Manahan, Curry win season-opening races

Marcellus, Westhill cross country stars top strong fields

— In two far-flung venues on Saturday, local cross country runners set out for the first time in 2011 and found immediate success, especially on the individual side.

Marcellus junior Ryan Manahan was victorious over a field of more than 150 at the East Syracuse-Minoa Invitational, while Westhill/Bishop Ludden’s Jessica Curry earned her own title at the New Hartford Invitational.

On the Pine Grove Junior High School course at ESM, Manahan gradually got clear of Baldwinsville junior Alec Peinkofer and hit the finish line in 16 minutes, 23.1 seconds, beating Peinkofer by 6.2 seconds. Mustangs senior Joe Fallon was also strong, taking fourth place in 16:52.7.

It nearly was a Marcellus sweep of the individual titles. Sophomore Rachel Garn had a real shot in the girls race, only to have Victoria Campanian (South Lewis) beat her by less than a second in 20:08.4 to Garn’s 20:09.1.

Still, it was B’ville winning the team title, leaving the Mustangs fourth with 127 points, while Jordan-Elbridge was sixth with 165 points.

For Marcellus, Justin Garn was 19th in 18:21.5, just behind the Eagles’ top performer, Jack Gugel, who got 18th place in 18:20.2. J-E’s Mitch Alpha took 27th place (18:38.5), with teammate Dylan Wittico in 49th place and the Mustangs’ Alex Zamjoski in 57th. J-E’s Ben Cheney finished 62nd.

Moving to the girls side at ESM, Marcellus just missed a runner-up finish on the team side with 90 points, one point worse than second-place Cazenovia (89 points) as B’ville won here, too, with 66 points. J-E, with 331 points, was 13th in the 17-team field.

Aside from Garn’s push for the title, junior Maggie Dunn stood out, finishing fourth in 20:20.7, while fellow junior Molly McGuane grabbed 10th place in 21:21.1. Eliza Bell (23:04.9) was 31st, with Jenny Linn 50th and Nadia Bennacer 59th. Brianna Byrnes (24:40.7), Kerry Mack (25:08.4) and Natalie Emerick (25:19.0) had J-E’s top efforts.

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