2006 - During a thrilling afternoon of cross-country action, Colts Neck High senior Craig Forys snared the spotlight by smashing a course record that had stood for 23 years. As Forys was busy answering post-race questions from a small horde of assembled media, Fayetteville-Manlius' Tommy Gruenewald could be spotted less than 70 yards away, storming past the finish stripe in a separate race -- slicing an additional tenth of a second off Forys' now short-lived standard. Gruenewald was officially credited with the record time of 12 minutes, 10.6 seconds, with Forys next at 12:10.7. The previous course record of 12:15.7 was set in Brad Hudson in 1983, with Victor Gras' meet record 12:17.1 established in 2003. Shenendehowa of New York was the Heat "E" team winner over Danbury, 65-85, with those two teams also coming out best in the post-race "merged power score". Shen won the merged score with 92 points, well ahead of runner-up Danbury's 121, and recorded a 12:56.6 average for its scoring five, among the fastest in meet history.
Girls Eastern States - In what many would deem as an enormous upset, Midlothian of Virginia and Eleanor Roosevelt of Maryland claimed the top two team places, and Tatnall of Delaware placed fifth, as Southeast Region teams claimed 3 of the top 5 places. 2004 NTN champion Saratoga Springs and 2005 NTN winner Hilton placed 3rd and 4th, respectively, from a Northeast Region that some were claiming was best in the nation. Hilton entered the race ranked #1 in the nation by The Harrier magazine's High School Cross-Country Report.
2005 - Saratoga girls win a close one. Fayetteville-Manlius boys win decisively. Aislinn Ryan dominates. While Justin Harbour is fastest boy. It rained and rained, and just when you thought the wind couldn't get any worse - it got a lot worse. It was a day that most NY coaches say was one of the worst days ever for a meet and the worst Manhattan has seen since the mid 1970's. And while the Yankees game was canceled, the races went on all day - on schedule. The boys races had a little more diversity, but Fayettville-Manlius, NY was the best team again on this day, putting 4 under 13:00 and a 5th at 13:16 to beat CBA and Morris Hills, both of NJ.
Girls Eastern States - Defending Foot Locker national champion Aislinn Ryan crushes the Girls Eastern States field in 14:04, third fastest girls time ever on Van Cortlandt Park's 2.5-mile course (13:57 Nicole Blood in 2004, Erin Keough 14:02 in 1986). Ryan finished 39 seconds in front of Saratoga's first two -- Hannah Davidson 14:43 and Lindsey Ferguson 14:46. Considering the driving rain conditions, it may have been the greatest girls performance ever at Van Cortlandt Park.
Before the race, there was speculation that US#1 NE#1 Saratoga, winner of this meet 5 straight years, might be vulnerable. The results proved this is true, but the mighty Toga squad prevailed over NE#2 Hilton NY 133-147, with six more teams scoring within 100 points (Suffern NY 193, Warwick Valley NY 205, Eleanor Roosevelt MD 205,, Colts Neck NJ 212, Bronxville NY 213, and Fayetteville-Manlius NY 232.) Saratoga's spread of 1:38 (2-3-26-48-54) was the widest in years and Hilton's fifth girl finished ahead of Saratoga's fourth, but Saratoga's top end duo was enough to carry the day for the defending champs. Hilton (4-17-38-41-47) was led by Amanda Griggs 14:47 in fourth place.
2004 - A record day at a cross country mecca, as two team average records are crushed, an individual course record goes down as well, and the other stays on the books by less than a second. The talk leading up to the Manhattan Invitational was about Saratoga Springs and speculation about their place in cross country history. The chatter will only increase. But now you've got to add the boys from Fayetteville-Manlius NY to the mix as one of the great teams ever. Nicole Blood used the back woods to gap Warwick Valley's Aislinn Ryan, and pulled away over the final straightaway to finish in 13:57 and break the 18-year-old mark of 14:01.9 set by of Langley Virginia's Erin Keogh in 1986. And her team wasn't far behind, finishing in 3rd, 7th, 13th and 15th for 39 points with an estimated team average of 14:34. The mark smashes their own record of 14:57.54 set last year.
The individual matchup of the day for the boys was in Varsity Race G, as Newton North's Chris Barnicle missed the meet record of Victor Gras by less than a second, going 12:18 to beat Northport's Kevin Tschirhart by 21 seconds. Fayettetteville-Manlius followed up their record day at McQuaid to break Shenendehowa NY's 2003 record by nearly ten seconds, averaging 12:48.82. Oh, and 23 boys broke 13. That's a record, too, by one.
2003 - One of the most brilliant of the many Manhattans. Victor Gras - 12:17.1 breaks John Trautman's 18-year-old meet record. Nicole Blood 14:17.8 leads Saratoga girls to first sub-15:00 average team time. Saratoga scored 56 points to beat Argyle 87 and Bay Shore 120. Shenendehowa NY boys 12:58.7 team average is a meet record.
2002 - The mud was the story of the day, but it didn't stop Nicole Blood and Brendan Fennell from turning in stellar performances. Blood leads Saratoga girls 24 to 89-point margin in Eastern States Girls Championship. Shenendehowa NY boys 13:15.8 had fastest average boys time. (top boys teams are spread across seven varsity races, so there is no head to head team winner).
2001 - Meet is an emotional affirmation of New York and American spirit, just one month after the September 11 World Trade Center attack. Brian Dalpiaz and Tracy Brauksiek are the fastest runners of the day. Saratoga NY girls win Eastern States. Old Bridge NJ is a split second winner of fastest boys team time over Bishop Hendricken RI and St. John's MA.
2000 - Julia Pudlin's "one last burst" catches Erin Donohue at the finish (below). Saratoga's deep squad wins varsity girls by 88 points and scores perfect 15 in both JV races. Charles Million NY and Austin Smith VA share fastest boys time of the day, 12:35. Danbury CT boys 13:19.3 have fastest team average.
1999 - Colonie NY edges Saratoga NY 59-61. Third was Peninsula CA 101 (#1 in Rich Gonzalez' California Southern Section) rankings. Laurel Burdick of Fayetteville-Manlius, Syracuse NY, unbeaten in her sophomore season, won the individual race in 14:34.6, best girls time of the day, 5 seconds ahead of Lisa Capello of Starpoint NY and 16 seconds ahead of Danielle Coon of Saratoga. Colonie is still without their top runner, Jen Kramer, who has missed the season due to a stress fracture.