Two of the state’s top three Class A girls cross country teams got together for a head-to-head race last Wednesday afternoon when Liverpool paid a visit to Fayetteville-Manlius, and Baldwinsville, the state’s no. 13-ranked team, was also part of the meet.
The Warriors would defeat the Bees in a narrow 26-31 decision, but both of them could not keep up with the Hornets, who topped Liverpool 17-46.
Madison Neuner paced the Warriors, claiming a time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds, but that only put her in fourth place as F-M’s Sophia Ryan won in 17:45, ahead of Claire Walters (18:01) and Phoebe White (18:06).
In all, the Hornets claimed seven of the top nine finishing positions, broken up by Neuner and B’ville’s Justus Holden-Betts, who was eighth in 19:04 as the Warriors saw Natalie Kurz finish 10th in 19:56.
Meanwhile, in the boys race, Liverpool fell to both F-M (15-50) and B’ville (15-48), unable to get any of its runners within the top 10. Ben Otis and Geoff Howles led the Hornets, both finishing in 16:03 as F-M swept the top six ahead of the Bees’ Adam Davis (16:54) in seventh place.
Toughened by these battles, Liverpool went to Saturday’s McQuaid Invitational in Rochester. During the girls featured Varsity AAA race, the top event of the day, Neuner and Jenna Schulz pulled off a 1-2 finish, with Schulz prevailing in 17 minutes, 8.4 seconds as Neuner took second place in 17:21.2.
That wasn’t quite enough for the team title, though, as the Warriors were second with 58 points to Shenendehowa’s total of 44 points. Still, Kurz was 10th among team runners in 18:09.5, with Rosie Petrella (18:44.3) beating out Sydney Carlson (18:45.2) for 22nd place. Isabella Brancato (19:14.1) and Emily Neuner (20:11.8) were further back.
Meanwhile, in the boys AAA-2 race, Liverpool finished fourth out of 23 sides with 163 points. Nate Reeves was fifth among team runners, and sixth overall, in a time of 15:43 flat as T.J. Praschunus took 11th place in the team standings in 15:57.1.
Nick Brancato was 31st in the team race in 16:19.8 as Cullen McLaughlin finished in 16:31 flat. Spencer Ruediger (16:48.8) was just in front of Ethan Glaushauser (16:53.0) as Ben Zinger finished in 17:20.9.
While all that was going on, Cicero-North Syracuse earned its own victory during Saturday’s E.J. Herrmann Invitational at Proctor Park in Utica, the boys Northstars claiming Varsity Race 2 (large school division) with 33 points ahead of Union-Endicott (60 points) and 12 other challengers.
Sam Barber led C-NS, finishing fourth in a time of 17:32.6, with John Perperian (17:33.2) right behind Barber in fifth place and Nathan Poirier getting sixth place in 17:35.6. David Ware was ninth in 17:40.2 as R.J. Davis got 14th place in 17:59.2. Lucas Sharron (18:03.3) and Michael McBride (18:04.0) were 15th and 16th, respectively.
Getting third place in girls Varsity Race 2 at Utica behind Bethlehem and West Seneca West, C-NS saw Mia Pestle take fifth place in 19:51.3, with Annina Marullo 11th in 20:56.6. Allison Newton finished 14th in 21:05.4 as Sarah Davis was 16th in 21:18.9. Gigi Pascarella (22:47.5) beat out Maria Marullo (22:51.0) for 34th place.
Back on Wednesday, C-NS was at Oneida Shores in a three-team race last Wednesday against West Genesee and Syracuse West. The state no. 18-ranked Northstars swept on the boys side, beating the Wildcats 21-35 while handling Syracuse West 15-50.
Poirier, in a time of 17:04, finished a close second to WG’s Sean Byrnes (16:58), but though the Wildcats had three of the top five finishers, C-NS had more depth. Perperian was fourth in 17:35, with Ware sixth in 17:51. Barber (17:54) andDavis (18:04) claimed the next two spots as McBride was 10th in 18:12.
In the girls race, C-NS beat Syracuse West 15-50, but lost, 26-33, to West Genesee in spite of a 1-2 individual finish. Pestle won the race in 20:07, half a minute ahead of Marullo, who finished second in 20:37.
However, just one other Northstars runner finished in the top 10 – Sarah Davis, who was seventh in 21:08. WG, who is no. 11 in the state Class A rankings, had its top runners stay together as a group, with Emily Young (20:52), Mia Mitchell (20:53), Hannah Craybas (20:56) and Carly Benson (21:02) finishing within 10 seconds of each other.