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Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014: Elmira girls edge Fayetteville-Manlius at McQuaid

   Leading off today: Elmira girls cross country coach Ben Cardamone was asked how he was doing early Saturday evening.

   "Just ecstatic," he told the Star-Gazette. "Hey, we just took down No. 1."

   Indeed they did. The Express, ranked fourth in Class A by the New York State Sportswriters Association, handed Fayetteville-Manlius a rare in-state setback by winning the featured large-school race at the McQuaid Invitational at Genesee Valley park in Rochester. Elmira finished with 67 points to 71 for national No. 1 F-M and 75 for Shenendehowa. Corning, on the strength of Jessica Lawson's course record of 16:43.3 for three miles (the previous mark had stood since 1985), was a solid fourth with 108 points.

   "They ran about as perfect a race as they could run and looked fantastic," Cardamone said of his team. "All they were doing at the end of the race was passing and pushing through people."

   Junior Abbey Wheeler paced Elmira in the seeded AAA race with a runner-up finish in 17:15.6 on the fast and flat course in unseasonably warm conditions. Jessica Thatcher (seventh, 18:09.6) and Khiere Ashley (13th, 18:09.6) also cracked the top 15 for the winners.

   "It was a hot day, for sure. I think that played into it a little bit," Cardamone said. "Some people went out pretty fast. We typically are patient at the beginning of the race and I think that played into our favor a little bit."

   In the girls seeded AA race, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake did its justice to its state Class B No. 1 ranking by winning with just 36 points to 94 for Walsh Jesuit from Ohio and 124 for sixth-ranked Pittsford Mendon.

   In the boys' seeded AAA race, Fayetteville-Manlius -- led by individual runner-up Bryce Millar -- fought off Liverpool 50-72 while Andrew Marston of Conestoga (Pa.) clicked off a win in 14:31.3 for the second-fastest time in meet history.

   In the AA seeded, Xavier from New York City's CHSAA (87 points) edged Pittsford Mendon (89) and Fordham Prep (94). Mendon was running its biggest race since the death in January of coach Jason DeJoy, who steered the Vikings to a 2013 NYSPHSAA championship.

   "We came in with the mindset of improvement," Mendon co-captain David Azzara told the Democrat and Chronicle. "Our goal is to be fast in November, when it really matters. We can take positives away from this. Even on maybe a slightly off day, we still had a lot of people up there and it was only two points. That can go either way, so there are positives to take away."

   Suffolk Coaches Invitational: Shoreham-Wading River (60 points) prevailed over Northport (61) and Sachem North (67) in a tight girls A race at Sunken Meadow State Park. Katherine Lee led the way for S-WR, winning in 19:37.11.

   Sachem North won the boys A race, paced by senior John Onken's narrow win in 17:08.00. In the B race, Sachem East edged Walt Whitman 84-85, with Garden City Tim Josephs topping the individual field in 17:04.54.

   More cross country: Juniors were the first five boys across the line in Division I at the Queensbury Invitational, led by Saratoga's Aidan Tooker in a strong 15:57.37. Kevin Hazelwood of Brewster was second in 16:26.62 to help his team top Shaker 53-72, with Saratoga next at 79.

  
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   In the large-school race for girls, Shaker junior Maryanna Lansing kicked past Alex Bielli of Gloversville in the final 100 meters to win in 18:32.56. Peyton Engborg was third, leading six straight Saratoga girls (including an eighth-grader and three freshmen) across the line for an easy team victory.

   At the E.J. Hermann Invitational in Utica, defending boys champ Zakaria Adam of Proctor fell two miles into his race and settled for runner-up to an impressive 16:01.6 by Noah Affolder of Carthage.

   At the Fred Gressler Memorial in White Plains, Pelham senior Matt Baffuto continued his comeback from three stress fractures in this left foot last season to win the boys Varsity I race in 16:41.55, a course and meet record. He has won at all three of his dual meets this month and two of three invitationals.

   More, please: Keith McShea of The Buffalo News wrote a column off Friday's epic Canisius-Jamestown football game imploring Western New York high school football coaches and their ADs to green-light more games between public and private schools.

   In part, he wrote:

   "Both of these teams deserved this kind of game for what they have accomplished over recent seasons. And Jamestown deserved it for the simple act of scheduling it.

   "It's unfortunate that it took so long to get to Friday night, where all it took was one Section VI champion's willingness to take on the best competition it could find in Western New York.

   "Jamestown Athletic Director Ben Drake tweeted Friday afternoon: 'Never understood theory of not playing private schools in reg. season ... U owe it to ur players to play the best teams ur talent allows.'

   "I've never fully understood it either.

   "Every other high school sport in Western New York routinely schedules nonleague games that feature showdowns that feature the best public and private schools. The games are great, so is the atmosphere, and all the contests do is raise the level of play of both teams, and raise the level of competition in Western New York."

   You can read the full column here.

   In case you missed it: The recap of Saturday's New York football highlights was posted earlier Sunday.


  
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