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Girls cross country Hornets win at McQuaid meet

With more than 200 teams present, the McQuaid Invitational at Rochester's Genesee Valley Park is one of the largest annual cross country meets in the nation.

So it was fitting that Fayetteville-Manlius, the nation's top-ranked girls team, would be on hand to defend that top spot against all foes in the Class AAA division.

And the Hornets would finish on top, with 38 points, holding off Section II power Burnt Hills, who finished second with 45 points, in what could be a preview of the state championships Nov. 10 at Norwood-Norfolk.

Unlike the "striding out" disqualification at the Chittenango Invitational two weeks earlier, F-M's runners followed every possible rule -- and needed to, since Burnt Hills provided a stiff challenge.

Hannah Luber finished second in a time of 17:07, five seconds behind Burnt Hills' Samantha Roecker, with Roecker's teammate, Molly Pezzulo, in third place in 17:10.

F-M countered by putting three other runners in the top 12. Jocelyn Richards finished fourth, in 17:15, as Courtney Chapman claimed seventh place (17:37) and Molly Malone took 12th place in 17:59. The Hornets' depth allowed it to prevail again.

Meanwhile, in the boys Class AAA race, F-M teammates Paul Merriman and Alex Hatz each finished in the top 20, as Merriman finished 16th in a time of 15:45 and Hatz was one second behind, in 17th place.

Prior to the McQuaid meet, the Hornets warmed up with a sweep of Nottingham last Wednesday afternoon, prevailing 15-50 on the girls side and 17-46 on the girls side.

Alex Chapman won the girls race in a time of 19:24, eight seconds ahead of Luber, who led a pack that included Richards (19:33) and Courtney Chapman (19:34).

Kathryn Buchan, in fifth place (19:41), also broke the 20-minute mark as Mackenzie Carter (20:10), Kristen Buchan (20:15), Malone (10:19), Erica Losito (20:37) and Amanda Eisenson (21:13) also found their way to the top 10.

Merriman, in a time of 17:04, won the boys race by 16 seconds over Hatz. Andrew Sargrad was third, in 17:50.

Brendan Farrell (18:12) led the next F-M wave as Eric Snavely (18:29), Tim Duett (19:07), Ben Sargrad (19:08), Terence Creamer (19:11) and Joseph Hartnett (19:19) followed.

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