2016 CHSAA Intersectional Championship Preview

Boys Preview - Click Here

Girls Preview - Click Here

Note: article revised from original based on corrected data.

The CHSAA is getting set for another day of final reckoning as the teams from around the New York City area gather at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday afternoon, November 12, to fight for bragging rights to be the best of the big apples in the metro area. At this point there appears to be two clear favorites, but nothing should ever be taken for granted when runners go into the back hills for their agonizing climbs and terrifying plunges.

The CHSAA's action actually began last Saturday on the other side of the state as the Buffalo-area Catholic schools got together at Knox Park in East Aurora to decide the Monsignor Martin championship. On the boys' side, Tommy Appenheimer of Cardinal O'Hara took the individual championship and St. Joseph's completed a year-long rebuilding process to once again defend its spot at the top. Turner Dirrigl and Jordan Obrochta led the way for the Marauders with a 3rd and 4th. For the girls, Nardin Academy put on a dominating performance as champs while replacing Immaculata Academy, which closed down last year. Senior twins Gabrielle and Danielle Orie ran far ahead of the crowd while leading the western-side Gator girls to their first title in at least many years.

Back out east at Van Cortlandt, another group of Gator girls will be looking to pick up their third title in a row on Saturday. The Notre Dame squad with Sydney Rice back better than ever and accompanied near the top by freshman Sierra Dineen and junior Keiana Mitchell will enter the CHSAA championship race as big favorites. Also distancing themselves a bit in recent weeks is an Xavier guys' team that like Notre Dame were winners at the NY-BQ CHSAA championships for the NYC borough schools two weeks ago.

But nothing is ever certain in XC no matter what the speed rankings say, so here are the reasons why the top four teams on each side could be walking off with the CHSAA championship trophy on Saturday

  • Why the Xavier guys will win: The Knights are just plain due. The last time they won 75 years ago, Herbert Hoover was the POTUS and the two teams finishing behind them were named St. James and Manhattan Prep and are long since gone. But there are many more reasons for Xavier to win. The Knights have been rated at the top of the CHSAA all season and were a strong 2nd in the McQuaid AA race and 6th in the Manhattan Invitational Eastern States race. With a top three of Giancarlo Cipri, Sawyer Gwyn-Rowson, and Josef Raphael Oettl breaking into the 170 TR speed ratings, Xavier appears to have the power to finally close the deal after three-quarters century preparation to retrieve the CHSAA title.
  • Why the St. Anthony's guys will win: The Friars have ruled the roost for the last two years and have won the last two Federation championships. This is the thing they do, even when they get hit hard by graduation like they did last year when they lost three of their top four. The JV guys move up, St. A's rebuilds, wins a race at Manhattan, and marches right back into contention by the end of the season. Mathew Payamps, Amani Morrell, and Ryan Dearie give the Friars a strong group at the top that could push them back to the champion's seat if all are healthy.
  • Why the St. Peter's guys will win: Maybe Xavier has waited a long time for a CHSAA title, but like St. John the Baptist, St. Peter's is looking for its first. The Eagles aren't a total surprise as a member of the top quartet for the CHSAA since they returned most of their top guys from last year's 6th-place squad, but they are definitely the new kids on the block. In a strong season that has included a win in the NYC Mayor's Cup Challenge, the Eagles may be close enough to the leaders with a 4-pack at the top with Ryan Tierney, Dom Boccia, Nick Martello, and Marc Carrera to finally get that CHSAA crown
  • Why the St. John the Baptist guys will win: A team from the Long Island-based NSCHSAA has won the last 21 CHSAA championships, and usually (maybe always) during that time it has been the winner of the NSCHSAA sectional championship. That's the Cougars of SJB this year, even if they have never won the CHSAA. Taking advantage of an ailing Friars' squad, St. John the Baptist upset the defending championships behind a great performance from their own top three, Patrick Kain, Aidan Healy, and Kyle McCormack. Can't argue with tradition and success.

And as for the girls:

  • Why the Notre Dame girls will win: ND is again the reigning champion and is rated among the top teams in Class B in the state rankings. Sydney Rice, Sierra Dineen, Keiana Mitchell, and Jacqueline Thompson could well finish 1st through 4th on Saturday, and the Gators looked very impressive while winning the NY-BQ CHSAA race. Hard to argue against the fact that ND's chances for a third straight title and 6th overall are very very good.
  • Why the Kellenberg girls will win: The Firebirds won NSCHSAA championship and have put together a very nice year behind their top two of Maureen Lewin and Nora Bennett. Kellenberg won its sole championship in 2010, and firebirds have a way of rising up out of the ashes to blaze to glory.
  • Why the St. Joseph by the Sea girls will win: The Vikings have put in two solid performances while finishing 2nd to Notre Dame in the Staten Island and NY BQ CHSAA championships, so maybe they are ready to win their second CHSAA crown after taking the first one back in 1991.
  • Why the Sacred Heart girls will win: The Spartans' Maggie Maier was the champ at the NSCHSAA meet, and she may be the only one capable of breaking into Notre Dame's top four group. Sacred Heart won its only CHSAA championship trophy in 2005, and there's always room for more in the showcase.

As always with the action at VCP, just can't be beat.