Thanks to the supreme effort of an underrated and unheralded supporting cast, the Marcellus boys cross country team has proud possession of the OHSL Liberty division regular-season championship.
The entire league race came down to a three-way meet where the Mustangs, at 6-0, had to visit Jordan-Elbridge, also 6-0, while Westhill arrived with its own 6-0 mark.
Amid this perfect storm of drama, Marcellus found just what kind of strength it had beyond star senior Chris Stogsdill as the Mustangs edged past the Eagles 26-29 and beat the Warriors by a 25-31 margin.
Everyone expected Stogsdill to go to the front -- which he did. On J-E's 3.1-mile course, Stogsdill finished in a course-record 15 minutes, 16 seconds, averaging about five minutes per mile on a rugged terrain in perfect running conditions.
What was shocking was seeing Jesse Garn run right close to Stogsdill for much of the race. Garn could not keep the pace all the way, but he still tore across the line in 15:35, well clear of J-E's Cody Stanton (15:54) for second place as they both, like Stogsdill, broke the course record.
Two Westhill runners, Chirs Moore (16:00) and Kevin Zych (16:05) followed, as did J-E's Mike Marrero (16:07), before Tom Riccardi tore through line in 16:31 for seventh place.
And when Nate Heath landed in 12th place (17:11) and Owen Dean got 14th place in 17:28, the Mustangs sealed the win and the league title.
Over in girls action, Elizabeth Dean provided another highlight as Marcellus lost 22-37 to J-E and 23-36 to Westhill.
Dean ran away from the pacek and, in 18:44, beat Westhill's Heather Clancy (19:05) by 21 seconds. Baillie Vensel was ninth in 21:35.
Both of the Marcellus teams go to Cato-Meridian High School this Wednesday for the annual Onondaga High School League championship meet.