Last Saturday, on a muddy Tully High School cross-country course, Wildcat Elizabeth McMahon fought off strong challenges from three other individual runners as she pulled away to claim her second Onondaga High School League individual champion title.
Pacing with Leah Andrianos (East Syracuse-Minoa) and Mackenzie Carter and Kathryn Buchan (Fayetteville-Manlius), McMahon utilized her experience and strength in the last half mile as she left the other three trailing her to clock 19:00.7 on the five-kilometer course made tough by weather and poor footing.
The Wildcats, however, were able to produce only one other top-20 finish, that by Colleen Smith in 19th, as they placed third in the meet behind F-M and Cicero-North Syracuse.
The 242-runner field featured 31 Onondaga County teams matched in one race regardless of class size. It was WG's second consecutive third-place finish where they have placed in the top-10 every year since 1997. Other scorers for the Wildcats were Katie Rothenberg(34th), Kayla Murphy(36th) and Sarah Kibby(41st).
Hoping to keep alive their chances at a Federation Championship qualification, the team goes after class rivals F-M and C-NS again this Friday in the Section III championship meet at Longbranch Park in Liverpool.
The young West Gennesee boys team of Steve Houghmaster, Tom Hopkins, Ron Ta, Sam Reedy and Eric Whiting registered their school's best finish in the past five years with an 11th place in their 38-team, 278 runner field.
Leading the Wildcats was Houghmaster, the current top-ranked freshman in Section III and the no. 2-ranked Class AA frosh in New York State. Houghmaster's 17:06.6 on the muddy Tully course earned him 11th place and was the result of his furious finish in which he passed four runners in the last quarter mile.
The team now aims for a top-seven finish at their sectional championship meet at Longbranch.