Consider the Liverpool cross country quartet of Ben Petrella, Dan Muldoon, Morgan Mahoney and Abby McNamara as newly-crowned state champions.
All of them went to Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet at Elma Meadows, near Buffalo, and helped Section III’s pair of All-Star teams go right to the top.
The scores were determined by taking the top 10 finishers from the combination of sectional All-Star squads and the runners in the team competition – which, in this case, meant Fayetteville-Manlius, who won the girls state Class A title and dropped the boys state meet by a single point to Saratoga Springs.
Adding all of this up, Section III beat Section II, 277 points to 312, for top honors on the boys side, and in the girls race the Section III runners had 197 points, again leaving Section II (233 points) in the runner-up spot.
In the boys race, Petrella, just a freshman, again showed his vast promise as, on a warm and ideal day for running, he covered the Elma Meadows course in 16 minutes, 4.1 seconds, which put him in 15th place. That wasn’t too far behind F-M’s Nick Ryan, who won the race in a course-record 15:07.9.
That put Petrella fourth among the sectional runners behind Ryan and his F-M teammate Bryce Millar, who along with Baldwinsville’s Alec Peinkofer all finished in the top 10.
Then it was Muldoon’s turn, as the Liverpool sophomore hit the finish line in 51st place in 16:38.4, just ahead of B’ville’s Josh Perez (16:50.2), but behind Rome Free Academy’s Erik Winberg (16:27.0), who was 43rd as the Section III team won it all.
Going to the girls Class A state race, it was up to Mahoney, a junior, and McNamara, a sophomore, to follow up on what F-M was doing when it grabbed six of the top 24 finishing spots on the way to yet another state title, with West Genesee’s Laura Leff, in 13th place (18:20.2), topping the individuals.
Mahoney would cross the finish line in 18 minutes, 49.5 seconds, putting her in 28th place in a field of 107. McNamara would quickly follow, and when she posted a 35th-place clocking of 18:58.5, the Section III side had prevailed.