As it tends to do, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team handled the big stage at last Saturday's Manhattan College Invitational with its usual flair and winning style.
On a gorgeous fall afternoon at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, the Hornets dominated the rest of the field in the Girls Eastern States competition, the most elite event in the day-long race schedule in New York City.
F-M, the nation's top-ranked team, finished with 55 points, more than double the total of Tatnall, who was second with 112 points.
Courtney Chapman came close to winning the individual race, too. On a 4,000-meter course (one kilometer shorter than the average cross country layout), Chapman finished in 14 minutes, 14.30 seconds, just behind Melanie Thompson (Voorhees), who won in 14:12.79.
Mackenzie Carter ran her way to seventh place, in 14:32.85. Katie Sischo finished 12th (14:43.56), while Molly Malone earned 13th place (14:51.03) and Meghan Anklin took 21st place in 14:59.55.
Hannah Luber (30th, 15:07.04) and Alexandra Chapman (56th, 15:46.83) rounded out F-M's field. Combined, the average time of 14:39.74 from F-M's top five runners nearly broke the team course record Saratoga Springs set in 2004.
Meanwhile, in the boys Eastern States race, Alex Hatz made a spirited bid for the individual championship. He ended up in third place, in 12:26.55, topped only by Joe Rosa (Plainsboro, 12:12.99) and Andrew Colley (Jamestown, 12:20.61) at the line.
Overall, F-M finished eighth in the team standings, well ahead of Section III rivals Baldwinsville (16th) and Cicero-North Syracuse (27th). Paul Merriman finished 21st, in 12:56.99, with Andrew Roache (13:38.62), Brendan Farrell (13:40.72), John Cico (13:44.83), Owen Strong (13:58.97) and Joe Hartnett (14:15.59) also ran well.
Before going to the Big Apple, F-M took care of a pair of CNY Counties League American division rivals Auburn and Central Square in a three-way meet.