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F-M girls run to another state cross country title

Ryan snares individual title with course-record 15:07.9

Once more, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team has proud possession of the state Class A championship, and has much more in mind.

The Hornets fought off the challenge of Saratoga Springs in Saturday's state meet at Elma Meadows, near Buffalo, while Nick Ryan sped his way to the boys state championship with the day's best time.

Even with Ryan's heroics, F-M fell just short of repeating its state boys championship. After edging Rush-Henrietta by a single point in 2011, the Hornets, with 58 points, had to settle for the runner-up spot by that same single point as Saratoga got first place with 57 points.

No one could catch Ryan, though. The F-M senior was dominant, tearing through the Elma Meadows course in 15 minutes, 7.9 seconds, well clear of Rush-Henrietta's Mickey Burke, who was second in 15:29.7.

In going 1-2, Ryan and Burke both broke the Elma Meadows course record set earlier in the event when Marcellus' Ryan Manahan won the state Class B championship in 15:30.6.

Ryan's teammate, Bryce Millar, rolled to fourth place in 15:40.8. But all five of Saratoga's top runners would cross the line before the Hornets' third competitor, Colin Fitzgibbons, did so in 30th place in 16:16.1, one place behind Saratoga's Gavin Gaynor.

Even though Connor Farrell quickly followed in 32nd place in 16:18 flat and Adam Hunt (16:19.1) finished 33rd, the Hornets still fell just short. Charlie Beeler finished 73rd, in 17:02.5, two spots ahead of Riley Hughes (17:08.1) at the line.

But it was different in the girls meet, where F-M picked up 32 points, comfortably ahead of Saratoga, who got closer to the Hornets than in 2011, but still settled for the second spot with 56 points.

Right away, the F-M girls settled on a strategy where its top three runners - Alana Pearl, Annika Avery and Mary Barger - would stick close to each other, even as Warwick Valley's Megan Reilly sped to the individual championship in a time of 17 minutes, 34.3 seconds and Saratoga's Taylor Driscoll finished fourth in 17:46.4.

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