Anything other than an 11th national championship for the Fayetteville-Manlius girls cross country team would be surprising.
All of the Hornets’ top five runners from the 2016 side that dominated the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland and also claimed a state Class A title return for head coach Bill Aris, and another season got underway last week with two impressive efforts, including last Saturday’s Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Invitational.
On the same VVS course that will host the Section III championships Nov. 4, F-M dominated Race 1 on both the girls and boys sides, with East Syracuse Minoa part of the trailing pack.
Of the top eight finishers in the girls Race 1 at VVS, six were Hornets, led by Claire Walters, who won in 18 minutes, 14.3 seconds. Phoebe White was third in 18:46 flat, with Sophie Ryan fourth in 18:47.9 as Palmer Madsen got fifth place in 19:23.8.
Elizabeth Lucason was seventh in 19:40.2 and Grace Kaercher got eighth place in 20:13.6 as Isabel Crovella was 12th in 21:18.6. ESM’s best runner, freshman Emma Biel, finished 34th (24th in the team standings) in 23:31.2 as Marina Lopez (24:26.7) beat out Mary Roach (24:36.4) and Julia Schug (24:39.9) at the line.
The big story in boys Race 1 was the F-M leadership provided by Saratoga Springs transfer Geoff Howles, a sophomore who made an immediate impression for the Hornets by winning the VVS race in 15 minutes, 59.3 seconds.
Of the top 10 finishers, seven were from F-M, including Ben Otis, second in 16:10.6 behind Howles. Jack Duncanson was fourth, in 16:43.8, with Sam Otis fifth (16:56.4) and Peyton Geehrer sixth in 17:04.8 as Matt Tripp was eighth in 17:21.9 and Max Perry was 10th in 17:42.1. Eli Capri, Sam Theoharis and John Meskos also had top-20 efforts.
ESM emerged from a pack to finish third in Race 1, seeing Nick Berg make it all the way to seventh place in 17:18.9. David Rivers got 17th-place team points and was 21st overall in 18:41.9, while Michael Sanders was 37th in 19:21.6 and Casey Engineri was 40th in 19:31.4.
Jamesville-DeWitt won the girls Race 4 at VVS with 38 points to Cicero-North Syracuse’s 60, led by Sophia Vinciguerra, who needed 19:53.4 to pull away from C-NS’s Mia Pestle (20:05.3) and claim first place as Madeline Foss was third in 20:11.4.
Abby Palin was sixth in 21:15.7, but the Red Rams didn’t clinch the meet until the next wave showed up. Ayla Ervin got 18th place in 22:36.3, with Amelia Gilbert 20th in 22:39.3 as Lily Dougherty was 24th (23:01.0) ahead of Stella Heflin (23:24.8) and Keely Whipple (23:42.5).
In boys Race 4, J-D finished third behind Watkins Glen and C-NS, led by Sam Glisson, who took eighth place in 17:44.5. Luke Hobika got to 14th place in 17:51.4, while Kaleel Boykins gained 17th place in 18:03.9. Fidel Martinez (18:32.0) edged Nate Rindfuss (18:32.3) for 23rd place as Ahviere Reese was 27th in 18:36.8.
Race 2 saw Christian Brothers Academy’s girls team not field a full team for a result, but still have Olivia Morganti rise all the way to third place with a time of 19:14.4. Lea Kyle was 10th in a clocking of 20:55.2 as Bri Pucci claimed 20th place in 21:45.1. The CBA boys’ Zach Medicis finished 27th in a time of 18:48.6, with Adam Kantor 54th in 19:42.6
Before that, F-M opened the regular season by sweeping Syracuse West and Syracuse East in a three-team meet. The girls race included Kaercher’s winning time of 20:47 as White, Madsen and Rebecca Walters each finished in 20:49. Ryan and Claire Walters both posted 20:50, followed by Covella (21:35), Alex Villalba (21:43), Rebecca White (21:44) and Chloe Bullough (21:50).
F-M’s boys team also swept the two Syracuse sides as Sam Otis, in a time of 17:48, edged a group that included Duncanson, Tripp, Perry and Ben Otis, who all finished in 17:49. Capri and Mark Hanlon finished in 18:16.
Nov 24, 2017
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