All of the excitement for the Cicero-North Syracuse cross country teams centered around the success it achieved at last Saturday's Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
The girls Northstars were entered in the Varsity A division, just below the most prestigious level (Eastern States), but allowing it a chance to shine on its own - especially Maria LaMontagne.
Having not competed in a big meet all season, LaMontagne made the full impact in her debut. The freshman beat eating a field of nearly 100 runners with a time of 14 minutes, 44.50 seconds, nearly a full minute ahead of West Morris Mendham's Mackenzie Barry.
CNS, overall, was second in the team standings with 98 points behind West Chester, as Nicole Watterud claimed sixth place in 15:53.64 and Jacqlynn Halstead took 10th place in 16:11.19. Further back, Marissa Colburn was 36th in 17:01.39 and Katie Laris finished 45th (17:20.03), with Jessica Jelfo in 50th (17:31.69) and Mackenzie Cummings 68th in 17:59.67.
As for the boys Northstars, they ran in Varsity D, and Chris Buchanan nearly prevailed in that race with a time of 12:47.26, beaten only by John McGowan (Sidwell Friends), who won in 12:39.83.
Anthony Lupia claimed 28th place in 14:03.12, while Jared Walther was 30th in 14:04.76. Eric Hart took 35th place (14:09.41) as Ken Ryan worked his way to 42nd place in 14:19.25. Neil Gill was 52nd (14:30.66) as Alex Bottorff recorded a time of 14:57.54.
Both of the CNS teams had an easy time of it during last Wednesday's trip to Utica Proctor, routing the Raiders by similar margins - 15-50 for the boys, 15-49 for the girls.
For a week, Hart got to run out front for the boys Northstars as he won in 18 minutes, 20 seconds. Ryan (18:21), Lupia, Gill (18:22 each) and Buchanan (18:23) rounded out the top four.
And it continued with Anthony Mirizio, who finished seventh in 18:30 as Derek Helser took eighth place in 18:41. Colin Greenseich was ninth (18:44) as Kevin Cialfi (18:49) rounded out the top 10.
All the top CNS girls runners ran together, too, as Lori Holmes got to win the race in 22 minutes, 25 seconds. Jelfo was second in 22:26 as Halstead got third in 22:27. Right behind them, Kaitlin Donahue shared her time of 22:28 with Laris as Watterud and Colburn both hit the line in 22:29. Sarah Shannon was ninth in 22:34.