With the top runners from the girls team competing at the Manhattan Invitational, it was left to the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys cross country team to defend its home turf at last Saturday's BH-BL Invitational at Saratoga Spa State Park.
The Spartans did a fine job of that, as they swept the top three places on their way to a convincing victory in the Varsity III race. BH-BL finished with 26 points, nearly triple that of second-place Monroe-Woodbury (72 points).
They did a great job, said BH-BL boys coach Chip Button. "That was one of our best efforts ever."
Scott Maughan and Otis Ubriaco battled for first place right to the finish line. Maughan won with a time of 15:28.4, while Ubriaco placed second in a time of 15:30.9.
"Our coach wanted us to run a race that was hard, but he also wanted us to be together at the end," said Ubriaco.
"They've raced each other pretty much all year, and they feed off each other," said Button.
Kent Harlow wasn't far behind Maughan and Ubriaco. Harlow placed third in a time of 15:35.1, more than five seconds ahead of fourth-place runner Daniel Frank of Jamesville-DeWitt.
Sean Pezzulo (seventh place, 15:54.8) and Anthony Romeo (13th, 16:31.3) rounded out the top five for BH-BL, which has now won four invitationals.
"They've done a tremendous job this year," said Button. "We won the Guilderland Invitational, we won the Baldwinsville Invitational and we had one of our best races of the season at the McQuaid Invitational (in Rochester), which we also won."
BH-BL did leave several representatives to run in the Varsity III girls race, and they did a good job in helping the Spartans place fourth with 107 points. Kiersten Anderson (12th place, 19:36.0), Carolyn Herkenham (13th, 19:37.9) and Meagan Roecker (20th, 19:54.7) all finished in the top 20 of a field that included state powers Greenwich, Canandaigua Academy and East Meadow.