There's dominant and then there's St. Anthony's.
If there was any doubt that the Friars were operating on another level this season, Sunday's performance at the NSCHSAA League Championships at Sunken Meadow State Park proved it . . . five times over.
St. Anthony's took the first five places and seven of the top 10 en route to a league championship in which they scored 15 points, the best possible point total.
Patrick Tucker won the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 30.12 seconds. Frederick Buckholtz was second in 16:36.35. Ryan Kutch finished third in 16:47.55. Ryan Dearie was fourth in 16:53.53 and Michael O'Leary was fifth in 17:05.04.
The Friars showcased their dominance from the beginning, taking the race out as a pack, not leaving any doubt as to who the day belonged to. In fact, St. Anthony's toughest competition may have been Mother Nature and its gusty winds over the sun-splashed course. This slowed runners down on the closing straightaway, which has little tree protection.
"The wind was brutal," Tucker said. "I just tried to use it on the first straightaway. And on the back straight, I gave it all I had."
The race went out slow, allowing the Friar Five to save up energy.
"We were able to work off each other because we were very close to one another," Buckholtz said. "Running as a team helps."
Although the wind was persistent, it did break up in the back of the course, just in time for runners to face a grueling duo of hills.
Tucker said he took the lead at the moat and never relinquished it. But in the grand scheme of the event, who was first and who was second served almost as a footnote. The large contingent of black and gold jerseys at the top made it feel almost like a glorified St. Anthony's workout.
"We were just pushing each other to run faster," Tucker said.
Dearie, whose father, Tim, is the head coach, has seen St. Anthony's success throughout much of his life and now is finally a part of it.
"Watching over the past few years, you see how everything works," he said. "Now, I'm living out what the coach tells us to do. Being a part of it is awesome."
Chaminade placed two runners in the top 10. Gunnar Nolan was sixth in 17:13.25 and Sean Butler was seventh in 17:20.15. St. John the Baptist's Chris Tinti finished eighth in 17:31.00. St. Anthony's Matthew Clarke (17:33.41) was ninth and Alexander Garcia (17:33.83) finished 10th.