Dec 02, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Seven cross country girls from Fayetteville-Manlius went to Oregon in pursuit of the program’s seventh consecutive national championship, and got it.
Best of all, there was nothing lucky about this seventh title – just pure, unfiltered excellence from a team accustomed to attaining glory when it matters most.
This latest edition of the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland was run under bright sunshine, but that did not match the conditions.
A large amount of rain had fallen in the week leading up to the Nationals, leaving the Portland Meadows Race Track a sea of mud. That’s exactly what the F-M girls wanted, having practiced so much in less-than-perfect conditions amid Central New York’s changing climate.
So, racing as Manlius XC, the Hornets proceeded to romp through the muck and leave 21 challengers far behind them. F-M finished with 54 points, far ahead of the runner-up, Southlake Carroll (Texas), who with 198 points edged out Carmel (Ind.), who had 209 points to finish third.
As had been the case throughout the post-season, F-M’s runners stuck close to each other. Of the top 20 competitors in the team event, five were Hornets, all of them finding peak form right at the end of the year, just as their predecessors had done.
Jillian Fanning was seventh among team runners (21st overall) in a time of 20 minutes, 12 seconds, just ahead of teammate Mary Barger, who was seventh (22nd overall) in 20:13.
Katie Brislin was close behind them, getting to 29th place overall in 20:22. Alana Pearl was strong, too, as she finished in 20:29, while Jenna Farrell clinched the team title with her time of 20:51. Annika Avery posted a time of 20:57 as Michelle Duffy crossed the line in 21:44.
Going into the Nike Nationals, the F-M boys team was not considered one of the favorites – but state Class A champion Nick Ryan had the expectation of challenging in the individual race.
Some early trouble, though, forced the Hornets senior into a catch-up mode, and given that, Ryan did quite well, finishing in 15th place in 17 minutes, 37 seconds. Sam Wharton won the race in 17:06, barely half a minute ahead of Ryan.
F-M’s boys, also running as Manlius XC, claimed 16th out of 22 teams with 372 points as Arcadia, from California, went to the top with 108 points, holding off American Fork (Utah), who was second with 122 points.
Behind Ryan, F-M got its best effort from Bryce Millar, who was in 120th place in a time of 18:56, just six places ahead of teammate Adam Hunt, who finished in 19:01. Connor Farrell finished in 19:08, with Riley Hughes (19:21) and Colin Fitzgibbons (19:22) claiming consecutive spots in front of Charlie Beeler, who finished in 20:06.
Of the seven top F-M girls runners, three – Fanning, Brislin and Duffy – are seniors. That means Pearl (a junior), Avery, Barger (both sophomores) and Farrell (a freshman) will be back to spear-head an eighth consecutive national championship push in 2013.