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The Blackwell Blog

Happy Hornets again

So naturally after enduring wind, various forms of precipitation, lots of mud and bone-chilling temperatures for the Section III meet at VVS, those that went to the state cross country meet at Elma Meadows, in the outskirts of Buffalo, got to run in sunshine and November warmth.

The state championship count for F-M's girls is at seven in a row, something it wants to repeat at the national level a few weeks from now.

In 2011, the Hornets did this by sweeping the top five individual spots. It wasn't that one-sided this time, with Alana Pearl, Annika Avery and Mary Barger going eighth through 10th, but F-M concentrated on team scores, and it worked, since the still-not-at-full-strength Jillian Fanning, Katie Brislin and Jenna Farrell all had top-25 finishes, too.

You want ridiculous domination? Go to the boys race, and to F-M's own Nick Ryan. As he waited to run, he saw Marcellus senior Ryan Manahan cap off a brilliant senior campaign by setting an Elma Meadows course record, winning the state Class B title in 15:30.6.

Properly motivated, Ryan followed that by going 15:07.9, beating the field by more than 21 seconds, with teammate Bryce Millar. Yet even that wasn't enough to upend Saratoga Springs, who won the big prize 57 points to the Hornets' 58. To be continued in Portland at the Nike Nationals, right?

The CNY crowd had lots of reason to feel good, beyond Ryan, Manahan and the F-M girls. There was Jordan-Elbridge's Abby Gugel finishing second in the Class C girls race by a mere 1.8 seconds to Rye Neck's Natalie Tanner, with CBA's Megan Ann Pierce and Skaneateles' Kaitlyn Neal also in the top 10.

Fabius-Pompey's Erin McConnell, who spent the entire autumn conquering large-school fields, had to settle for fourth place in the state Class D race, two spots ahead of South Lewis' Victoria Campanian.

Tully nabbed a second-place finish among Class C girls teams, with Campanian's Falcons third in Class D. Boys teams did well, too, with Hannibal (in Class C) and Beaver River (in Class D) both rising to third place, the race including a seventh-place run from Sauquoit Valley's Nick Spina.

They were still in the regional round in volleyball last weekend. And it was a fun time for Baldwinsville, who advanced both teams to the state tournament in Glens Falls. The boys Bees are a first-time participant, fresh off a four-set win over Horseheads.

Not so with the girls Bees, who won it all in 2010, nearly did so again in 2011 and are dead-set on two out of three in 2012 after sweeping Shenendehowa in a regional where all three sets were close.

Then there's Skaneateles, who petitioned to move up from Class C to B this fall for one reason only, to get the heck away from Eden, the perennial state champion from Section VI who got rid of Cazenovia this time around. It all paid off because these Lakers toppled Olean and, as a result, gets a taste of Glens Falls and a chance at a state championship.

So will Liverpool's field hockey team, who will return to C-NS's Bragman Stadium this Saturday for a state semifinal against Niskayuna. Of course, it helped that the Warriors had a regional bye, a good news/bad new thing - good that Liverpool got this far, bad that it has to go 14 days between games. How can they possibly be sharp?

At least Liverpool made it. Cazenovia is not, its two-year state Class C championship reign and 40-game win streak a victim of a great opponent and unfortunate circumstances.

Greene, a six-time state champion in Class A, moved down two classes to C this fall, just in time to shut down the Lakers and thoroughly dominate a 4-0 regional final. That, paired with East Syracuse-Minoa's defeat to Maine-Endwell by that same 4-0 margin, leaves Liverpool as the lone Section III entry in the state final four, similar to CBA football.

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