|Class D Preview|
|2016 Season Overview for Class D|
Historic times were on display at States in the Class D race as Lake Placid became only the second Section 7 team to win a championship, and the Bombers did it in only their second appearance at a state championship after making a first trip in 2014. East Rochester's Dawson Bathgate was the top returner from the 2014 meet where he finished 4th, and he defended his position by a comfortable margin last year to pick up the championship in his senior season. In a sense Lake Placid was also defending its position at States since the 4th it took in 2014 was tops for all the teams that qualified in 2015, and the Bombers also won with a pretty safe margin over Maple Grove and Sauquoit Valley.
Class D is notoriously hard to project in the preseason because many teams have just three or four higher level runners, and you just never know whether some of these small schools will be able to fill the holes well enough to win their section. Only once over the past four years has the team that was projected at the top in the preseason by Tully Runners or MileSplit gone on to win the title, and that one correct pick was a no-brainer situation with Mount Academy in 2013 after it won the 2012 title. Mount is also the only Class D team to repeat a championship in the last seven years, so being the reigning champ or being the preseason projected favorite are not necessarily things that a team should ride high on.
And that brings us back to Lake Placid as the 2016 season rolls in. After the loss of frontrunner Karl Schulz and also Forest Ledger from last year's varsity, Lake Placid finds itself toppled off the pedestal in Class D and rated down in a 6th place tie with Maple Grove as the season starts in the always wild Class D carnival. Lake Placid could very well pull off a repeat title since it just needs to fill one spot at the end of the lineup to move back into the top position in the ratings. Of course, not being the top rated team may also be a good omen for the Bombers.
The honor of being the top rated team falls instead to Sauquoit Valley as it returns a largely intact group from last year's States 3rd place team. But the Indians will have some fairly stiff competition in Section 3 with Tully entering the season as the 2nd rated Class D team, and 2014 States champ Beaver River is a little ways back in 8th. Section 4 will also want to have a big say in the class discussions as Elmira Notre Dame and Trumansburg seem likely to engage in another heated battle in Section 4, and the two teams are rated 3rd and 4th. The other section that is always in play in Class D is 6, and Barker and Maple Grove are evenly matched and up among the lead teams. But again, with so much heavy lifting work still to be done by the Class D teams to fill out their squads, most things are a little fuzzy in our crystal ball.
The top 3 runners from last year's States race of Dawson Bathgate, Wheatland-Chili's Alex Hogue, and EMKW's Jonathan Gay have departed, which leaves Trumansburg junior Evan Whitaker as the top returning guy in the 4th place, the same one Bathgate had in 2014 before winning last year. Kyle Fulk of Norwood-Norfolk has the highest TR speed rating for this year's group, and Seton Catholic-Plattsburgh's Caleb Moore rounds out the top trio for 2016 since he finished 7th at States.
As always, Class D action will be anything but placid this year, which was also true last year even if the top team made it sound that way.
The States Class D guys head out at Monroe-Woodbury in 2015.
|Top 5 Teams at 2015 States|
|Projected Top 5 Teams for 2016 from Returners' 2015 TR Ratings|
|Projected Next 10 Teams for 2016 from Returners' 2015 TR Ratings|
East Rochester's Dawson Bathgate got his States crown in 2015 after finishing 4th the year before.