|2017 Season Overview for the PSAL|
After two straight years with Stuyvesant at the head of the PSAL, the league may be ready for a new champion. Stuyvesant won a close 105-112 decision over McKee Tech last year and then graduated individual champ Kiyan Tavangar and top-12 guys Harvey Ng and Gregory Dudick. This year's Pegleg returning crew enters the season running 20 TR points behind last year's squad in preseason and are rated 7th in the PSAL.
So if not Stuy, who will be the new top dog in the PSAL? The surprise answer appears most likely to be last year's 5th place team Midwood, which enters 2017 with a speed rating that is far ahead of the other teams. Everyone should be back for the Hornets, which is no mean feat in the senior-heavy PSAL, and though frontrunner Ermiyas Harper led the team in last year's meet with a 6th, #2 guy Demian Lofnes Scott had to shut things down in mid October and #3 guy Tobias Belber Tiberghi was way off his usual pace in the championship. So yeah, maybe the Hornets.
Or maybe the Seagulls or Falcons, because two Staten Island teams may have the goods to take this year's league championship. McKee Tech is led by the PSAL's top rated runner Oadhan Lynch, who turns into Usain Bolt every year in the final 200 meters of the championship. Last year Lynch sprinted in for 2nd place, and his Seagull teammates Andy Wang and Kurtis Chan are guys to help build a top contender around. Even though it finished 6th last year, Susan Wagner is another team that could make a run for the title because of a strong returning trio of William Cuthbertson, Christophe Hernandez, and Mahmoud Abdalla.
And since any team that returns two top-20 runners is always in contention, we'll also give a nod to last year's 3rd place team Brooklyn Tech. Juniors Evan Sherman and Robert Parker Straight need the Engineers' squad to fill out behind them, but BTech could be looking strong for two straight years.
McKee's Lynch, Midwood's Harper, and Brooklyn Tech's Sherman return from top-6 places in last year's championship, and Riverdale-Kingsbridge's Jacob Ireland took 15th as a freshman. Midwood's Lofnes Scott was not able to run in the championship last year but was 12th as a freshman in 2015, so he also should be on the champion watch list. But again, be very afraid if you are on the lead in the last 200m of the PSAL championship and you hear a Seagull's footsteps coming up on you.
The PSAL runners bust out in the Championship race.
|Top 5 Teams at 2016 PSAL Championship|
|Projected Top 7 Teams for 2017 from Returners' 2016 TR Ratings|
After losing a finishing stretch duel in 2015, Kiyan Tavangar of the champion Stuyvesant team made sure to win the PSAL championship by a comfortable margin last year.
|Top 2017 Returning Runners by Last Year's TR Rating|
|For the second year in a row, McKee Tech's Oadhan Lynch (at left, orange laces) crushed the final straightaway and moved all the way up from 6th to 2nd. Midwood's Ermiyas Harper finished 6th.|