2017 PSAL Championship Preview

The PSAL schools will have a public showdown on Saturday morning at Van Cortlandt Park, and there are a lot of intriguing questions to be answered and quests to be completed.

First off, Brooklyn Tech finds itself in a unique position, as both the boys and girls teams are favored to win not only the boys and girls team titles, but Engineer frontrunners Evan Sherman and Aziza Chigataeva are the top-rated runners going into the race. During the last 11 years for which we have PSAL XC championship records, no school has swept the team titles.

Even picking up both the team and individual title on either side has been tough, and the only time a girls team has done it is Curtis and top runner Shannon Browne back in 2008. Stuyvesant performed the feat a little more recently for the guys, last year with Kiyan Tavangar the champ and in 2010 behind Konrad Surkont. Curtis also pulled off the double with Keith Stapleton in 2006, but were a point behind Brooklyn Tech when Keith's brother Dean won the PSAL title in 2009. So yeah, BTech will be trying to make a lot of history on Saturday.

Second, Susan Wagner team enters the championship perhaps a little in the shadows of BTech as the second-rated team in the speed ratings on both sides, but the margin is not very large, and the girls were actually the top scoring team in the the PSAL Boro merge results. Could it be the Falcons pulling off a team double this weekend instead?

Finally, there are the questions about last year's champions. Shayla Sanders of Young Womens Leadership is the sole individual champ back from last year, and though she enters the race as the 3rd-rated runner, can she make up the difference to get a repeat title like Dewitt Clinton's Aaliyah Regg Wajid in 2015? Stuyvesant's guys have a young team and are rated around 5th coming into the race this year, but can they make the big leap for a third straight title? And Benjamin Cardozo lost its frontrunner to injury a few weeks ago and dropped out of the favorite's role for the girls title, but can the Judges pull the 5th spot on the team up enough to contend again?

Lots of good stuff to chew on there going into the PSAL championship. Note that there will also be an Individual race held for runners from teams that did not qualify for the Team race.

Apologies to all the speedy runners who do not quite fit in the Top Runners list for their section, but we needed a limit. For those left out, use our ignorance of your prodigious talents to unleash your inner kraken at the championship.

As always, please note that neither the speed-ratings-based listings of teams nor the 5K time virtual meet scores are meant to be exact predictions of how a race will turn out since there are many unknown factors at work here. The virtual meets based on 5K times are never a very good summary for any XC event, and teams that run mainly 4Ks at VCP will not find a huge amount to go by. But use the links to the 5K scorecard if you wish to get some minimal information about the teams.

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