Cross country Bears set up showdown with ESM

Now it all comes down to one meet.

On Wednesday afternoon at Green Lakes State Park, each of Chittenango's cross country teams will meet East Syracuse-Minoa, battling for their respective OHSL Freedom division championships.

Taking the last step toward this showdown, the boys Bears had to survive a severe challenge last Wednesday in a three-way meet with Jamesville-DeWitt and Fulton.

By a slim margin, Chittenango got past the Red Rams, 26-29, while earning a more comfortable 15-48 win over the Raiders.

True, Eric Leonard did win the race, his time of 16 minutes, 57 seconds a full eight seconds better than J-D's A.J. Russell, but it was the Bears' depth that allowed them to survive the Rams' challenge.

Dimitriy Tarasevich claimed third place, in 17:26, while Andrew Maum earned sixth place in 18:09. J-D teammates Ben Kier and Jack Knych had finished between them, so Chittenango needed more help.

And it would get the help. Brian Maum, finishing in eighth place (18:22), was closely followed by Matt Benjamin, in ninth place (18:23), and Robert Doss, who was 10th in 18:25. That helped Chittenango clinch the meet.

As this was going on, the girls Bears were claiming an even more convincing sweep, beating J-D 21-37 and crushing Fulton 17-45.

Michelle Brandt was part of another runaway. She tore through the J-D course in 19:28, nearly a minute and a half ahead of J-D's Eileen Cody.

Brittany Reals, in third place (21:14), led the next pack. Lauren Anderson was fourth, in 21:26, while Jenny Maum took seventh place (21:45) and Rachel Church ran her way to eighth place in 22:02.

By getting the sweep, Chittenango's girls moved to 4-1, right behind ESM (5-0) in the standings. On the boys end, the Bears and Spartans are both undefeated, adding to the excitement.

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