Quickly shaking off the disappointment of a second-place team finish in the Section III Class AA championship meet on Nov. 2, four members of the Liverpool boys cross country team gave the best possible response.
The quartet – juniors Dan Muldoon and Connor Buck, sophomore Ben Petrella and senior Alex Christensen – all stepped up and, in Saturday’s state championship meet at Queensbury High School, helped Section III win the team championship in Class A.
And they weren’t the only local winners. Two of Liverpool’s top girls runners, junior Abby McNamara and senior Morgan Mahoney, joined Cicero-North Syracuse senior Jacqlynn Halstead as Section III won team honors on that side, too, in the shadow of the Adirondacks.
No doubt, what helped motivate Liverpool was running alongside the same Fayetteville-Manlius side that beat the Warriors at Jamesville Beach Park and would go on to take yet another state title in the team portion of the event.
Muldoon led the way, getting to eighth place in a field of 108 runners with his time of exactly 15 minutes, 25 seconds, not far from the battle at the top, where F-M’s Bryce Millar, in 15:06.3, held off Northport’s Mike Branigan (15:06.6) and Rush-Henrietta’s Mickey Burke (15:07.3) for the individual state championship.
And just behind Muldoon, Petrella also had a terrific race, taking 12th place in 15:28.4, while Buck recorded a 16th-place time of 15:35.4. Christensen made his way to 27th place in 15:53.6, just behind Utica Proctor’s Zakaria Adam, who was 22nd in 15:48.7 to help round out the winning Section III “All-Star” squad.
The good times continued in the girls state Class A race two hours later. Section III, with 265 points, won a close battle with Section V (295 points) at the top, even though the F-M girls, with 31 points, easily got away from Saratoga Springs (67 points) for yet another state team crown.
McNamara, amid a field of 107 runners, stood out, her time of 18 minutes, 20.3 seconds putting her in 18th place, not far from the winning 17:23.5 put up by Warwick Valley’s Megan Reilly.
As for Mahoney, she made her way to 62nd place, in 19:26.1, four spots ahead of Halstead, who finished in 19:29.3. For the sectional All-Star squad, West Genesee’s Laura Leff finished 21st (18:27.1), three places behind McNamara, while Baldwinsville's Marissa Lathrop (19:47.3) rounded out the field.