2013 legacy Award -1961-68 1968-69
Boys Cross Country Class B Section IV Champions

In the summer of 1965, or so the story goes, Sidney Central School's budget was such that another sport for boys could be added that fall in order to get more young men active without suiting up in pads and a helmet. Thanks to the new School Superintendent Dr. Howard Lynch, the decision was made to initiate distance running at Sidney with the formation of Cross Country.

As Dr. Lynch admitted years later, the preference was soccer, which could see the same number (eleven) on the field at one time as football. However, he said, "with Cross Country you could have as many boys as you wanted, because everyone runs. No tryouts, no cuts!" That fall, the cross country program had begun!

Under Coach Bill Davidson, himself a runner in his youth, good results came quickly. Sidney boys came out in large numbers to participate in cross country. It was 1967 - only the third season - and again the following year in 1968 when Section IV teams knew just how good Sidney's team was. The debate over which team was MORE successful can go on and on. Many of the boys ran in both seasons, so it's hard to decide. Consider:

1967: Undefeated in all competitions (Dual and Triangular meets, invitationals and Susquenango & Section IV races). Section IV Class B Champions and 7th place overall in the NY State Meet at Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island. Defeated every Section IV school, regardless of size, during the season.

1968: Defeated all Section IV school except Ithaca. Unbeaten in dual meets. Defended their Susquenango League as well as the Section IV Class B titles. Improved to a 3rd place team finish at the NY State Meet at the same location.

Competition within the team also was intense. Races of 2.2 miles, two laps around the school grounds covering hills, flats, woods, pavement and more would be run during practice just to see who made the seven-member Varsity team. Making "top 7" was an accomplishment in itself!

The core members of both teams were: Randy Payne, Lonnie Cole, Gary Cole, Duncan Currie, Seniors in 1967 making their mark were: Steve Manwarren, Rick Cole, Doug Williams, Bill Hood and Colin Kelly. The 1968 season saw transfer student Mark Townsend break into the lineup, along with Bert Finch, Rich Olmstead, and Mark Bookhout. A strong and very deep JV team both years revealed younger runners ready to compete for future varsity teams. These boys included: Jon Martin, Peter Jayne, Ken Secrest, Don Gomez, Gary Wilson, Steve Bartz, John Acker, and others.

The defining moment for Sidney's Cross Country program that enjoyed a 40-year run of excellence (with the girls program starting in the late 1970s) came in 1967's prestigious Sid Stock Invitational in Vestal. As senior Steve Manwarren recalls: "We were warming up with our maroon sweats on. We pulled our sweatshirts over our heads so no one saw "Sidney" on the front. People thought we were Johnson City [same color] and were not anything to worry about! Well, against the powerful teams like Ithaca, Abington Heights (Pa.) and Vestal, Coach Davidson was so thrilled when we WON! That was the meet where we 'arrived on the scene' in Section IV cross country."

Congratulations to these two dynamic and very successful teams. Cross Country's uniqueness in showcasing individual ability for the sake of team success is hard to define. But for the 1967 and 1968 boys teams at Sidney, results spoke well enough! Congratulations to Coach Bill Davidson and runners for earning the 2013 Sidney Alumni Sports Hall of Fame Legacy Award!

Boy's Cross Country team