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.