If it’s the first weekend of December, that must mean the Fayetteville-Manlius cross country teams are in Oregon, going up against the best in the United States.
The Hornets’ latest appearance at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland was set up by Saturday’s performance in the New York and Northeast Nike Cross Regionals, held at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.
On the same course where the New York State Federation race took place a week earlier, the F-M girls, running as the Manlius XC Club, held off Federation champion Saratoga Springs, competing as the Kinetic Running Club.
F-M (or Manlius) had 43 points, to Kinetic’s total of 57 points, a closer result than when the Hornets dominated Saratoga, and everyone else, in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill on Nov. 12. North Shore, the state Class B champions, was third with 87 points.
Jillian Fanning dominated the individual race, the F-M junior finishing in 17 minutes, 47.4 seconds to prevail as no other competitor even broke the 18-minute mark on the 5,000-meter Bowdoin Park course.
Senior Katie Sischo was sixth in the race (fourth among team runners) in 18:45.7, with junior Hanna Smith close behind in seventh place (fifth team) a time of 18:50.9.
Sophomore Alana Pearl (19:25.5) and junior Katie Brislin (19:27 flat) were 21st and 22nd, respectively, but grabbed the 16th and 17th team slots to help F-M hold off Saratoga. Eighth-grader Jenna Farrell finished in 19:37 flat for 29th place, while freshman Annika Avery was 40th in 19:55.4.
Over in the boys Nike regional race at Bowdoin Park, F-M had to settle for second place behind Federation champion Shaker, one of the sides it beat at VVS, though both sides, along with Rush-Henrietta and St. Anthony’s, advanced to the national meet.