For a long time, the Liverpool boys cross country team has aimed at reaching the high pedestal that Fayetteville-Manlius has occupied and controlled.
Those two sides got together Saturday in the featured Varsity AAA race of the McQuaid Invitational at Genesee Valley Park near Rochester, and quickly separated themselves from the rest of the 18-team field.
The state Class A no. 3-ranked Warriors finished with 66 points, just behind the top-ranked Hornets, who won with 62 points, and giving everyone something to look forward to when they clash again Nov. 2 in the Section III meet at Jamesville Beach Park.
Liverpool was forced to catch up after F-M teammates Bryce Millar (14:45.1) and Andrew Berge’(14:55.2) finished second and third, respectively. Ben Petrella led the Warriors with a sixth-place time of 15 minutes, 2.6 seconds as Dan Muldoon finished ninth in 15:14.1.
As it turned out, the top-10 finishes of Millar, Berge’ and Adam Hunt (who was 10th in 15:17 flat) gave F-M enough of a cushion against Liverpool’s deep roster. Connor Buck finished 13th, in 15:20.7, with Alex Christensen 16th in 15:29.8 and Nick LeClair (15:41.5) in 22nd place to round out the scoring column. Behind them, Dylan McCarthy was 28th, in 15:52.6, and Sean Brais (16:14.3) was 48th.
Liverpool’s girls cross country team, no. 12 in the state Class A rankings, finished eighth in its Varsity AAA race at McQuaid with 227 points, while F-M, the reigning seven-time national champions, suffered a rare defeat, second (79 points) to Unionville (45 points), from Pennsylvania.
Morgan Mahoney led the Warriors’ efforts, finishing 32nd in a time of 18:54.7, with Juliana Basla 37th in 18:59.8 and Maia Henry (19:04.7) taking 39th place. Abby McNamara was 53rd (19:27.2) and Morgan Chewning-Kulick 66th (19:48.0) as Kristina Moore (20:43.8) and Jillian Stagnitta (20:48.6) finished further back.