In large part, the story that emerged from Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association cross country meet at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill was how close two local runners came to earning top honors.
Marcellus junior Ryan Manahan was the runner-up in the boys Class B event, and West Genesee sophomore Laura Leff had the same finish in the girls Class A race.
Manahan was, of course, part of a larger effort for the boys Mustangs, who vied for state honors but had to settle for fifth place, with 125 points, as East Aurora (52 points) won it all.
Quickly, though, team matters were cast aside as Manahan tried to chase down Peru’s Dan Lennon over the tough, muddy 3.2-mile VVS course. He nearly did so as Manahan, in 17 minutes, 1.7 seconds, crossed the line just 6.3 seconds behind Lennon, who won in 16:55.1.
As to the other Mustang runners, senior Joe Fallon was 47th, in 18:17.4, while fellow seniors John Bell (18:30.7) and David Lilly (18:32.7) were 58th and 61st, respectively. Junior Justin Garn, in 64th place (18:35.0), rounded out the scoring as sophomore Alex Zamojski (20:09.1) and junior Ben Powers (20:47.8) followed.
Meanwhile, in the girls Class A race, it proved a repeat of the Section III final, where Leff would outclass everyone in the field except Fayetteville-Manlius junior Jillian Fanning. Leff finished in 19 minutes, 33.6 seconds, holding off F-M’s Katie Sischo (19:35.0) for the runner-up spot, but far off Rutledge’s winning time of 18:53.8.
From a team standpoint, Westhill/Bishop Ludden was seventh out of 11 entrants in the Class B team event, with 183 points, as North Shore won easily with 33 points.
Individually, Marcellus sophomore Rachel Garn, with her 17th-place time of 20:44.9, beat all of the Westhill/Ludden competitors, as Betsy Black led them by going to 28th place in 21:07.7.
Emily Washburn grabbed 45th place, in 21:37 flat, while Jessica Curry was 64th, exactly 20 seconds behind Washburn in 21:57. Erin Morrell (22:39.9), Erin Christensen (24:24.6), Caroline Coates (25:10.0) and Caroline Black (26:02.3) followed as Marcellus junior Molly McGuane finished in 24:08.7.
West Genesee’s Martin Leff also ran well, earning 27th place in the boys Class A event in a time of 17:43.0 where F-M’s Nick Ryan won in 16:28.4. Solvay’s Cody McCarthy had a nice showing in the Class C boys race, getting to 21st place in 18:11.6 as CBA’s Brendan Smith (16:59.4) won that event.