For a long time, the Marcellus cross country program had to watch, with considerable envy, as neighbors like Skaneateles, Jordan-Elbridge, West Genesee and Westhill snared post-season glory -- at least from a team standpoint.
And that was part of what made the Mustangs' clean sweep of last Saturday's Section III Class B championship meets at Jamesville Beach Park so special -- because, for once, the neighbors were looking up at them, not the other way around.
Not since 1977 had the boys Mustangs won a sectional team title. But Marcellus, a year removed from the Chris Stogsdill era, dominated the 14-team Class B field, posting 36 points to smother runner-up New Hartford (96 points) and everyone else, too.
Each of the seven Marcellus runners finished within the top 20 individuals, including junior Jesse Garn, who went to the front and gradually pulled away from Westhill's Kevin Zych, winning in 16 minutes, 39.8 seconds as Zych (16:53.9) took second.
Senior Tom Riccardi claimed sixth place, in 17:26.7, while freshman Ryan Manahan worked his way to eighth place (17:33.1) and senior Mike Quercia (17:50.2) landed in ninth place. Another senior, Mike Fallon, was 12th (18:02.7) to clinch the team title, with junior Nate Heath in 15th place (18:20.4) and senior Owen Dean (18:34.1) in 19th place.
It proved a lot closer in the girls Class B meet, but Marcellus, with 71 points, held off New Hartford (76 points) and Westhill (81 points) for that top spot.
With every spot crucial, eighth-grader Rachel Garn led the Mustangs with a fifth-place time of 20:23.1 as freshman Maggie Dunn claimed seventh place in 20:44.4.
Another Marcellus freshman, Molly McGuane, got to 11th place in 21:17.4, but the key was that the top three Mustang runners hit the line before all of Westhill's team members and were slightly better than New Hartford at the back.