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Local runners dazzle at sectional cross country meet

Manahan, Garn, Gugel all win races; Westhill/Ludden sweeps Class B

— Whether it was the individual talents of Ryan Manahan, Rachel Garn and Abby Gugel, or the team efforts put together by Westhill/Bishop Ludden, local cross counry fans had a lot to smile about while shivering through the cold at last Saturday’s Section III championship meet at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.

The exact same thing took place in each of the Class B races. An individual from Marcellus would cross the finish line first, and Westhill/Ludden, relying on its superior depth, would hang on to claim team honors.

This happened on the boys side as Manahan, the Mustangs’ outstanding senior, steadily pulled away from the field. Manahan’s time of 16 minutes, 18.3 seconds was exactly 45 seconds better than Mexico’s James Gowans, who was second.

Now the team event took shape, and Westhill/Ludden needed every placement as, with 76 points, it edged past Jamesville-DeWitt (79 points) to advance to this Saturday’s state meet at Elma Meadows, near Buffalo.

Liam Rodgers led the way, taking eighth place in 17:54.4, while Casey Bunce was 13th in 18:08.6 and Peter Lynch (18:08.6) was 16th.

Only three J-D runners had crossed the line before Dan Demauro (18:31.3), Kyle Fitch (18:31.8) and Vincenzo Carr (18:32.2) came in at the 19th through 21st spots, which proved enough as the Red Rams’ fourth and fifth runners followed, but not close enough to make up the point differential.

As this went on, Solvay was fifth and Jordan-Elbridge sixth in the Class C sectional race, but the Bearcats’ Matt Cregan and the Eagles’ Jack Gugel both advanced to the state meet. Cregan was second, in 17:20.1, trailing only Hannibal’s Ryan Perry (17:14.7), while Gugel made his way to fourth place in 17:37.1. Cody McCarthy gave the Bearcats an eighth-place finish, in 18:05.9.

West Genesee finished fourth in Class A with 113 points, as Will Randall got closest to a state meet berth, taking 10th place in 17:16 flat, seventh among the individuals outside the winning team from Fayetteville-Manlius. Kal Strickland was 15th, in 17:31.7, while Nate Conroy (17:49.2) was 24th. Jack Erhard (17:57.0), Mike Lannon (18:00.7) and Matt Romano (18:08.6) all had top-40 efforts.

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