Leading off today:
My standard disclaimer is that the older I get, the more I used to know about distance running.
However, my reading comprehension hasn't slipped over the years, so I can look at the roster and say with some degree of confidence that Fayetteville-Manlius put a rock-solid girls cross country lineup on the course at the McQuaid Invitational on Saturday.
And when it was over, F-M "only" finished second in the day's featured race (seeded varsity AAA) on the flat and fast Genesee Valley Park course. Unionville, located west of Philadelphia scored a 45-79 victory over the seven-time defending Nike Cross National champions. Unionville placed five runners in the top 15 in a quality field, led by winner Courtney Smith in 16:46.2.
F-M landed Annika Avery (sixth), Alana Pearl (12th) and Jenna Farrell (13th) in the top 15 and fielded either its best lineup or something very close to it, an indication that the Hornets may be in trouble should they qualify to return to the NXN finals in Portland, Ore., in December.
In the boys seeded varsity AAA race, F-M edged Liverpool, 62-66 as Bryce Millar (14:45.1) and Andrew Berge (14:55.2) finished second and fourth, respectively.
The individual champ was Rush-Henrietta's Mickey Burke in an almost incomprehensible 14:25, which shaved 10 seconds off the course record by a Canadian competitor in 2002. Burke trimmed 31 seconds off his fifth-place time from a year ago.
"To get the record on top of it is icing on the cake, and there is a lot of icing," Burke told the Democrat and Chronicle.
East Aurora scored big on the undercard of the 49th annual meet. Paced by runner-up Marta McLaughlin, the girls coasted to the seeded varsity A title with just 68 points to 148 for Tully.
The East Aurora boys also won their varsity seeded A race, led by a second-place effort from Kenny Vasbinder. East Aurora edged Northeast Bradford (Pa.) 84-96.
“This is one of the biggest races in New York all year, that’s for sure," coach Walt McLaughlin told The Buffalo News. "It gives you a chance to see really good competition. The experience is awesome, it really helps prepare you for the big races late in the season.”
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls topped Walsh Jesuit from Ohio 76-99 to capture the seeded AA honors. In the boys seeded AA race, Pittsford Mendon (92) used four non-senior scorers in a makeshift lineup to beat Xavier (100) from the CHSAA and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (121) in a tight competition.
More cross country: Kelly Hayes ran the fastest five-kilometer time (18:12) out of more than 1,000 female competitors, sparking Pearl River to a repeat Varsity D title in the fourth annual Wild Safari Cross Country Invitational at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J.
The Pirates averaged out at 19:24 for the race, making them the day's fastest squad overall.
The Tappan Zee girls and boys took team titles in the C race, with Erin Jaskot winning individually in 18:26.
Coming up: Girls soccer editor Perry Novak has compiled the first set of rankings for the season. They'll be released on our site by early Monday evening.
Following up: A scheduled hearing last week to determine the fate of a Yonkers boys soccer player who allegedly shoved a referee was postponed so that Section