by Kurt Wheeler MARCELLUS – The Cazenovia girls cross country team defeated another pair of league rivals Wednesday to rise to 3-0 and sole possession of first place in the OHSL Liberty-National Division. This followed a successful appearance at the Sept. 23 Baldwinsville Invitational, where the Lakers raced to seventh place in the 38-team field of the Small Schools varsity division. Cazenovia relied upon its dominant front pack to overwhelm Marcellus 17-46 and shut out Solvay 15-41 in league action. Olivia Ruddy led all runners over the fast 3.05-mile course at Marcellus Park with a winning 20:49 effort. Teammates Zoey Gagne (21:02) and Maeve McGreevy (21:06) were right on her heals as the Lakers finished 1-2-3 to kick off the scoring. Lorelei Riefler of Marcellus (22:45) was able to slip across the line next, but Lauren McLean (23:09) quickly led another wave of Lakers to seal her team’s victory. Olivia Wong (23:36) captured Cazenovia’s fifth scoring position for their winning low score of 17 while Mesi Stevens (24:34) and Ilsa Denton (24:45) displaced all remaining Marcellus and Solvay runners from their number 6-7 positions for the Lakers. Emma O’Shea led a third wave of runners that included Michaela Tobin, Iris Casey, Savannah Randall and Alison Morse as each member of that pack posted a season best time. Four days earlier, the Lakers had to battle the deep field at Baldwinsville with a severely depleted lineup with only seven of 13 runners in action for the huge meet. Ruddy also led the Lakers there, running her fastest full 5K time of the season at 21:14 for 22nd place. McGreevy (21:18) and Gagne (21:19) finished back to back at 25th and 26th for Cazenovia while McLean was 44th in 22:57. Stevens stepped up to claim the #5 spot for the team at 24:33 while Denton (93rd, 25:10) and O’Shea (106th, 25:34) rounded out the Lakers’ effort. Cazenovia’s total of 182 points was good for seventh place among the 38 teams in the small schools race as sectional rival South Jefferson won with 66. Given their depleted numbers the outcome was a solid finish for the Lakers, but fell short of its third-place effort in 2022 and their team championship at the meet in 2021. Cazenovia will work to get all their runners back on the trail on Oct 4 as they travel to Tully to face the Black Knights and Onondaga Tigers in non-league action.