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Ryan, Smith run to state championship glory

F-M star sweeps mile, 3,200: CBA senior dominates steeplechase

— All through a glorious weekend at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium during the state track and field championships,, top local runners found their way to the finish line before anyone else got there.

By the time it was done, Fayetteville-Manlius senior Nick Ryan had two state titles, and Christian Brothers Academy senior Brendan Smith had a title, too. The Hornets also earned a victory in the girls 4x800 relay to provide a proper ending.

Ryan began his rampage in the 3,200-meter run on Friday night. He hung right behind Peru's Dan Lennon for the first two laps, took the lead by the end of the third lap and gradually pulled away from there.

In a time of nine minutes, 3.81 seconds, Ryan topped Lennon by 2.55 seconds, also claiming the Division I (large school) portion by nearly 10 seconds over Carmel's Eric Holt (9:13.51).

A day later, Ryan got his chance to duel with Liverpool's Zavon Watkins in the mile. Through three laps, the pair were neck-and-neck, but in the final lap Ryan pulled away and won in 4:05.24, exactly two seconds better than Watkins. Only one other runner, Horseheads' Brian Crimmins, broke 4:10 (4:09.65, to be exact).

Also on Saturday, Smith flourished in his showcase, the 3,000-meter steeplechase. It took only two laps for the CBA star to establish a comfortable lead, and he spent the next 2,000-plus meters adding to the margin, clearing hurdles and water jumps with comfortable ease.

With a time of 9:14.31, Smith easily finished ahead of the Division I champion, Plainedge's James Sommer, who had 9:21.16. He also claimed the Division II (small school) race by more than 10 seconds as Bainbridge-Guilford-Afton's Connor Fuller (9:24.62) was second there.

It was all capped by F-M's dominance in the girls 4x800 relay. The quartet of seniors Heather Martin and Katie Sischo and juniors Katie Brislin and Jillian Fanning roared to a time of 9:00.28, each of them running splits faster than 2:16 as the Hornets beat runner-up Shenendehowa (9:09.46) by more than nine seconds.

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