|2017 Season Overview for the CHSAA|
Doomsday is coming for the CHSAA -- that is, death for any leftover feelings of gloom-and-doom that fans felt after a 2016 seaon when the conference had no team rated among NY's top 15, no team among the top 4 at the Federation meet, and no team in the top 10 in the NXN-NY. The CHSAA has been living in bliss in those three entities in many recent years with numerous top-10 teams, a 1-2 finish for St. Anthony's and Xavier at Feds in 2015, a Friars trip to NXN Nationals for an 8th place finish in 2014, plus Conor Lundy's 7th at Foot Locker in 2015. Last year by comparison was lacking the usual tenacity of the CHSAA.
But fear not that the famine times are going to last into 2017, because this season should be one of the strongest and most competitive in recent times for the CHSAA. Though the wealth of talent returning for the conference does not guarantee that any CHSAA team will be headed to Portland or even that one will win Feds, it does mean that six highly rated teams should make the CHSAA championship one for the ages in 2017.
How did things turn around so quickly for the CHSAA? It's simple -- 16 of the top 22 finishers at the 2016 CHSAA are back this year, and there are a few other elite returning guys who were ill or injured then and aren't in that list. Last year's class of juniors (also known as this year's seniors) were just a deep and talented bunch, and they will be backed this year by another exciting group of juniors.
Xavier won its first CHSAA title in 85 years in 2016, the first title for a team not named St. Anthony's or Chaminade since Kellenberg won in 2001. Though frontrunner Giancarlo Cipri graduated, the Knights have the rest of their top 7 back, and that group includes two sophomores likely in line for a big speed boost. Josef Raphael Oettl, Sawyer Gwyn-Rowson, and Michael Crorkin give Xavier three top-12 CHSAA finishers, and there almost certainly will be a lot of development at the back of the Knights' lineup. St. Anthony's meanwhile lost by 27 to Xavier at the championship meet, but it returns six of last year's top 7 and starts 2017 rated a smidgen better than Xavier and is one of Tully Runner's Top 30 national teams. With five juniors in its preseason roster, the Friars could be seeing huge leaps this year, and Amani Morrell, Brendan Dearie, Mason Gatewood, and Matthew Payamps are already rated above the 160 TR mark.
Two other chief contenders to Xavier and St. Anthony's include St. Peter's and St. John the Baptist. The Eagles were last year's big surprise team, and St. Peter's has the highest rated top 3 in the CHSAA with Ryan Tierney, Dom Boccia, and Marc Carrera, but a lot of work needs to be done to fill out the rest of the squad. SJB has the CHSAA's top rated runner with Patrick Kain plus Aidan Healy and Kyle McCormick for a strong lead trio, but the Cougars' top 5 are seniors, making this a go-for-broke season. Two other teams that will be making noise in the CHSAA are a balanced Kellenberg squad that finished 6th last year, and a Chaminade team led by one of the top runners in the CHSAA, Patrick Conklin.
The situation for the Buffalo area CHSAA schools that compete in the Monsignor Martin championship does not look too happy following huge graduation losses. Fourteen of the top 20 finishers in the championship were seniors, and that includes the top 5 for champ St. Joseph's. Canisius finished 2nd but lost its top 4.The 3rd place team St. Francis at least has its top 2 back including 2nd place finisher Adam Michalski, but it lost the rest of the varsity. The MMA race's champ Tommy Appenheimer of Cardinal O'Hara is only a junior this year. We'll just have to see what develops out west.
Back at Van Cortlandt for the NYC area CHSAA championship, last year St. Peter's Ryan Tierney outleaned Xavier senior Giancarlo Cipri at the line to take the individual title. SJB's Patrick Kain nipped Tierney for 18th place as the top CHSAA guy at Federation, and Xavier's Michael Crorkin was the top CHSAA runner at NXN-NY in 54th. Kain and Tierney return as the conference's top rated runners, but a host of other seniors such as Xavier's Gwyn-Rowson and Oettl, Chaminade's Conklin, St.Anthony's Morrell, and St.Peter's Boccia could be in the mix. The top returning junior will be the Friars' Brendan Dearie. The 2016 champ Tierney was rated 7th in the CHSAA in the preseason last year after a 21st place in 2015, so big things can happen in the fall months.
|St. Peter's junior Ryan Tierney leads Xavier senior Giancarlo Cipri toward the finish as they claimed the top two spots in the CHSAA championship.|
|Top 5 Teams at 2017 CHSAA Championship|
|Projected Top 5 Teams for 2017 from Returners' 2016 TR Ratings|
|Projected Next 5 Teams for 2016 from Returners' 2015 TR Ratings|
Anthony's Mason Gatewood, St. John the Baptist's Patrick Kain, and
Chaminade's Connor Fitzpatrick head home for positions 5th, 3rd, and 4th
respectively at the CHSAA championship.|
|Top 2017 Returning Runners by Last Year's TR Rating|
|Xavier's Josef Raphael Oettl is on his way at to a 6th place at the CHSAA championship, and he is followed by St. Anthony's Amani Morrell who finished 9th.|