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Twin league triumphs for cross country Spartans

Exhausted, but happy, the East Syracuse-Minoa cross country teams celebrated a landmark in the program's history last Wednesday at Green Lakes State Park.

When the Spartans pulled off a sweep of the Chittenango Bears, it managed to complete two undefeated regular seasons -- and claim both OHSL Freedom division championships.

ESM's boys had the taller task, trying to knock off a Chittenango side that was the defending champions and had won 13 meets in a row.

But the Spartans pulled it off, relying on its total depth to beat the Bears, 27-30, and at the same time register a 20-43 triumph over Homer.

That depth would be needed, since Chittenango had the two fastest runners of the day in Eric Leonard (16:44) and Dmitriy Tarasevich (16:53).

As he had done all season, Jeff Sweeney led the Spartans along, finishing fourth in a time of 17:26 behind Homer's Ryan Sullivan, who was third in 17:01.

Right behind Sweeney, Nick Sadlocha got fifth place, in 17:32. Greg Lothridge joined the pack, in sixth place (17:35), while Peter Ferstler stepped up for one of his best efforts of the season, taking seventh place in 17:38.

When Jeff Martino crossed the line in 17:56, ahead of two Chittenango scoring runners, ESM had its title locked up.

As for the girls Spartans, the task was doubly difficult, since Chittenango and Homer both offered strong challenges. But ESM was up to it, edging past the Bears 25-30 and the Trojans 26-30 to match their male counterparts in a 7-0 run through the league.

Leah Andrianos pulled away in her duel with Chittenango star Michelle Brandt, as Andrianos won in 18 minutes, 25 seconds, 43 seconds clear of Brandt.

Meghan Visser was in the following pack, as she registered a fourth-place clocking of 20:16 as Homer's Heather Wilson (19:55) took third. Brandi Gibson finished sixth, in 20:31, to help the Spartans hang on.

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