T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore and Marta McLaughlin of East Aurora had the fastest times in Saturday's 18th annual West Seneca Cross Country Invitational at Sunshine Park. Their times will set the bar high for future races at the park in West Seneca, which served as a first-time host.
Hornberger tamed the welcoming layout, running a 16:05.37 while McLaughlin crossed in 19:05.04. The meet had been held for the last 17 years at Fireman's Park, located just down the road.
"I'm in pretty good shape for this time of year, there's a lot of improvement I can do," said Hornberger. "I just wanted to see where I was at after returning for the summer. I made a good base over the summer, I did a lot of high mileage."
McLaughlin won the small school girls race while Livia Chase of Starpoint ran 19:05.18 in the large school race, a mere .13 seconds slower than McLaughlin.
"This new course is definitely harder than the old course, the times were a lot slower," said McLaughlin. "I liked it. The woods were weird, it just kept twisting and turning and I had no idea where I was going. I was just running."
Sean Phillips of East Aurora rounded out the winners of the four varsity races as he took the boys small school race in 16:09.68.
A field of 229 boys from 35 teams competed while the girls featured 186 runners from 28 teams. Irondequoit of Section V won the large school boys team title. Starpoint was second with Paul Schwartz its top finisher in 7th.
East Aurora's boys and girls ran away with the small school team titles. The boys finished with four runners among the top 10: Phillips was first, Brendan Keany third, Gene Baritot fourth and Robby Coulter ninth.
The Blue Devils girls enjoyed a 1-2-3 finish with McLaughlin, Megan Baritot and Mackenzie Donahue. Iroquois' girls took home the large school team title led by Esther Grossman in sixth and Ashley Peppriell in eighth.
OP girls net tourney win
The Orchard Park girls volleyball team, runners-up last week in the St. Mary's Tournament, went one better on Saturday. The Quakers won the 16-team Sweet Home Tournament in three games over ECIC I foe Lancaster.
"We lost to St. Mary's last weekend, and when you leave with a loss, it kind of sticks with you," said OP coach Greg Lardo. "We didn't pass well and we wanted to do a better job."
Quakers senior middle blocker Maryellen Debic was named MVP after she played consistently all day and had nine kills in the final. Lardo said Debic can set if she's needed, run plays from the back row and can be set to the right side.
Named to the all-tournament team were Meghan Kneeland (Clarence), Katie Mazierski (Niagara-Wheatfield), Andrea Buchanan (Hamburg), Sydney Rojek (Frontier), Jenna Reeser (Sweet Home), Bre Opera (Lancaster), Katie Kajtock (Lancaster), Joelle Poloncarz (Orchard Park) and Kristen Stanek (Orchard Park).
. Immaculata came back to beat Wilson, 22-25, 29-27, 17-15, in the Starpoint Tournament finals.
. The Grand Island boys topped St. Francis, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, to win the Cheektowaga tournament.