Everything the Fayetteville-Manlius track and field team accomplished did this spring built up toward the twin triumphs pulled off at the June 18-19 New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.
The girls Hornets' 4x800 relay team won a thrilling national final with a furious finish, and a day later Alex Hatz capped off his high school career with a victory in the mile.
First came the girls 4x800 on June 18. Both F-M and Garden City, from Long Island, were entered, just as they were in the state championship meet on June 12 at Vestal where Garden City edged the Hornets by less than a second.
Going first, senior Hannah Luber ran a 2:16.68 leg, followed by sophomore Katie Sischo running a 2:11.43 leg as F-M slowly made its way from seventh place to third in Sischo's portion.
Senior Mackenzie Carter made up the rest of the ground in the third leg, going 2:10.48 and setting up a showdown between Syracuse University-bound senior Molly Malone and Garden City's anchor, Katie O'Neill, just like the state meet.
Through most of the last leg, Malone and O'Neill ran close to each other, but in the final 100 meters Malone pulled out in front and hit the tape with a three-meter edge, having closed in 2:08.08 to O'Neill's 2:08.74.
F-M's total time of eight minutes, 46.98 seconds shattered the school, Section III and state records, with Garden City also breaking the state mark in its second-place effort.
Then it was Hatz's turn in the mile. Having secured the state championship seven days earlier, the Wisconsin-bound senior followed his F-M female counterparts, at least in terms of strategy, and did so for a longer period of time.
Through three laps, Hatz laid back, staying in seventh place, with splits of 1:04.57 (first lap), 2:09.14 (second lap) and 3:12.0 (third lap) as he waited to strike in hot, humid conditions in Greensboro.
Sure enough, the moment the bell sounded for the final lap, Hatz took off. Zooming past all six runners in front of him in just 56.06 seconds, Hatz hit the finish line in 4:08.09, just ahead of California runner Elias Gedyon (4:08.42).
Malone, Carter, Heather Martin and Courtney Chapman would also work together in the distance medley relay as F-M finished fourth in 11:44.19.