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XC girls still running strong

Michelle Karker, right, and Megan Stanford finish consecutively in 37th and 38th place (17:20, 17:21) to help the Lakers to a strong eighth place finish at the massive Manhattan Invitational on Oct. 9, the first of three big races last week.

Michelle Karker, right, and Megan Stanford finish consecutively in 37th and 38th place (17:20, 17:21) to help the Lakers to a strong eighth place finish at the massive Manhattan Invitational on Oct. 9, the first of three big races last week. Kurt Wheeler

— The Cazenovia girls varsity cross country team packed three huge races into a seven-day period last week as they continue to show why they’re one of the top programs in New York state.

The Lady Lakers, currently ranked number seven in the NYS Class C standings, raced in New York City, battled at home and tuned up on the Section III championship course at Jamesville Beach.

On Oct. 9, the Lakers travelled to New York City where they competed in the Manhattan Invitational, the largest cross country meet in the east with nearly 9,000 runners from 400 schools representing 15 states and Canada.

Cazenovia earned an impressive eighth-place finish among 32 teams in the Varsity E race, which featured a powerful field including number one (Class C) state-ranked Bronxville.

Jeanette Cudney led the Lakers with a speedy 16:42 clocking on the 2.5 mile course. Margaret Wolsey had her fastest race ever (17:16, 87 speed rating) to claim second followed closely by Michelle Karker (17:20) and Megan Stanford (17:21). Rae Tobey capped the Lakers’ scoring with a 17:53 effort, followed closely by Malone Gabor in 17:57.

The Lady Lakers returned home to defend the OHSL Liberty title on Oct. 12 against the powerful merged Westhill-Bishop Ludden squad. Despite running one of their best races of the season, the girls couldn’t overcome the combined strength of the visitors, falling 25-30; their first dual meet loss in two years. Jessica Curry and Betsy Black of Bishop Ludden went 1-2 followed by Emily Washburn of Westhill.

The Laker pack claimed the next five consecutive places for their score of 30, but the damage was done. Michelle Karker ran the best race of her career to take fourth in 19:41. She was followed by Cudney (19:50), Stanford (20:04), Gabor (20:12) and Margaret Wolsey (20:37). Erin Morrell of Ludden and Erin Christensen of Westhill captured ninth and tenth to complete their team’s scoring.

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