VERONA – When it really mattered, the Fayetteville-Manlius the women’s cross-country team made it to the top.
The Hornets fended off Cicero-North Syracuse’s challenge to win another Division III Class A championship last Saturday at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, the same venue where this week’s state meet will be held.
FM is joined at the state meeting by the Jamesville DeWitt boys, who won Class B, as well as a handful of high-profile individuals, including Hornets teammates Nolan McGinn and Anthony Otis.
McGinn was part of the most thrilling race of the day, a Class A section battle where he went to the finish line neck and neck with Baldwinsville’s Solomon Holden-Betts after 3.1 miles on a VVS course hot and windy.
Finishing in 16 minutes and 5.8 seconds, McGinn edged Holden-Betts (16:05.9) by a tenth of a second, by far the closest margin in any of the eight races.
Even with that, and with Otis finishing fourth in 16:39 flat, FM still found themselves second in the sectional team event behind Auburn, which has five runners in the top 16 and won with 51 points to 62. for the Hornets.
Ben Perry narrowly missed out on entering the state competition, taking eighth place in 17:35.8, while Will Ditre was back in 17th place (18:17.8) and Kyler Patrick (18 : 54.4) was 32nd.
In contrast, the FM girls avenged two previous losses to C-NS even though Izzie Sullivan, in 19:02.1, finished second to Northstars’ Kate Putman, who won in 18:46.9.
Maria Khalifeh (19:48.4), Hannah Kaercher (19:51.1) and Camille Ryan (20:00.1) finished sixth to eighth overall behind Kate and Gabby Putman (who was fourth), while Isabelle Adrian took the victory by taking 12th place in 20:33.3 while Ava Beecher (21:03.2) and Catherine Walters (21:32.9) also finished in the top 20.
In the Class B boys race, JD held on to 46 points to New Hartford’s 50 for first place, led by Connor Clarkson, who in 17:46.9 pulled away from Camden’s Jerome Seidl (17:59 ,0) for the individual championship.
Hudson Groat moved up to fifth in 18:17.3, with Peter Drew eighth among team runners (ninth overall) in 18:56.8.
It took Isaiah Steinberg 14th (19:19.3) and Chris Donaghue 18th (19:36.2) in the Red Rams team standings to fend off New Hartford, who had five of the top 13. Ryan Carter finished in 19:45.9 while Paul Fischi posted 20:30.7.
En route to a fourth-place finish in Class B girls, JD saw Megan O’Malley lead the way, taking 23rd overall and 18th in the team standings in a time of 24:25.5. Rebecca Mendez Squier finished 28th among team runners in a flat 25:27.
In the first race of the day, the Class C boys, Christian Brethren Academy saw Charles Raymond earn a trip to the state meet by moving into third place in 17:57.6. The Brothers were 12th out of 15 teams overall.
Later, in the Class C women’s section race, ABC’s Mary Sullivan finished 16th in 23:05.3, with Adele Sommer close behind as she took 20th in 23:17.8.
East of Syracuse Minoa finished 10th in the men’s Class A race as John Courcy led the Spartans, finishing 40th among team riders in a time of 19:19.2. Ainsley Mckenna led the ESM girls with a time of 24:28.2.
Manlius Pebble Hill Male runner Oliver Dreyfuss finished 15th in the Class D section race in 19:17.2, while Tea Hokanson of the Trojan Girls took 20th in 22:45.1.