Leading off today:
With each passing week this fall, it becomes apparent that we may be heading for a photo finish to the New York cross country season -- most notably in the girls Class A division, where two of the most distinguished programs in New York high school sports in the past three decades could face off in a great best-of-three battle.
Saratoga will have to fight back a challenge from Shenendehowa and three others in a deep Section 2 field. Likewise, Fayetteville-Manlius will have to beat back Cicero-North Syracuse. Ultimately, though, 'Toga vs. F-M at the NYSPHSAA championships, the Nike Cross Nationals regional and then the Nike finals in Portland, Ore., could be one of the more memorable head-to-heads seen in New York in a long time.
On Saturday, Saratoga posted its fourth straight win this month, with Kelsey Chmiel taking individual honors with the No. 3 time ever in the Queensbury Invitational.
Freshman Chmiel finished in 17 minutes, 27.11 seconds for five kilometers, beating the nearest competition to the chute by more than 200 meters. She was not far off the course record of 17:23.5 set by Megan Riley of Warwick in 2013.
"This is her first year ever in cross country," Saratoga coach Linda Kranick told The Times Union. "She is just figuring it out. She is enjoying what she is doing and I think that shows."
Fellow freshman Paris Fenoff was third, and the state's second-ranked Class A team placed five other underclassmen in the top 11 to finish with just 20 points, easily fending off fifth-ranked Sachem East (80).
Fayetteville-Manlius also stayed close to home and won at the Baldwinsville Invitational with 21 points, paced by senior Kaitlyn Neal's individual victory in 16:48.8. West Genesee's Carly Benson took second in 17:14.1 and the Hornets' Palmer Madsen was third in 17:23.1.
More cross country: Aidan Tooker of Saratoga broke the boys course record at Queensbury is 15:04.05, 48 seconds better than runner-up Paul Nichols of Shaker. The old course mark (15:06.3) was set by Bryce Millar of Fayetteville-Manlius in 2013.
"This is a bigger 'invy,' this is really I think the start of the season and a good way to kick it off," Tooker told The Times Union. "I got out pretty quick. I was ready to go from the gun and ready to finish quick."
At the 73rd annual E.J. Herrmann Invitational in Utica, brothers Noah (16:20.0) and Sam Affolder (16:23.9) of Carthage dominated the boys' large-school race.
At Baldwinsville, Fayetteville-Manlius' Peter Ryan (14:50.9) and Patrick Perry (14:57.1) ran one-two in the large-school class.
Boys soccer: Cameron Houser scored in overtime to push Cicero-North Syracuse past previously unbeaten Liverpool 1-0 in a non-league contest.
Liverpool is ranked fifth in the state in Class AA.