Well folks, that's it for the 2012-2013 seasons for Cross Country and Track and Field. With the conclusion of the World Youth Championships, the majority of our athletes are home for the season, and building towards either college or those cross country courses in the fall. We here at MileSplit NY have just finished our second year under new management, and have made strides in bringing you the best coverage around. We've had a banner year on twitter, becoming the most followed state in the network, as well as nearly 11 million page views since September. In terms of athletes, we've had unparalled performances, new breakout stars, and countless new state records. To keep it succint, it has been another great year for the Empire State. To commemorate the end of the season, we'd like to look back at our top 10 moments from the past year. These may not be the fastest times or best performances, but they were moments that were aided by the stories behind them, the rivalries established, and the accomplishments achieved. We'll be releasing two a day, with the top pick being released on Saturday night. While they are ranked numerically, their order is only slightly important. Each moment proved thrilling for the track fan, and we look forward to even more in 2014. And be sure to sound off in our comments for moments you think we missed, as cutting this down to a list of ten was not easy.
8. The Scoreboard Never Lies
Moment number 8 can be called the culmination of multiple different narratives on one of the sports biggest stages. It combines three very different stories,
of three very different teams. For us, the moment the final scores of the girls' race flashed on the screen at NXN is one of the top moments of 2013. The first
story you have is that of East Aurora, the underdogs of the competition. They had made the race as an at-large selection, after a standout performance at the NXN
Regional race. They had taken previously taken 4th in the States' merge, beaten by Holy Names', who had impressive marks in both States and Feds. However, on race
day, the girls of East Aurora had career bests to solidify the third spot at regionals by 9 points. As previews began circulating for NXN, East Aurora was seen as a
factor, but not a threat. They would prove everyone wrong, taking 4th place overall in the national competition, beating even perennial powerhouse, Saratoga.
Saratoga is the second team in the puzzle that makes up the Number 8 moment. They had shown huge success with their front runner, Taylor Driscoll, and spent much
of the season traveling to competitions. They had been shaping up to be a legitimate threat to the girls of FM at the State level. At Elma Meadows, Driscoll would
take 4th overall, and lead her team to a second place finish, (third in the merge by 1 point against the strong Holy Names). They would return a week later to put a
thirty point margin of victory over Names' at the Federation meet, and solidify themselves as a favorite for top two at Regionals. They did just that, scoring 59 points,
and looking to return to NXN once more. Once in Portland, the mud affected the girls, as it had most of the field, but they still performed well, taking fifth overall.
That leaves one last piece. Fayetteville-Manlius, the then-6 time national champions, had not lost a team competition in years. Coach Bill Aris knew that his team would
be at the point that one loss would be bigger news than any amount of wins would ever be. It is the double-edged sword of such continual success. In early October,
that first loss would come. Holding off their top runner due to deteriorated course conditions, FM took second place overall at the Manhattan Invitational, behind a
career best performance from Tatnall. The national scene saw vulnerability in the perenial powerhouse, but those from New York knew different. The Hornets went into rebuilding. By sectionals, they were back to being as strong as ever. At the state meet, their statement was clear. They blew away the field, winning with 32 points in Class, and only bumping up to 35 points in the overall merge, nearly a hundred points ahead of the next closest team. As usual, the Hornets took Feds weekend off, and returned for the regional. At Bowdoin Park, they once again proved their dominance, dropping down to only 28 points to send them off as the favorites for NXN, once again. Out in Portland, the Stotans clearly blew away the field, winning in the most dominating margin the school had ever demonstrated, (by over nearly 150 points.) As the scoreboard flashed, showing the final results, three NY Teams had made the Top Five. Had Holy Names been given an At-Large Invite, that number could have very well had been 4 of the top 5 teams.
1. 54 MANLIUS (20:25 102:05 0:37) Fayetteville-Manlius NY 2. 198 CARROLL (21:18 106:28 1:42) Southlake Carroll TX 3. 209 CARMEL (21:25 107:03 0:35) Carmel IN 4. 212 AURORA (21:27 107:12 0:48) East Aurora NY 5. 218 KINETIC (21:12 105:58 2:58) Saratoga NY
7. How To Make It To A National Final In One Season Or Less
Very rarely do athletes pop out of nowhere in track and field. Usually, you can track an athletes development through their freshmen and sophomore years, gauging improvement, and making educated guesses on their eventual peak speed. And then there are athletes like Winston Lee. For the entire Indoor Season, the sprint dominance was clear cut. It was an upstate vs downstate rivalry between Sayville's Chris Belcher, and Rochester's Brian Smith. Both had been throwing down fast times all season, and the state meet came down to a grudge match between the pair. Belcher would prevail to take the state title. All eyes were on the two again, as Outdoor season began, and the distance was elongated to the full 100 meters. The two began the season exchanging quick times, approaching the 10.6 mark, which had not been broken the year prior. It seemed the spring state meet would be a rematch from winter, with the same names as the top contenders. That is, until the Eddy Games.
Our first encounter with the senior has been documented in our meet review. For those who do not know, Lee was a football player, who had tried out for the track team for the first time, as a Senior. Immediately, he became a statewide player. Our number 7 moment was his first race at Eddy, where we will never truly know the official time. But he more than broke the FAT scoring. He broke out as a sprinter himself, despite signs of being a race rookie. With form to improve upon, and reaction time to shorten, Winston Lee had run the fastest time in the state so far. He continued on his tear to the State Meet, where, in adverse conditions due to the rain, he won both rounds of the 100m. Hailing from a small school in Section 2, he had won both the Federation and State title, after only racing a handful of times.
The dominance was set to continue one more time. Heading down to North Carolina, Lee entered into the 100m trials. There, he would run 10.66, to take 8th overall in the prelims, solidifying his spot in the National Championship Final of a sport he had only started four monthes prior. He took 5th overall in that final, behind the fastest prep runner of all time, who had ran a wind-aided 9.99 clocking. But for Lee, the experience had changed the course of his life. While originally intending to attend a local junior college in the fall, he has since been recruited to a satellite college down south, with plans to transfer and compete D1 in two years.