FORT PLAIN — Twice a runner-up, this time around Shane Viscosi wasn’t going to let anyone finish ahead of him at the Western Athletic Conference boys’ cross country championships.
In both 2018 and 2019, Viscosi finished second behind Duanesburg’s Andrew Drescher at the WAC’s championship event. With Drescher gone to graduation, Viscosi’s been the top dog among the league’s male runners throughout this fall, and Saturday the Fonda-Fultonville senior was undeniable in the final race of his cross country career.
“He needed to be the top dog for once and not have anyone [ahead of him],” Fonda-Fultonville coach Mike Benton said. “Last year, the Duanesburg kid [Drescher] beat him, and he was not happy about it. This year, it’s Shane’s time to shine.”
Viscosi finished the three-mile Fort Plain course in 16 minutes, 46.49 seconds, beating runner-up Cameron Abdella of Mayfied by 11 seconds. The result wasn’t official for a few hours as Fonda-Fultonville was one of the first three teams to start in a meet that was conducted with three different waves of teams spaced 90 minutes apart, but Viscosi headed back to the bus just before 10 a.m. feeling confident that his time would stand up and the long-awaited league title would finally be his.
“I’ve been pretty close a few times,” Viscosi said.
Viscosi’s individual win paced a dominant performance for a Fonda-Fultonville team that saw seven of its runners place in the top 12 en route to running away with the team championship. The Braves finished with 22 team points, 14 ahead of runner-up Mayfield. Duanesburg was a distant third with 100 points.
The league championship was something of a consolation prize for a Braves squad that returned six of its top seven runners from a 2019 team that captured the Section II Class C championship, led by Viscosi finishing second and Bennett Melita taking fourth in the individual race.
“Statistically, time-wise, we are better this year than we were last year,” Benton said. “And we gained Allen Booth and Cody Hanson from the soccer program, and Allen Booth outperformed not only the second wave completely, but he was probably in the top 50 percent of the first wave. We’ve improved greatly from last year. It is a shame there’s no sectionals.”
The Braves’ five scoring runners all finished in the top eight: Viscosi in first, Bennett Melita in third, Mathieu Dettenreider in fourth, Allen Booth in sixth and Charles Susi in eighth.
Fonda-Fultonville ran head-to-head with its closest competition, Mayfield, in the first race of the day. The top five runners from each team started together, with the remaining runners starting a minute later, providing the closest experience to a traditional meet any of the teams have had all season in a year filled with social distancing and staggered starts.
The top-12 finishers came from Fonda-Fultonville and Mayfield in the opening heat. Behind Abdella, Mayfield had Braydon Jourden in fifth, Trevor Ruberti in seventh, Hunter Jones in 10th and Dawson Leach in 12th. The best finisher from outside the top two teams was Duanseburg’s Murphy Hyde in 13th, coming out of the third and final heat.
“We ran head-to-head [with Mayfield], and that’s the way it should’ve been,” Benton said. “They gave our boys a nice run, but I think we’re very happy with our outcome today.”
“It was our last race of the season, so we really wanted to put it all in,” Viscosi said. “We knew Mayfield would give us some type of competition, which is definitely good, but I feel like we got them. . . . It was the most kids that we were able to start with for any of the meets all year.”
Team scores: Fonda-Fultonville 22, Mayfield 36, Duanesburg 100, B-K-W/Middleburgh 122, Canajoharie/Fort Plain 123, Galway 149.
Individuals: Viscosi (F-F), 16:46.49; Abdella (M), 16:57.86; Melita (F-F), 17:02.80; Dettenreider (F-F), 17:41.08; Jourden (M), 18:00.74; Booth (F-F), 18:19.99; Ruberti (M), 18:29.17; Susi (F-F), 18:43.14; Sanges (F-F), 18:50.39; Jones (M), 18:53.86.