All through the spring, as Cicero-North Syracuse's boys track and field team dominated the OHSL Colonial National division, and Fayetteville-Manlius had similar control over the American division, the anticipation built.
Finally, after two months of this build-up, the Northstars and Hornets met each other Wednesday at Bragman Stadium with the Section III Class AA title on the line -- and both sides put on first-rate efforts.
In the end, though, the Northstars had a bit more depth, especially in the shorter relay races. This produced 132.66 points, just ahead of the Hornets' total of 116 points.
The 4x400 relay produced an early benchmark. Jake Whritenour, Zach Marchese, Jeff Azzoto and James Thurn combined to set a school record with a time of 3:26.44, while F-M floundered back in fifth place (3:33.49), an eight-point difference.
And in the 4x100, Vincent St. James, Nick Orlando, Devin Young and Charles Haven produced a time of 44.31 seconds, good for second place behind Rome Free Academy (43.88 seconds). Again, F-M finished fifth (45.01 seconds), making for a six-point separation between the Northstars and Hornets.
Otherwise, the meet was close to even. Thurn, with a time of 57.64 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, led a 1-2-3 sweep as Andy Neumeister finished second (59.66 seconds) and Ty Howington finished third (59.99 seconds).
Howington would get his own title in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.58 seconds as Neumeister finished third (15.84 seconds) and Thurn (16.32 seconds) took fifth place.
Andy Kahl again beat the field in the high jump, clearing 6 feet 4 inches to beat Nottingham's Kempton Taylor by an inch. He was also fifth in the triple jump with 41 feet 8 inches.
Jeff Crooks was second in the discus (132 feet 11 inches), while Steve Jensen got third place in the triple jump (44 feet 6 inches) and Craig Barber cleared 11 feet for third place in the pole vault.