Setting out on the long path that leads to the Nike Nationals in Oregon early in December, the Fayetteville-Manlius cross country teams left everyone else far behind during Saturday's CNY Counties League championship meet at Jamesville Beach Park.
The girls Hornets, expecting nothing less than another national title, took a generous approach to its latest victory, sitting out two of its best runners, Katie Sischo and Katie Brislin, so that some others could feel the excitement of a varsity race.
And F-M still took care of the winning part without any trouble, sweeping the top four positions and, with 16 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Cicero-North Syracuse (59 points) and the rest of the field.
Jillian Fanning led the sweep at the top. Fanning's time of 17 minutes, 4.8 seconds was enough to hold off Christie Rutledge (17:07.9) by 3.1 seconds, and both were far ahead of the chasing pack as Heather Martin finished third (17:48.8) and Courtney Chapman took fourth place in 17:53 flat.
Maggie Malone landed in sixth place in 18:48.1 to round out the scoring column, as only the work of Cicero-North Syracuse freshman Maria LaMontagne (18:00.5) prevented a total sweep. Emily McGurrin was eight in 19:04.3 as Leah Monsour got to 11th place (19:42.3) and Alana Pearl was 15th, in 20:09.9.
The boys CNYCL meet at Jamesville Beach also featured F-M overwhelming the rest of the field. Half of the top 18 finishers were Hornets, and it led to a total of 27 points as Baldwinsville (60 points) settled for second place and CNS (70 points) took third.
Behind the Bees' Shaun Thompson (15:37.4) and the Northstars' Chris Buchanan (15:45.6), Nick Ryan led a parade of F-M stars as he took third place in a clocking of 15:48.3. Mark McGurrin followed, getting fourth place in 16:08.9, with Andrew Roache fifth in 16:16.8 and Andrew Veilleux sixth in 16:30.2.
Eric Billinson stepped up to claim ninth place in 16:37.9. Ben Thomas, in 11th place (16:41.9), and Owen Strong, in 12th place (16:49.6), were just ahead of Jules Wellner, who ran his way to 13th in 16:50.8. Connor Farrell finished 18th in 17:10.6.
F-M's next step in the post-season comes when it goes to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill for Saturday's Section III Class AA championship meet. The girls race is at 11 a.m., with the boys setting off at 12:30.