From coast to coast, the MileSplit Cross Country Countdown provides state previews of every state in the nation. Perhaps you're curious about Illinois or California, you could even be curious about the tiny state of Rhode Island. Whatever state you're looking for we've got it covered.
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Dominant. If there was one word to describe the New York success at Nike Team Nationals the past three years, dominant would be the word. Last year the state placed 1, 3, 5 at NTN, with Fayetteville-Manlius winning the team title, while Saratoga Springs and Burnt-Hills placed in the top five.
This fall Fayetteville-Manlius and Burnt-Hills should be two of the top squads, if not the top two, heading into NXN. F-M returns the majority of their top runners, including an amazing top five that is talented and battle tested. With one sophomore, three juniors and one senior in their projected top five, the term "dynasty" is something that could start circulating if the team wins yet another national championship. Following top runner Courtney Chapman and close #2 Hannah Luber, F-M is the odds-on-favorite to win NXN.
However, F-M will receive a challenge from in-state rival Burnt-Hills. While Burnt-Hills' 4-5 runners aren't as proven as Fayetteville-Manlius', their top three are as good as any in the country. Front runners Sam Roecker, Molly Pezzulo and Meaghan Gregory provide a powerful trio, all three being top 20 type athletes in the northeast.
Following a half-step behind is perennial powerhouse Saratoga Springs. The squad loses top runner Hannah Davidson, but returns a wealth of very young talent, including Cassie Goutos and Sydney King. Queensbury is another team to watch. Their trio of sophomores up front, led by Danielle Winslow, Brittany Winslow and Carly Wynn (pictured right), could help guide the squad to a NXN berth.
Many of the top individuals are the leaders of great teams. Roecker, Chapman and Goutos are three of the best in the state over hill-n-dale, but the top runner heading into the season is Emily Lipari (Jr., Roslyn). The talented incoming junior finished sixth last fall at Foot Locker Nationals, while earning runner-up status in the NON mile this spring and 8th in the NON two-mile. Fellow Foot Locker finalist Shelby Greany (Sr., Suffern) rides into her senior cross season with one last chance to earn a top ten finish at Foot Locker Nationals. With a great track season behind her, including some big steeplechase victories, Greany is looking like a good bet to make another trip to San Diego.
While the girls side seems to steal the show, especially over the past few years, a few top boys teams will be making noise as well. Nike Team National qualifier Shenedehowa returns a strong top four from '07, with three of the four running 9:32 or faster on the track for 3200m. The fourth runner, Jamie Glover, showed a strong consistency last fall that should help him stay with teammates Dan Harris, Brian Trainor and Mike Danaher.
Fayetteville-Manlius should also put up some low point totals. The squad, while incredibly young, with a potential top seven with no seniors, follows the lead of 9:19/4:13 runner Alex Hartz. Hartz is one of the top individuals in the state and F-M has a history full of great cross country results.
Individually, Joe Whelan (Sr., Hamburg) and Demetri Goutos (Sr., Saratoga Springs) join Hartz as potential Foot Locker or NXN individual finalists. Whelan will start the season a bit overlooked despite running 9:15 for 3200m and 9:25 for the steeplechase this spring. He failed to finish his season last year due to breaking his foot. Goutos also encountered injuries, with a groin problem this spring, but returns as one of the top Foot Locker NE returnees and ran a solid indoor season.