Two Baldwinsville cross country runners - one with lots of experience, the other just getting used to the whole deal - are on their way to compete in the state championships.
Shaun Thompson, a senior, got there by winning last Saturday's Section III Class AA race at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, while eighth-grader Rachael Miller earned the same honor in the girls sectional event.
Thompson was fresh off his victory in the CNY Counties League championship meet at Jamesville Beach on Oct. 30, and was eager to take on all of AA's top runners once more.
Soon enough, the race turned into a duel between Thompson and, leading the chase pack, Fayetteville-Manlius senior Mark McGurrin. But Thompson had too much and crossed the line in a time of 16:00.7, the fastest time of the entire sectional meet, as he beat McGurrin by 6.7 seconds.
Thompson joined Chris Buchanan (Cicero-North Syracuse), Billy Gabriel, John DeLallo (both from West Genesee) and Trevor Mayer (Central Square) on the Section III All-Stars as they head for Lakeside Park in Pawling, east of Poughkeepsie, for Saturday's state meet.
Meanwhile, in the girls AA race, Miller stood out amid the usual onrush of competitors from F-M, the nation's no. 1-ranked team, who had nine of the top 13 finishers.
Miller took 11th place in 19 minutes, 49.8 seconds. But since she was fourth among runners outside of F-M, she earned a spot on the same All-Star squad as Thompson that will be going to Pawling.
She joins a strong (and very young) quintet that includes two freshmen, West Genesee's Laura Leff and CNS's Maria LaMontagne, and two sophomores, CNS's Nicole Waterrud and Liverpool's Ashley Letteney.
In the boys Class AA meet, B'ville had 101 points, taking third place. Defending state champion Fayetteville-Manlius won with 31 points, as West Genesee and CNS manned the second and third spots.