Both of the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse cross country teams will send talented runners to Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship meet at SUNY-Plattsburgh.
Those spots were earned during last Saturday's Section III meet, held at Jamesville Beach Park, where Fayetteville-Manlius took both Class AA team titles.
In the boys AA meet, F-M won the title over Liverpool, with 36 points to the Warriors' 76. But Liverpool did hold off West Genesee (79 points) and Baldwinsville (81 points) for that runner-up spot.
As it turned out, three Liverpool runners, all seniors, dueled for two state meet berths, offered to top-five finishers outside F-M.
Alex Wilke and Anthony Brais won the battle for those spots, as Wilke took seventh place in 16 minutes, 47.1 seconds and Brais finished eighth, in 16:54.4. Chris Clemons was right behind them, ninth in 16:58.2, just 3.8 seconds away from advancing.
Colin Savage, far off his top form, had to settle for a 29th-place time of 18:00.1, just behind teammate Mychal Ostuni (17:48.6) in 27th place. Freshman Drew Henry was 32nd in 18:05 flat, with Anthony Ostuni 37th (18:15.6) and Brandon Rudd 38th in 18:18.8.
CNS, who was fifth in the boys AA team battle with 100 points, saw Chris Buchanan earn a trip to the state meet, the junior taking fourth place among individuals in 16:29.4. He joins Wilke, Brais, Shaun Thompson (B'ville) and Steve Houghmaster (West Genesee) on the All-Star roster.
Dan Fritz took 20th place for the Northstars in 17:40.6, while Eric Hart took 23rd place in 17:43.3. Jared Walther was 28th (17:53.1) and Ken Ryan 30th in 18:00.5, with Steve Rathbun (18:11.0) and Anthony Lupia (18:11.8) 34th and 35th, respectively.
Later that day, in the girls Class AA championship meet, CNS did manage to finish in second place, with 69 points, behind only the F-M juggernaut that produced the six fastest times of the day, including Courtney Chapman, who won in 18:30.2. Liverpool was fourth, with 101 points, as West Genesee (82 points) sneaked in between them to take third.