With just the right combination of star power and help from the rest of the squad, the Westhill boys cross country team lay claim to its fourth consecutive OHSL Liberty division championship.
In fact, since 2003, the Warriors have won 28 meets in a row, few of them more important than last Wednesday's showdown with Marcellus in a high-octane three-way meet that also included Skaneateles.
Ceding the front of the pack in this big race, Westhill still beat the Mustangs, 26-31, while also beating the host Lakers 18-43.
Westhill's top trio of Andrew Corcoran, Greg Pallotta and Pat Hartnett allowed Marcellus standout Chris Stogsdill to pull away and win the race in 15 minutes, 55 seconds, while they focued their energies on holding off Stogsdill's Mustangs teammates, Mike Esposito and Sean Reagan.
This proved quite successful. Corcoran finished second, in a time of 16:11, while Pallotta gained third place in 16:19 and Hartnett, with his fourth-place time of 16:31, beat Esposito by 14 seconds.
David Krawczyk, in ninth place (17:39), and Eric Moore rounded out Westhill's winning effort. Sam Smolenski led Skaneateles by finishing seventh, in 17:28.
Meanwhile, the Westhill girls team would conclude a 5-3 regular season by beating Marcellus 24-37, while falling to Skaneateles (the holders of a remarkable 87-meet win streak) by a 22-33 margin.
Danielle Rafte finished second, in a time of 20:21, as Marcellus runner Carrie Carlton won the individual title in 20:05 -- not a surprise, since top Skaneateles stars Hannah Waite and Stephanie Searing missed the meet.
Still, Skaneateles took every finishing spot from fourth through seventh, with Kristen Roberts (20:35) leading that pack. Brittany Pelsue gave the Warriors some points with an eighth-place time of 20:55, while teammate Allison Harrington (21:04) took ninth place.