Class C Preview
|2017 Season Overview for Class C|
Watkins Glen had almost a fantasy year in 2016 as East Aurora was moved up to Class B just as the Senecas were ready to put all the pieces together for one gigantic season that culminated in a a States C win and a Federation championship over the big guys. So now with three of Watkins Glen's top 4 moved on and the Seneca's sparring partner Mount Academy almost cleaned out of varsity members, what lies in store for the reigning champ Senecas and the rest of the state Class C teams?
First, the scene has shifted a bit because the 3rd place team at 2016 States, Addison, has moved down to Class D along with a handful of others such as Falconer and Lansing. Moving down to C from B will also be a few teams that will have some impact such as Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Glens Falls. Rather than Class C shaping up as a two-way battle between powerhouses Watkins Glen and Mount, 2017 looks to likely be a more even battle at the top, though both the Senecas and Eagles will be among the favorites. The overall talent in the class is maybe a notch higher than last year, but it is spread out over many more teams. Very few of the top Sectional battles besides S4-C and S9-C are well defined with a big favorite, but this year should be a time of extreme competition throughout the state.
Watkins Glen lost three States medalists with the graduation of Patrick Hazlitt, Shawn Rutledge, and Samuel Hanley, but the rest of the Class C teams would all love to have a returning top trio of Gabe and Aaron Planty and Sean Holland. The Senecas likely won't be winning a repeat Feds title, but they are still a big favorite to win another States title. If two of their younger runners make the big leap in their sophomore and freshman years, we might even be revising the statement about Feds.
Almost the entire varsity lineup of the States runner-up team was swept clean by graduation, but again there will be few teams buying any hard luck stories coming out of the Mount. The Eagles have another big group of seniors ready to go, as the JV squad that dominated the Orange County competition will be joining the lone survivor from the graduation epidemic, Adam King, and times will be good again there. From Section 1, Pleasantville was runner-up at Sectionals last year, and the Panthers could be among the top three teams at States if enough of last year's guys come back. Another team to keep an eye on is Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, which ran in Class B last year and has States finalist Owen Walker leading the team.
The top seven finishers at States were seniors, and the battle to replace Ryan Gallagher seemed then like this year's contest would be between the two Gabes, Planty from Watkins Glen who finished 8th and Stash from Marcus Whitman who was 14th. But Glens Falls' senior Chris Hughes is back down in Class C where he finished 9th in 2015, which he followed last year with a 3rd at States B. VVS's Owen Walker also has dropped down to C, and though he finished much further back at States last year, he did finish 3rd in the S3-B race. Gabe Planty's senior brother Aaron and Putnam Valley's Conor VanRiper are also back from top-20 places in the States C race.
|It was a senior crowd at the head of the States C race last year, with CBA's Dominic Morganti, Briarcliff's champion Ryan Gallagher, and Clinton's CJ Militello in front early on.|
|Top 5 Teams at 2016 States|
|Projected Top 5 Teams for 2017 from Returners' 2016 TR Ratings|
|Projected Next 10 Teams for 2017 from Returners' 2016 TR Ratings|
The States C race came down to a duel between CBA-Syracuse's Dominic Morganti and Briarcliff's Ryan Gallagher, and Gallagher made the break to win by more than 12 seconds.