At the end of a tumultuous week for the Marcellus girls cross country team, Rachel Garn gave everyone a reason to put the focus back on the runners themselves.
Garn made her way to first place in the girls division at Saturday’s Bill Coughlin Invitational in Rome, also helping the Mustangs to a fifth-place team finish in a 14-team field.
No one in the field got close to Garn, who pulled away in the early stages and kept stretching out that lead until crossing the line in 18 minutes, 42.46 seconds, more than a minute ahead of Cooperstown’s Kristin Ratliff (19:45.05) at the line.
Behind Garn, Eliza Bell got to 12th place in 20:52.68, while Emily Townsend finished 23rd in 21:32.58. Dominique Weeks was 35th (21:59.43) as Brianna Szczech (23:34.62) Tori Stopen (24:52.74), Shannon Twombly (26:28.05) and Hannah Burns (27:39.68) followed.
Finishing in sixth in the boys race at Rome, Marcellus had Pat McGuane get to ninth place in 17:03.37, with Alex Stopen 13th in 17:24.02. Alex Zamojski had a 29th-place time of 18:04.34, with Steve Larison 33rd (18:22.14), followed by Kevin Pierce (19:00.11), Matt Strempel (19:05.11) and Michael Brown (19:09.96).
As they do each October, a large contingent of area cross country teams go to New York City, perhaps to take in the sights during the long Columbus Day weekend, but also to compete against the best in the Northeast at the Manhattan Invitational.
The race, held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, covers just 4,000 meters, or 2.5 miles, shorter than the 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) distance faced most weeks, but something that West Genesee and Jordan-Elbridge tried to adjust to.
Laura Leff paced the Wildcats in the girls varsity E race, where she made her way to sixth place in 15 minutes, 28.8 seconds, not that far behind Haddonfield’s Briana Gess, who won in 14:28.9. Elise Dunshee, in 16:58.3, was just ahead of Maria Matkowski (16:59.1), with Alicia Sakran (17:32.8) and Rachel Flynn (18:01.1) further back.