Leading off today:
Another year, another trip to Oregon and the Nike Cross Nationals for the Fayetteville-Manlius boys and girls cross country teams.
The Hornets swept Saturday's team races in the New York Regional at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Boys and Saratoga Springs girls also locking down automatic berths in the 22-team finals.
The F-M boys downed Burnt Hills 74-106, with Shenendehowa (145) and Mount Academy (160) completing the top four. The F-M girls on their latest-nailbiter with Saratoga Springs by a 47-49 margin, with North Rockland (112) and Liverpool (164) rounding out the top four.
Individually, F-M junior Peyton Geehrer and North Rockland senior Katelyn Tuohy captured top honors. Geehrer covered the five-kilometer course in 15:47.1 to defeat Federation champion Sam Lawler (15:55.4) of Pittsford Mendon, with the Hornets' Sam Otis third. Tuohy hit the tap in 17:06.6 to beat F-M's Claire Walters (17:27.1) and Liverpool's Jenna Schulz (18:01.7).
The Shen boys and North Rockland girls got disappointing news later Saturday when the Nike Cross Nationals selection committee announced four at-large picks for each race next Saturday at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland and New York suffered a rare shutout. New York sent at least three total girls teams to nationals 10 of the previous 13 years and had an extra boys representative three of the past six seasons.
Foot Locker results: Cornwall freshman Karrie Baloga placed third in the Foot Locker Northeast Regional girls race and was the only New Yorker to advance to the Dec. 14 national finals at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Baloga finished in 17:36.8 on the Van Cortlandt Park course in the Bronx. Marlee Starliper of Wellsville, Pennsylvania, won in 17:03.6. Katie Turk (16th, 18:29.4) and Isabel Stronski (19th, 18:44.0) of Rye Country Day were the only other New York girls in the top 20.
The boys regional title went to Patrick Anderson of Pittsburgh in 15:17.0. The only New York runner in the top 25 was Jacob Ireland of Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy in 16:08.0.
It's the second time in four years that no New York boys advanced to San Diego. The state has not been represented by more than one girl since three qualified in 2015.
Weathering the storm: The NYSPHSAA's decision Friday afternoon to move up the McQuaid-New Rochelle Class AA football final by a day due to concerns about the weather creating poor travel conditions was undoubtedly the right move. The fact that Syracuse University was willing to turn over the building Saturday night after the ACC game between SU and Wake Forest made the decision easier.
Taking a peak into the future, however, we could be in for some worrisome moments beginning next fall, when the whole NYSPHSAA schedule gets moved back by a week. Other sports will continue to end on their traditional weekend on the calendar, but football will begin playing its semifinals on Thanksgiving weekend at two regional locations and then the finals in early December at Syracuse University.
Realistically, harsh weather at the end of November and into the first week of December is not an anomaly in New York. It's going to happen from time to time, and we could be looking at some scrambling.
Semifinals can easily be scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays, leaving Sundays as an emergency date. That only gets squirelly if one semi gets played on a Friday and the other somehow must be pushed back to Monday, creating an inequity in rest as well as prep time.
Handling finals could raise other challenges. Most college conferences require their football schools to host games Thanksgiving weekend every other year. The schools don't like hosting over the holiday since attendance suffers with students home on break, as was the case for SU this weekend.