compete on that level last year, according to her coach, Nick Jeror.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s 2018 cross country championships are Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park in Long Island.

“She’s got an incredible work ethic,” said girls RFA coach Nick Jeror of Capoccia, who is a sophomore. “The amount of time and effort she puts in day in and day out is unrivaled. I’ve never seen a more disciplined high school athlete.”

That includes school work, healthy eating and a consistent sleep schedule. “We’re in the toughest section in the state,” he noted, so she gets a lot of competition. “She has the potential to be top 10 in Class A in the state.”

Capoccia has a shot at redemption, Jeror said, as she was expected to qualify for states last year but missed. She’s already familiar with the course, having run it when Jeror took her there in September in anticipation of just this situation.

Even if there are wet conditions this weekend, he said, “She runs tough either way.” Jeror said Capoccia’s goal is “to go under 19 minutes for this course.” A top 10 finish is something a member of the RFA girls team has done only once at states — Laurie Bailey in 1981. “I definitely think she can do that. She’s right on the edge of a real breakout race. Depending on the course, that time is definitely doable for her. I really believe she can be top 10 for sure.”

Capoccia prepared this week by running with Jeror and Nathaniel Sletten, who is competing in the boys state meet. Most of her teammates are preparing for winter season sports, Jeror noted. But she’s also resting up. “It’s really more important for the mental preparation at this point,” Jeror said.

Sletten, a sophomore, is the lone member of the boys team to qualify for the state event by his finish at the sectional race.

There are two other boys from local schools running in the state meet: Adirondack junior Tyler Fauvelle and Remsen junior Michael Roberts, who also qualified at the Section III meet.

There are 17 local runners among the girls. The Clinton team finished first in the Class C race, so it will have seven runners at the state meet: sophomore Rebecah Bashant, senior Eva Borton, freshman Leah Borton, freshman Finley Davignon, sophomore Taylor Harvey, sophomore Emily Hemstrought and freshman Madison Luke. Eva Borton won the Section III Class C race.

Also qualifying at the sectional meet to run at states are 10 individual runners: Capoccia, Camden junior Haley Hinds, Camden freshman Elizabeth Lucason, Camden junior Morgan Lucason, Oneida freshman Madison Mack, VVS junior Delaney Brewer, Remsen sophomore Jade Dening, South Lewis seventh grader Brynn Bernard, South Lewis freshman Lexi Bernard and South Lewis sophomore Hannah Ielfield.