Class D Preview
|2017 Season Overview for Class D|
Class D is a puzzle. On the one hand it featured a classic States showdown last year between two powerful teams that might both be featured among the overall Top 10 teams in the state in 2017. It is also pretty deep, much deeper and stronger than Class C, with a half dozen more teams threatening to jump up to the level of Greenwich and Maple Grove if maybe one more fast young pair of legs joins the crew. On the other hand, only 68 teams fielded squads for the D races at Sectionals last year, which is 30 to 40 less than the other classes. And 83% of the teams were from just five upstate sections, leaving the other six sections to divide up the remaining 11 teams in noncompetitive or nonexistent Sectional battles.
But even if more than half of the state is pretty much missing from the Class D action, the upstate teams are putting on a great show that has to be closely watched. Last year, Greenwich won the state champion when it simply blasted to a new level at Chenango Valley and held off MG's Red Dragons by 6 points. This year both teams should be returning all of the runners from last year's young squads. The Witches' Brynne and Brooke Wright, Emma Cronin, Quinn Collins, and Annabel Gregg did exactly what they needed to do to nail down a States repeat. Maple Grove's quintet of Ava Crist, Christina Peppy, Gracie Auer, Carling Lockwood, and Bryn Mozzi were not quite at peak level at States, but they will start 2017 with the highest ratings in Class D.
A second great battle in Class D will be breaking out in Section 3, where the 3-4-5 rated teams reside. Last year South Lewis won its first S3-D title in four years after a top trio of Hannah and Hali Iefield and Lexi Bernard joined the team for the ride to 3rd place at States. Beaver River continues to hang in there in hopes of its first title in 5 years. Tully had its string of 9 straight Sectional titles in classes D and C broken in 2016, but Brooke Rauber ran off with the win at States as an 8th grader and the Black Knights began the rebuilding process around her last year.
Rauber returns for her freshman year as the 7th rated runner among all classes in the state, and she will be the big favorite to take a repeat title. Greenwich frontrunner Brynne Wright finished 2nd at States, however, and she will also be in the hunt. And one thing you can always bet on for Class D is that a very fast new 7th grader will make the scene, as Bernard did last year and Rauber the year before.and so on back to 2010 when Sage Hurta won the state championship as a 7th grader.
Some of the teams moving down to Class D this year are Addison, Lansing, and Chatham. And because of the strength of Class D, we've added a profiled team to the preview to bump the total to 11.
|Tully's Brooke Rauber at left ran to a state championship win as an 8th grader, and Greenwich's Brynne Wright at right led the Witches to their second straight team title.|
|Top 5 Teams at 2017 States|
|Projected Top 5 Teams for 2017 from Returners' 2016 TR Ratings|
|Projected Next 15 Teams for 2016 from Returners' 2015 TR Ratings|
Emma Cronin (no. 272) finished 5th for state champion Greenwich, and she was chased here by Hali Iefield (no. 372) and 7th grader Lexi Bernard (no. 369) of South Lewis, Elaine Atanasova (no. 292) of Duanesburg, and Kelsey Hastings (no. 594) of Letchworth.