Dec 04, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
And so the cross country dynasty continues at Fayetteville-Manlius.
For the fifth consecutive year, the girls Hornets, under the guidance of coaches Bill and John Aris, took on all the top programs in the United States and beat them – handily, in this case – as it once again prevailed at the Nike Cross Nationals Saturday in Portland, Ore.
Not only that, but F-M’s boys team, completing a late-season surge, finished second in its portion of the Nike Nationals – a performance that, just a couple of weeks earlier, seemed close to unimaginable.
Running again as the Manlius XC Club (teams are not allowed to run under their own school name), the F-M girls easily dismissed the challenges of 21 opponents. It finished with 27 points, well clear of Saratoga Springs (Kinetic XC Club), who was a distant runner-up with 104 points.
Those 27 points shattered the previous meet record of 51, which Saratoga set in winning the 2004 Nike Nationals, two years before F-M’s run started.
Perhaps it helped that the conditions were quite familiar to anyone with a Central New York background – cold temperatures (around 40 degrees), winds reaching 25 miles per hour. Accustomed to this climate, F-M proceeded with its latest milestone effort.
Three Hornet runners finished among the top six. Junior Christie Rutledge, who won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association individual championship on Nov. 13, earned second place in this event in a time of 18 minutes, 21.4 seconds.
Rutledge led most of the race, only passed in the final mile by Texas runner Rachel Johnson, who would prevail in 18:18.6, just 3.2 seconds better than Rutledge. Still, Rutledge was tops among all team participants, and foretold further F-M success on this day.
Not far behind, junior Katie Sischo made her way to fourth place, in 18:49.7, while sophomore Jillian Fanning’s sixth-place clocking of 18:51.7 pushed F-M further out in front as Sischo and Fanning were second and fourth, respectively, among the team runners.
Another junior, Heather Martin, was next, working her way to 16th place (eighth in the team standings) in 19:12.2. And when senior Courtney Chapman crossed the finish line in 29th place (12th team) in 19:37 flat, F-M’s fifth national championship was secure.
Two more Hornets were present, as junior Emily McGurrin took 96th place in 20:39.1 and sophomore Katie Brislin, close behind McGurrin, was 107th in 20:46.8. All of F-M’s place-finishers were done by the time Saratoga got its first runner home.
As for the boys race, F-M was not expected to win. But it had a lot of confidence following its New York/Northeast Regional victory on Nov. 27 at Bowdoin Park, and that did not dissipate a week later in Oregon.
This version of the Manlius XC Club produced 135 points, easily clear of Columbus, Ind. (165 points) and 19 other teams for the runner-up spot. Only Arcadia, from California, did better as it won the Nike National meet with 92 points.
It was senior Mark McGurrin providing F-M’s lead, as he worked his way to 17th place (seventh among team runners) with his time of 16 minutes, 45.4 seconds. Running together, senior Andrew Roache and sophomore Nick Ryan both were timed in 16:52.5, though Roache finished 27th and Ryan 28th.
Senior Andrew Veilleux was 47th in the team event, and 87th overall, in 17:40 flat. Junior Ben Thomas earned 58th place among team runners in 17:46.5 to round out the scoring as junior Jules Wellner finished in 18:02.9 and senior Eric Billinson had a time of 18:05.6.
What makes the F-M’s girls’ championship feat all the more remarkable was that it had just one senior, Chapman, among its top seven runners. So it will be favored again in 2011 to sweep every state and national honor in front of them – just as it did in 2010, and the four years prior to that, too.
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