Trailblazing Trivia for 2017
The boys' McQuaid AAA race is off and away.
• -- Repeat Offenders. NY has become used to having teams repeat at the state championships, but last year was a little lighter than usual. On the girls' side, in Class A Fayetteville-Manlius kept the string going at States and Greenwich took its second in a row in Class D, and Notre Dame claimed its third straight CHSAA crown. For the first time in four years, however, no boys team repeated at States, so it was left up to Stuyvesant in the PSAL and St. Joseph's in the Monsignor Martin championship to keep a respectable amount of tradition going. In other major meets, the only repeating done on either side was by the FM girls as they once again won Manhattan's Eastern States, the NXN-NY regional, and finally the NXN national championship.
• -- Repetitious Behavior. For the first time since 2000, there was no individual champion for either the boys or girls who was following up on a win at States the year before. So again it was to NYC that we had to turn for a repeat winner, as Trinity's Aidan Ryan pressed on for a second AIS win, and Sydney Rice also captured her second straight girls CHSAA title. Nobody from NY repeated in any other major race, but we'll credit Noah Affolder running for Carlisle, PA, for taking the McQuaid AAA race a year after he won the AA race while with Carthage.
The list of candidates who can repeat in 2017 is pretty large, as Nathan Lawler of Pittsford Mendon for Class B, Ryan Tierney of St. Peter's for CHSAA, and Tommy Appenheimer of Cardinal O'Hara for Monsignor Martin can win again for the guys. All of the girls 2016 States winners are back, as Kelsey Chmiel of Saratoga in Class A, Katherine Lee of Shoreham-Wading River in Class B, Hayleigh Palotti of Livonia in Class C, and Brooke Rauber of Tully in Class D are looking for repeats. Elsewhere, Shayla Sanders of Young Women's Leadership in the PSAL and Olivia Curran of Hackley in the AIS are also looking to get two in a row.
• -- Youth Is Served, Again and Again. NY girls are famous for winning big at precociously young ages, and for the 5th year in a row they had a States champ who was still in a single digit grade (7-8-9), as 8th grader Brooke Rauber won Class D. Her win followed up those of 8th grader Claire Walters in 2015 Class A, 9th grader Katherine Lee in 2014 Class B, 9th grader Jessica Lawson in 2013 Class B, and 9th grader Megan Reilly in 2012 Class A. 2011 was a no-go for the young ones, but 2010 saw Mary Cain win Class C as a freshman and Sage Hurta win Class D as a 7th grader.
• -- Taking One for the Team. Five individual champions led their teams to championships at States or conference championships. For the boys, Aidan Ryan and Trinity won the AIS and Kiyan Tavangar and Stuyvesant won the PSAL. On the girls' side, Katherine Lee and Shoreham-Wading River took Class B, Sydney Rice and Notre Dame captured the CHSAA, and Danielle Orie and Nardin won Monsignor Martin.
• -- Streaking Ahead. Some streaks of note that continued last year were the Fayetteville-Manlius girls' string of 12 straight sectional, 11 straight state, and 3 straight national titles; the Bronxville girls' string of 20 straight sectional wins, the Seton Catholic-Plattsburgh string of 19 straight sectional wins, the Saratoga girls' string of 17 straight sectional titles, the East Aurora girls' and Cornwall girls' string of 16 straight sectional titles, and the Greenwich girls' streak of 13 straight sectional wins. On the guys' side, Warwick Valley has run up a streak of 19 straight sectional wins.
• -- Wiping Away the Streaks. 2016 saw the end of Collegiate's string of 19 straight championships in the AIS and of Xavier's 85 year span without a championship in the CHSAA. Two streaks ended at States. For the first time in 22 years, none of the individual winners of a girls race was a senior, as you would have to go all the way back to the 3-class era of 1994 when sophomore Erin Davis in Class A, 9th grader Jen Fazioli in Class B, and junior Erin Haugh in Class C were winners. Also, for the first time since 2000, there were no repeat individual winners at States for both the boys and girls.
• -- Way Back When. You needed to go back 85 years to the last time Xavier had won a CHSAA title previous to last year, so what was doing in 1931? The George Washington Bridge and the Empire State Building opened for business that year, the Star Spangled Banner was declared the national anthem, and Nevada legalized gambling within the state. On a very down side, 2500 banks failed in the US, the Dust Bowl drought conditions ravaged the Plains States, 8 million Americans went unemployed as the national rate rose to 5 times the level of two years before, and generally the Great Depression was doing very bad things to the country. Hopefully, last year's win by Xavier will not have a similar effect.
