Class C Preview
|2018 Season Overview for Class C|
The States Class C championship in 2017 was marked by the new and the old. For the new, CBA-Syracuse won its first state championship in the year after the Brothers made their first appearance at States. For the old, Livonia's Hayleigh Palotti wrapped up her XC career by repeating as state champion, becoming the third two-time States C champ in the decade, joining a select group of Mary Cain and Sophia Tasselmyer.
Neither of the two championships was in severe doubt. CBA placed three runners -- Olivia Morganti, Cory Knox, and Deja Jones -- in the top 7 and defeated reigning champ Newfane by 62-83, with Bronxville and Canton in 3rd and 4th at 87 and 95. Palotti powered through the States river of mud and ran away from the field to win by more than 20 seconds over Clinton's Eva Borton, with Morganti still another minute back in 3rd.
A few teams extended their long runs of consecutive appearances at States -- Bronxville to 21, Saranac to 7, Mattituck to 6, Oyster Bay to 4 -- while others like Schuylerville and Onteora were trying to start a run after long absences. Harley-Allendale-Columbia made its first States appearance at the C level after making its second ever appearance in 2016 in the Class D race.
If a preseason award was given for the most unruly and disrupted class this year, C would win a close decision over Class D. Last year's champ CBA-Syracuse has been told to pack its bags and move up to Class B, while Westhill is back down in C after three years up in B, and Albion, Beekmantown, and Peru are also coming down while Rondout Valley goes up. The major changes though come with exchanges between C and D. The player of some consequence going down to D from C, is Duanesburg, as it chooses to play hide-and-seek with a certain powerhouse in Section 2. Class C's lower size limit had a 21-student plunge down to 240, and the drum roll for teams making the exodus from D up to C includes Chatham, Lansing, Addison, Ausable Valley, Tri-Valley, Millbrook, and Stony Brook among many others. And yes, the one giant among those many other D-to-C teams is the 2015 and 2016 Class D champ and 2017 runner-up Greenwich. Three of the ten teams that ran in the Class D championship last year have been moved up to C.
Though 2017 champ CBA-Syracuse will not be around to defend its title, the tectonic class moves have set up what could be a final meeting at Sunken Meadows in a storied series of States matchups between preseason Class C favorite Greenwich and 3rd-rated Bronxville during Bronco coach Jim Mitchell's now 40-year tenure. Since 2004, the two teams battled each other at States six times, and five of those times they finished in the top two spots, with the last meeting being in 2014 when Bronxville was 2nd and Greenwich 3rd behind champ East Aurora. Both teams have been living in relatively flush times since 2004, as Bronxville has collected 8 of its 12 state championships in the period and Greenwich has won all 6 of its titles then. Both teams have also been at States in every one of those 14 years, and except for Greenwich's 4th place finish in Class D in 2013, both teams have always finished in the top 3.
After two straight championships in Class D in 2015 and 2016, Greenwich was edged out by South Lewis by 3 points last year. This year with nearly everyone back and sporting a strong and deep lineup headed by Brynne and Teagan Wright and Emma Cronin, the Witches are big preseason favorites in C with a 13 TR point gap to 3rd-rated Bronxville. The Broncos were 3rd in States C last year but also have the full varsity back, including five seniors led by Natalie Weiner and Emma Mandanas. In 2008 Bronxville and Greenwich were at States at Sunken Meadows, and the Broncos won the C title by 4 points while the Witches captured the D crown by 61.
Another team that was not at States last year appears to have thrust itself into the action somewhere between the Witches and the Broncos. Clinton is the heir-apparent to CBA in S3-C and has the
overwhelming favorite for the States' individual title Eva Borton on the
lead. With last year's 5th place States C finisher Taylor Harvey back and a promising newcomer Madison Luke forming a top trio to rival Greenwich's big 3, the Warriors just need to elevate the back of the lineup to maybe claim a place at the top.
Three other teams are Sectional favorites and are prime suspects for being participants in the States Class C mayhem this year. 2016 Class C champ and 2017 runner-up Newfane has Kimberly Goerss and solid cast of Panthers and should be battling for a second title in three years. Newark Valley finished 5th at States last year, and the Cardinals always seem to build a solid contender by the time November rolls around. Reigning S7-C champ Saranac will be pushed a little harder with Peru now down in Class C, but the Chiefs have States medalist Rachel Woodruff and the top 4 from last year's team back.
Eva Borton finished 2nd to the now graduated Hayleigh Palotti in last year's States C race, and she will enter 2018 as by far the highest rated returning runner. Another runner who finished 2nd in States last year was Brynne Wright down in Class D, and she will be the second favorite for C race this year.
|CBA's Olivia Morganti and Cory Knox went right to the lead in the States C race as they positioned their team for a muddy championship, but Livonia's Hayleigh Palotti (589, at center) would run away from everyone to win a repeat title by 21 seconds.|
|Top 5 Teams at 2017 States|
|Projected Top 5 Teams for 2018 from Returners' 2017 TR Ratings|
|Projected Next 15 Teams for 2018 from Returners' 2017 TR Ratings|
|Early in the Class C action, Livonia's Hayleigh Palotti was pursued by the eventual 2nd place finisher Eva Borton of Clinton.|