Nov 25, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A seventh consecutive national championship beckons for the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team as it makes yet another pilgrimage to Portland for the Nike Cross Nationals.
They’ll have company, too, as the F-M boys, led again by Nick Ryan, also emerged victorious from Saturday’s Nike New York Regional qualifier, held last Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.
As in seasons past, F-M again skipped the Nov. 17 state Federation meet, also held at Bowdoin Park, to get two full weeks of practice in the books.
In particular, the boys Hornets needed the work, having dropped a dramatic one-point decision to Saratoga Springs in the Nov. 10 state Class A meet at Elma Meadows.
Together, F-M’s top form showed up at Bowdoin Park, the Hornets, running as Manlius XC, beat Saratoga, competing as Kinetic Running Club, 86 points to 98 for the regional championship. St. Anthony’s was third with 137 points.
Again, Ryan ran wild. The F-M senior, who shattered the Elma Meadows course record at the state meet, set a new mark here, too, as his time of 15 minutes, 27 seconds was the fastest ever seen in the dozens of big races held at Bowdoin Park, as he shattered the course record by nine seconds. Ryan’s winning margin over Mickey Burke was 25.4 seconds.
Now the rest of the Hornets had to match Ryan’s all-out effort, and did so, starting with Bryce Millar, who was eighth (sixth among team runners) in 16:08.9.
Connor Farrell got to 17th place in the team race (28th overall) in 16:38.1, while Colin Fitzgibbons gained 28th palce (40th overall) in 16:47.1 and Adam Hunt, in 16:54.2 (34th team, 48th overall) rounded out the scoring column.
It was the combination of Ryan and Millar’s top-10 runs and the solid finishes from Farrell, Fitzgibbons and Hunt, neutralizing the points from Saratoga, that led to victory. Charlie Beeler (17:23.4) and Riley Hughes (17:41.0) also had solid runs.
Just as they had done in the state Class A meet two weeks earlier, the four top F-M girls stuck together, which proved too much for the 15 other teams in the field as, with 28 points, the Hornets prevailed over Saratoga (59 points) for the victory.
Essentially, Katie Brislin, Alana Pearl, Annika Avery and Jillian Fanning kept together, finishing within 2.4 seconds of each other.
Brislin, in 18 minutes, 48.4 seconds, was seventh overall and third in the team race. Pearl gained a time of 18:50.1, inches ahead of Avery (18:50.2) and Fanning (18:50.8), which led to fourth, fifth and sixth-place efforts in the team race and seventh, eighth and ninth place runs overall.
Mary Barger closed out the victory, getting 10th in the team race (20th overall) in 19:01.6. Close behind her, Jenna Farrell earned 15th in the team race (29th overall) in 19:11 flat, with Michelle Duffy needing 19:30.5 to get 21st among team runners and 41st overall.
Now it remains to be seen if this strong F-M girls group snares a seventh national title in Portland, with Ryan determined to do the same in front of the boys Hornets making the same 2,200-plus mile trip for its most important race of the season.