With its deep pool of talent and endless desire to be on top, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls cross country finds itself on top of the OHSL Colonial National division again.
Completing a 6-0 regular season, the Northstars tore up archrival Liverpool last Wednesday at Oneida Shores State Park, beating the Warriors 19-40.
By far, the key to this meet was the ability of Alicia Finger, Katie Duerr and Taylor Wendler to pull away from Liverpool's top runners and help CNS, the state's no. 6-ranked class AA team, build an insurmountable edge.
Finger won the race, crossing the line in 19 minutes, six seconds. She was well ahead of Duerr, who was second in 19:30, and Wendler, who finished third in 19:47, but they were the only runners to break the 20-minute mark as Trina Bills (20:14) led the Liverpool brigade.
Lauren Slocum gathered herself to take sixth place, in 20:37. Just behind her, Alicia Greco got seventh place (20:45) and Ashley Messur was eighth, in 20:52.
Meanwhile, in the boys showdown between CNS and Liverpool, the Warriors got the best of this long-time rivalry, prevailing 21-40 to take the Colonial National title in what amounted to a battle for first place.
Entering the meet, Liverpool was no. 7 in the state AA rankings and CNS owned the no. 10 spot, so a close and exciting contest was expected.
Instead, the Warriors used a tough two-pronged strategy to win, sending its pair of stars, Colin Heenan and Ethan Hickey, to the front, and allowing the rest of the runners to work together.
It worked to perfection. CNS's top pair, Ben Ludovici and Nathan MacNabb, tried to keep up, but Heenan won the race in 15:56 and Hickey got second, in 16:07.
Staying with each other, Ludovici got third place in a time of 16:32 and MacNabb was fourth, two seconds behind, but the Warriors would take the next five spots to clinch victory before Kevin Cusworth finished 10th, in 17:16.