Following Week of Saturday, December 2
Fayetteville-Manlius never left any doubt that it was the best team in the state and then claimed its 11th NXN title in 12 years in heroic fashion with the tightest win ever in Portland. Likewise, the top teams in the B, C, and D classes were firmly set in the mud of the state championship at Wayne HS.
But the States muck also was a symbol of all the less clear and clean elements that go into figuring out the positions for 155 teams in the final rankings in the A-B-C-D classes. NXN Nationals teams Liverpool and Saratoga repeated that sadly too often told tale of NY teams that compete at the top level in the nation but sit at home for their state's championship due to its unusual set-up. Shenendehowa finished 2nd behind only FM at States after snapping Saratoga's 17-year streak in Section 2, but Shen ends up out of the top 3 overall and in Class A. And once again, there was that mud up north, not just some long patches of it here and there, but seas of it after a course was plowed through at Sectionals and then pulped through again for the trench warfare at States. Team speed ratings for the two meets were deep-sixed, leaving us with just the order of finish to judge by.
These final rankings are based largely on the final meet(s) of importance for each team, which could be Sectionals, League (CHSAA-PSAL-AIS) championship, States, Federation, NXN-NY, or NXN, though the NXN-NY is just in play for at most five teams that are competing all out for tickets to Portland. Teams are also evaluated on their season's work, but unfortunately if like Benjamin Cardozo you lost your top runner mid season or like many other teams you just had a tough day at Sectionals, the final results limit your chances for a good ranking. With the exception of Saratoga, no team moves ahead of its Sectional or League champ, so every team should hope that its local representative does very well at States or Federations so that its own value is not pulled downward.
Note that the final team speed ratings and lineup include runners who were contributors at any point of the season but may have been missing from November meets. Each team's speed ratings followed by the compression spread number (up to 75) in parentheses is shown at right preceding the roster list of the runners' last names.
Many of the teams in Section 5 and Section 11 saw their ratings plummet at Sectionals due to the mud at Wayne or the heat wave at Sunken Meadows, and we tried to give some consideration to the affected teams in the rankings. A Wayne HS custodian probably best summed up the November meets in the north country after we sympathized with him about the huge task he would have cleaning the totally filthed-up hallways, restrooms, and gymnasium at the school after States. "Oh this is nothing," he said. "You should have seen it last Friday after the Sectional kids came through here."