Following Week of Saturday, September 16
2017 XC season is surging ahead with more than two weekends in the
books and just enough of a sense of the status of most teams to begin
the rankings. Many of the top teams in each class took at least a
partial squad up to Wayne to explore the course. and there's been some
high kicking action down state also. Still, there is also a big degree
of fuzziness early in the season because many teams have just been doing
leg stretchers and a lot of top runners have not yet made appearances.
Pre-States and some of the major meets such as Vernon-Verona-Sherrill,
Warwick Big Purple Wave, and Somers Big Red on September 9 and Bob
Pratt, Suffern, Regis, and East Syracuse-Minoa on September 16 gave a
hint of team strengths, but nothing is set in stone at this point, it's
more like loose gravel.
There are a few things that can be
stated with confidence. First, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls obviously
had a talk with the guys over the summer about what they needed to do,
and now there is a much greater possibility that both Hornet squads will
be going to Portland again, though the path to the podium at Bowdoin is
a very tough one with a half dozen teams in Class A thinking that
ticket is their's. One spot at Nationals still seems in the pocket of
Burnt Hills, which started off the season by laying down a result at
Guilderland that left the rest of the Class B teams in the dust. Class C
looks again to be shaping up as a battle between Watkins Glen and Mount
Academy, though this year enough teams are close enough that the top
area could get congested. But it is Class D that may well be just a flat
out blast to watch, and blasting is what Beaver River did at Pre-States
as it began a quest for a 16th state championship.
As always, the rankings are developed from the speed ratings produced by Bill Meylan of Tully Runners, but at this point we are still sitting partly on the expectations for teams based on probable returners from last year. Teams that have either not run yet or fielded partial squads have stayed reasonably close to where they were set in the preseason ratings except either where either known injuries or big early season performances of other teams get factored in. It's an imperfect system in a fuzzy period of the season, but the runners will sort everything out for us in the coming weeks and the rankings will see a lot of movement.
Cheers on yet another rocking season like no other.