The Shenendehowa boys cross country team lived up to the preseason hype at last Saturday's Grout Run at Schenectady's Central Park.
Five of the first seven runners bore the word Shen on their jerseys to help the Plainsmen dominate the competition. Shen finished with 18 points, well ahead of runner-up Queensbury.
"Today's plan all along was to run fast here because the way our schedule worked out, we had Manhattan (the Manhattan Invitational) coming up next, so we earmarked this day as one where we wanted to go fast," said Shen boys coach Mark Thompson.
Shen's pack was led by Alex Leuchenka. The Warwick Valley transfer completed the 2.75-mile Central Park course in a blazing fast time of 13:17.67.
"To run (under) 13:18 is absolutely incredible. That was unexpected," said Thompson. "I just wanted to open him up and see what he could do."
The rest of Shen's top five ran well, too. Dan Harris placed second in a time of 13:35.48, followed by Mike Danaher (fifth, 13:45.93), Brian Trainor (sixth, 13:45.93) and Jamie Glover (seventh, 13:51.13).
"To have five ahead of 13:52 is amazing," said Thompson.
It was Shen's best invitational performance of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the pre-season No. 1-ranked team in New York. With the Manhattan Invitational coming up Saturday, the Plainsmen wanted to reinforce the notion that they are the team to beat.
"Manhattan is a big meet for us," said Thompson.
Ballston Spa sent its boys and girls cross country teams to the Grout Run. The boys placed sixth in Division I with 200 points, while the girls team took sixth place in Division II with 153 points.
Max Groves led Ballston Spa's boys team with an eighth-place finish in a time of 13:57.03, but no other Scottie finished higher than 45th place.
The girls team had a better pack going at the Grout Run. The Scotties had three runners in the top 40 led by Becky Martin's 11th-place finish in a time of 16:45.47. Molly Myers finished 19th in a time of 17:29.87.""