VERONA – Nolan McGinn held every advantage imaginable going into Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill – and did not squander any of them.
Not only was McGinn familiar with the 3.1-mile VVS layout, the Fayetteville-Manlius senior also held the course record of 15 minutes, 39.8 seconds which had he just set seven days earlier in the Section III Class A meet.
There was also his desire to improve on 2022, when he finished sixth in this same race, less than 10 seconds from the winning time of 16:06.9 put up by Baldwinsville’s Solomon Holden-Betts.
With all of this as a backdrop, McGinn went to the front of the field in the last of eight NYSPHSAA races at VVS, but found himself closely pursued by Smithtown senior Douglas Antaky.
Still, McGinn maintained his lead and, at the finish line, crossed in 15:48.7, not quite what he had done in the sectional meet, but still enough to beat Antaky (15:56.0) by 7.3 seconds and claim the top prize.
Thanks to McGinn, the Section III team was third behind Section II and Section V, with Auburn sophomore Ryan Maher seventh in 16:13.9 as part of a third-place Maroons team finish. Among McGinn’s fellow All-Star runners, Liverpool’s Brady Ruediger had the best showing, finishing 22nd in 16:30.4.
Of course, McGinn was far from alone in terms of F-M runners. The girls Hornets were there, too, competing in yet another state Class A meet with plenty of ambitions of their own.
Yet the Hornets could only manage a third-place team finish with 101 points, well off Saratoga Springs’ winning total of 24 as Northport finished second with 80 points.
Izzy Sullivan, who won the NYSPHSAA Class A individual title in 2021 at Chenango Valley but finished fourth in 2022 at VVS, struggled in this race, going 20:29.5 to finish behind four of her teammates.
Maria Khalifeh led F-M, taking eighth place among team runners and 28th overall in 19:32.7, while Camille Ryan got 15th place in the team portion and 42nd overall in 19:54.2.
Behind them, Claire McDonald finished 27th among team runners in 20:26.9, two spots ahead of Sullivan, with Jordan Giannetti 31st on the team side in 20:44.6 and Charlotte Knutsen posting 22:28.1.
Also at the state meet was Christian Brothers Academy senior Joe McMahon in the boys Class C race, Jamesville-DeWitt junior Ryan Carter in the boys Class B race and Bishop Grimes senior Edy Livingston in the girls Class D race.
McMahon had a sensational effort, rising all the way to eighth place in Class C in 16:41.9, less than a second behind his Section III All-Star teammate, Westhill’s Drew O’Reilly (16:41.1), with Mexico’s Ethan Becker fourth in 16:39.5 to lead the Tigers to a fifth-place team finish.
As for Livingston, she also had a strong performance, getting 15th place in Class D in 20:27.1 that was part of a Section III team first-place finish led by individual state champion Brynn Bernard (18:56.0), who led South Lewis to the team title.
Livingston was part of the sectional All-Stars that included Tully’s Anna Congelli (seventh, 20:13.5), Fabius-Pompey’s Myah Keenan (21st, 20:41.6), Westmoreland/Oriskany’s Emma Szarek (22nd, 20:44.4) and Dolgeville’s Grace Seeley (24th, 20:50.8).
Running in the boys state Class B race, Carter finished in 77th place, his time of 18:25.9 a vast improvement upon the 18:45 flat he got at the sectional meet to advance this far.