In his last big meet for the Fayetteville-Manlius boys track and field team, Nick Ryan came within half a second of pulling off a state-championship double, all in a span of a few hours.
That wasn’t the original plan. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet usually covers two days, but heavy rains inundated Middletown last Friday, causing a total cancellation of that day’s events.
So everything was run on Saturday including Ryan’s two specialties, the 3,200-meter run and mile. Doing them both, in peak times and even in peak condition, is difficult.
Ryan started in the morning with the 3,200, and led most of the way. Though Northport’s Tim McGowan kept close throughout the two-mile distance, Ryan got away gradually in the final lap and won the state title in eight minutes, 58.28 seconds, topping McGowan by 1.53 seconds. They were the only sub-nine minute runners.
Then Ryan went to the mile, and it turned into a classic. Carmel’s Eric Holt took the lead early and kept it through the first 800 meters. With one lap to go, Ryan was just 0.03 seconds behind, but could not quite catch up as, in 4:07.55, he finished second to Holt’s victorious clocking of 4:07 flat.
Senior Katie Brislin made her own strong state championship bid in the girls 1,500-meter run. Chasing down Webster Thomas senior Eileen O’Hara, Brislin trailed by more than a second with a lap to go.
But in the closing 400 meters, Brislin closed the gap on O’Hara, only to run out of time as, in a time of 4:29.25 (her personal best by a wide margin), Brislin finished second, just 0.31 seconds behind O’Hara’s winning time of 4:28.94.
During the girls 4x800 relay, Brislin, joined by Olivia Ryan, Hannah Smith and Michelle Duffy, was second through 1,600 meters, and though they tailed off a bit, F-M still took fourth place in 9:09.15, with Northport (9:02.42) prevailing.