Even on its home course, and even with the best individual runners on the course, the West Genesee cross country teams could not quite pull off a sweep in last Wednesday's meet against Liverpool, falling two points short of that goal.
The boys part proved simple enough, as the Wildcats seized the top four slots and dominated the Warriors in a 17-38 decision at Camillus Middle School, but a close girls meet saw Liverpool come out on top by a slim 28-29 margin.
To counter Liverpool's strategy, WG's top boys runners stuck together in a pack to assure of a victory. Thus, when Matt Byrnes crossed the line in a winning time of 17 minutes, 47 seconds, Billy Gabriel and Martin Leff were second in 17:48 and John DeLallo was fourth in 17:49.
Two Liverpool runners, Zach Crosby and Brandon Rudd (both finished in 17:57) followed, but Matt Gonnella, with his time of 18:01, beat the Warriors' Anthony Ostuni by nine seconds and clinched the Wildcats' victory.
In the much closer girls meet, there was little doubt on the individual side as Laura Leff, fresh off her McQuaid Invitational victory, won this race in a clocking of 20:07, well clear of Liverpool's Rachel Putman (20:33) in second place.
With Anna Leo finishing third in 20:48 and Abby Kastick taking fourth place (20:52), the Wildcats needed just one more high finish to sweep - but the Warriors put the next five runners across the line before Amy Hannahan (22:10), snatching the win in the process.
On Saturday, WG ran in the prestigious Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where in the big race, the Eastern States, Laura Leff finished 10th out of a field of 107 top girls runners in a time of 15:03.69, the best effort of any ninth-grader in the field. Leo had the Wildcats' next-best time of 17:11.60.
The boys Wildcats, without Gabriel in the lineup, were 13th in the Eastern States, where Martin Leff finished 28th in 13:21.15 and DeLallo finished 40th in 13:30.77.