Now was the time for the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team to look beyond its state realms.
On the same Bowdoin Park course where it won the Federation championship a week earlier, the Hornets beat six other elite teams to claim the Nike Team National New York Qualifier last Saturday at Wappingers Falls, advancing to this Saturday's national championships in Oregon.
F-M, on a purely technical basis, cannot represent its high school since the Nike meets are not sanctioned by any official high school sports governing body.
Thus, the Hornets have to form a club -- and as in years past, it took the name "Stotans", a term head coach Bill Aris discovered from 1950s Australian coach Percy Cerutty, which combines the words "stoic" and "Spartan" to describe an approach to running and training.
These "Stotans" went into battle last Saturday against Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake, the reigning state Class A champions that skipped the Federation meet so it could prepare for this one shot at taking F-M down.
But whatever name they assume, the Hornets again proved to be too much. All told, F-M picked up 40 points, well clear of Burnt Hills' runner-up total of 72. Saratoga Springs (under the name Kinetic), Warwick Valley, East Aurora, Greenwich and Arlington (LaGrangeville) rounded out the field.
Though Burnt Hills' Sam Roecker won the individual title in 18 minutes, 18.5 seconds, the Stotans again countered with unmatched depth.
Sophomore Mackenzie Carter led the way, covering the 3.1 miles at Bowdoin Park in a fourth-place time of 18:51.1. Right behind her, Courtney Chapman took home fifth place, in 18:54.5, while Section III champion Hannah Luber worked her way to sixth place in 18:59.5.
Not far behind them, Molly Malone ran to 11th place, in 19:22.8, as Jocelyn Richards tore up the course on her way to 14th place in 19:35.6 and Kathryn Buchan was 18th, in 19:49.2. Kristen Buchan finished 24th in a clocking of 20:00.2.
Late this week, the F-M "Stotans" will fly to the west coast, on its way to Portland to defend its title at the Nike Nationals.