By: John Raffel
Ithaca freshman runner turning heads
Ithaca’s Lani Bloom didn’t waste much time in asserting herself as a quality cross country runner.
In her first five meets, Bloom has two firsts and three second places. She’s been breaking school records and her personal mark is 18:54.6 at the Marauder Invitational.
Her coach is veteran cross country skipper Gene Lebron.
“The expectations for her (from junior high) were high, but it’s always difficult going from two miles to 5K and that’s always the big question mark but there were high expectations and she’s lived up to everyone of them and maybe even exceeded them,” Lebron said.“She broke the school record in her third race (the Marauder Invitational). That was a pretty good record. The record she broke was held by Courtney Allen, who is a Division I scholarship runner right now at Western Michigan University.
“The conditions were perfect for one thing. We have not had perfect conditions. Every other race as been really, really hot or wet. It was a combination of having great conditions. She got out fast and ran by herself. She had been second in the previous two races. This was the first big meet and she was fired up. It’s the course we’ll run on for regional. With all of those things combined, she put everything together.”
Lebron likes Bloom’s potential.
“Division 3 girls cross country is so tough,” he said. “For her going into the state meet, a top 10 finish is one of the top goals. You have to get there first. Barring any catastrophe, she’ll qualify for state. I know she wants to lower the school record even more.”
The overall team prospects for Ithaca, led by Bloom, are extremely favorable.