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.