The whole notion of a large-scale, high-profile cross country meet where the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team is not the team on top seemed crazy – at least until the Hornets ran in Saturday’s McQuaid Invitational at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester.
Accustomed to endless winning, F-M, in the Seeded Varsity AAA race, ran up against Unionville, a Pennsylvania school located west of Philadelphia determined to be giant-killers.
And for one day, the giant was slain. The Hornets picked up 79 points, beating 16 other teams – but not Unionville, who won with 45 points as it claimed five of the top 15 spots, led by Courtney Smith, who won the race in a blazing 16 minutes, 46.2 seconds.
No one on F-M could keep up with Smith as Annika Avery, in a time of 17:13.8, finished sixth. Alana Pearl was 12th, in 17:39.3, just ahead of Jenna Farrell (17:53.1) in 13th place. Megan Menz was 19th (18:26.3) and Reilly Madsen, in 29th place (18:45.8), rounded out the scoring column. Jessica Howe was 35th (18:59.3), five spots ahead of Olivia Ryan (19:05.1) in 40th place.
Meanwhile, a tremendous battle developed between state no. 1-ranked F-M and no. 3-ranked Liverpool in the boys seeded AAA race, previewing what could happen in the Nov. 2 Section III meet at Jamesville Beach Park.
The Warriors got close, but the Hornets, led by Bryce Millar and Andrew Berge’, prevailed, getting 62 points to Liverpool’s 66 as no one else in the 18-team field was close.
Millar, with his time of 14 minutes, 45.1 seconds, finished second to Rush-Henrietta’s Mickey Burke, who won in 14:25 flat, while Berge’ got to fourth place (third among scoring runners) with his time of 14:55.2.
Two Liverpool runners, Ben Petrella (sixth, 15:02.6) and Dan Muldoon (ninth, 15:14.1), followed, but Adam Hunt got to 10th place in the points standings, 12th overall, in 15:17 flat, three spots better than the Warriors’ Connor Buck (15:20.7).