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Girls Hornets take AA cross country title; boys upset

As everyone expected, the Fayetteville-Manlius cross country team came back from Long Branch Park last Friday with a Section III Class AA championship in tow.

But the Hornets wanted two of them.

Hours after the F-M girls took care of its part of the equation, the F-M boys were expected to do the same -- only to see Liverpool, on its home course, wage a spirited challenge to beat the Hornets by three points.

The day began for F-M with its girls conquest of the AA field. With 35 points, the Hornets repeated as champions, beating Cicero-North Syracuse, who took second with 56 points.

Mackenzie Carter again tried to chase down West Genesee's Elizabeth McMahon for the individual title, but the freshman had to settle for second place in 19 minutes, 1.7 seconds, just behind McMahon, who won in 18:59.5.

Kathryn Buchan was just as spectacular, pulling far away from the rest of the field to claim third place in 19:12.0, igniting her team's championship push.

After three CNS runners finished, Courtney Chapman worked her way to ninth place, in 20:09.1, while Jessica Hauser took 10th place in 20:14.3 and Catie Caputo, in 11th place (20:18.0), sealed the victory.

As if that wasn't enough, Hilary Hooley ran her way to 13th place (20:30.7) and Molly Malone took 19th place (20:54.7), giving the F-M coaches some options as to who could run at the state meet.

Just 2 1/2 hours later, it was the boys turn to run for the AA championship, and in front, nothing was abnormal.

Tommy Gruenewald easily ran to victory in 15 minutes, 46.2 seconds, the only runner all day to break the 16-minute mark on the 3.1-mile Long Branch course. Geoff King was right behind him, in second place with a clocking of 16:07.9.

Here was where Liverpool got involved, getting the fourth and fifth-place runners (Ethan Hickey and Nick Scalione) before Luke Fitzgibbons took eighth place in 16:43.7.

Right behind Fitgibbons, though, the Warriors had its other trio running hard. Mike Compson, Bryan Picciotto and Colin Heenan finished ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively, before Ben Kimple crossed in 14th (17:12.1) and Andy Sargrad finished in 17th (17:17.8), so Liverpool won, 39 points to F-M's 42.

Despite this defeat, Gruenewald will be an individual favorite at this Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet at Warwick Valley, with King joining him. F-M's boys have a chance of making it to the state Federation meet Nov. 18, at Bowdoin Park.

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