• -- Going West Again. The last time States was held in one of the two western sections of NY was five years ago in 2012 when Elma Meadows in Section 6 was the host. That was the year of Hurricane Sandy when Sections 8 and 11 were not able to hold sectional meets and those of Sections 1 and 9 were postponed to the Tuesday before States. Team winners on the boys' side were Saratoga, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, Pawling, and Mount Academy, and on the girls' side Fayetteville-Manlius, Academy of the Holy Names, Bronxville, and Maple Grove. 2012 was the year that the East Aurora girls finished 2nd in States B but went on to qualify for NXN Nationals, where they finished a stunning 4th and were cited as the top small-school team in the country. The top young guy that year was Norwood-Norfolk 8th grader Kyle Fulk, who last year as a senior won the States Class D title. Among 2012's top-flying 7th grade girls who will still be competing this year, Niskayuna's Abigail Spiers begins the season as one of the Top 20 Class A runners as the leader for the Silver Warriors.
• -- 5th Time for Section 5. Section 5 has hosted States in 1972 at Rochester Institute of Technology, in 1982 at Canandaigua, in 1993 at Newark, and in 2003 at Marcus Whitman High School, which is about 35 miles south of this year's location at Wayne HS. Fourteen years ago when States was last in Section 5, the team winners for the boys were Shenendehowa in Class A, Tappan Zee in Class B, South Lewis in Class C, and Tully in Class D. For the girls it was Saratoga in Class A, Honeoye Falls-Lima in Class B, Skaneateles in Class C, and Argyle in Class D. Individual class winners for the boys were Bryan Buchanan of Circero-North Syracuse, Kyle Heath of Victor, David Weart of James O'Neill, and Lopez Lomong of Tully. For the girls it was Nicole Blood of Saratoga, Fiona Cundy of Maine-Endwell, Nichole Lister of South Jefferson, and Heather Iatauro of Tri-Valley. Both Lomong and Blood led their teams to States wins. If you are wondering why this is only the fifth time since the beginning in 1950 that Section 5 is hosting the state championship, it is because S5 teams did not start competing in it until 1968.
• -- Sisters Beat Brothers. The annual battle at States between the boys and the girls to see who can field the most brother and and sister units again went the girls' way as 25 sister acts totaling 51 runners were at Chenango Valley and 18 guy groups amounting to 36 brothers were there. Seton Catholic-Plattsburgh's trio of Sofia, Savannah, and Lea Dejordy took the biggest family honors, and the pairs who ran for team champions included Aaron and Gabe Planty of Watkins Glen, Pete and Riley Auer and Colin and Frank Colburn of Maple Grove, Reilly and Palmer Madsen and Rebecca and Claire Walters of Fayetteville-Manlius, Nina and Vanessa Burkard of Newfane, and Brynne and Brooke Wright of Greenwich. Note that the tally of brothers does not include the 7 runners for the CBA-Syracuse girls even though their mascot is the Brothers.
• -- Mascot Power. Last year it was clear that having certain mascots greatly increased a team's chances for winning at Sectionals and getting to States. On the boys' side, the favored nicknames were Bulldogs, Spartans and Indians, all of whom were represented by four teams at States. The Spartans did especially well in Class B with Burnt Hills, Maine-Endwell, and New Hartford. The Native American references were big on the girl's side as the Indians represented five teams and there were five others that used Braves, Chiefs, and Warriors, plus one that fortunately has morphed its image over to a big red cat. Blue ruled over red among the girls' mascots as the Blue Devils-Streaks-Raiders beat the Red Raiders-Dragons by 4-2.
• -- Great Names for States. If you were at States last year and thought you heard the cheer "Go Matt!" a lot, it's because there were 22 Matt's or Matthew's there, by far the most commonly sported name. Mike's and Michael's were the second-most popular at 15, with Ryan's at 14, and Jack's and Jackson's at 10. The girls divvied up the popular names more evenly, as Madison-Maddie were at 12 as were Sarah-Sara and Kaitlin-Kaitlyn-Katelyn-Caitlin-Caitlyn. Katherine-Kathryn-Catherine-Kate-Katie pulled in 11 runners, as did Emily. The other name in double digits was Emma at 10. Ryan was also a great name for winning conference championships, as Briarcliff's Ryan Gallagher won States C and St. Peter's Ryan Tierney took the CHSAA, while Trinity's Aidan Ryan used it as a last name while winning the AIS.