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Cross country Hornets debut, crush Corcoran

All the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team needs to do is follow a 2006 season where it earned the New York State Federation title and also lay claim to the Nike Team National championship in California.

And even though three of the team's top seven runners graduated, the Hornets still have Mackenzie Carter and Kathryn Buchan, its top two runner from '06, back to dominate again.

The quest to repeat began with intense off-season training, a hallmark of head coach Bill Aris, whose "Stotan" philosophy, combining the stoic and Spartan work ethics, has led to so much success in the past.

Now, the Hornets hit the regular season, beginning last Wednesday with a CNY Counties League meet against Corcoran where F-M took all the top spots in a 15-50 victory over the Cougars.

Alex Chapman grabbed the spotlight in this race, speeding away from the field and finishing in 19 minutes, 57 seconds.

The pack came behind her, as Kathryn Buchan, Courtney Chapman, Hannah Luber, Molly Malone and Jocelyn Richards all finished in a time of 20:19. Kristen Buchan and Carter both had times of 20:47, with Erica Losito finishing in 20:49 and Allyson O'Brien finished in 21:48.

Meanwhile, F-M's boys cross country team, moving on after the graduation of star runners Tommy Gruenewald and Geoff King, began its 2007 campaign, beating Corcoran by that same 15-50 margin.

Ben Sargrad led the back, crossing the finish line in 17:40, two seconds ahead of Andrew Sargrad. Andrew Roache earned third place in a clocking of 17:48.

Alex Hatz, in fourth place (18:26), led the next pack that included Paul Merriman (18:27), John Cico (18:30) and Brendan Farrell (18:35). Eric Snavely (18:48) and Joseph Hartnett (19:06) also cracked the top 10.

On Saturday, the Hornets and 66 other team will meet at Jamesville Beach for the Chittenango Invitational - and get a preview of the course that will host the Section III Championships on Nov. 2.

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