All through the month of September, the Cicero-North Syracuse cross country team kept matching up with West Genesee.
Each time -- whether at Jamesville Beach Park Sept. 11, or at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill a week later -- the girls Northstars would prevail, despite the individual title won by Wildcats freshman Laura Leff. But the CNS boys, despite the winning presence of Chris Buchanan, tasted defeat.
When they got together once more last Wednesday at Oneida Shores for their CNY Counties League showdown, the exact same thing took place. CNS earned a comfortable 17-43 victory in the girls match, but watched WG prevail 23-32 in the boys match.
One big difference here was that Leff did not run in the girls event, so the Northstars had an even greater advantage. Without Leff to chase down, Nicole Watterud easily took individual honors, crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 46 seconds.
Jacqlynn Halstead finished second, in 19:22, and Katie Laris (19:58) completed a 1-2-3 sweep before WG's Abby Kastick (20:03) put her team on the board.
Quickly, CNS resumed control, as Marissa Colburn finished fifth in 20:38 and Mackenzie Cummings, in sixth place (20:51), rounded out the scoring column. Further back, Kaitlin Donohoe was eighth in 21:06 and Micaela Donabella (21:25) was 10th.
Just as in the VVS meet, the boys race saw Buchanan fight off Wildcats star Billy Gabriel, as the CNS senior won in 15 minutes, 49 seconds and Gabriel (15:57) settled for second place.
But three Wildcat runners -- Martin Leff (16:03), John DeLallo (16:13) and Matt Byrnes (16:33) -- finished before Ken Ryan took sixth place in 16:35. Eric Hart (16:45) and Anthony Lupia (16:46) were seventh and eighth, respectively, with Neill Gill ninth in 16:51.
CNS would find more victories on Saturday, when they went to the Tully Invitational and competed against more than 15 opponents, large and small schools alike.