2018 NY Boys XC Preview: An Overview

New York State XC Season Guide - Boys 2018

New York State XC Season Guide - Boys 2018

Season Intro

Run, Get Title, Repeat

The preseason view for the 2018 NY XC season has a lot that looks familiar to it, and a few conferences are headed by teams that sport about the same speed ratings as they had going into 2017. Three of the four winners of last year's States Class races are either decided favorites or among the top two picks for the championship this year. Outside of the NYSPHSAA state championship, only one of the winners in New York City and Buffalo region conferences looks set to repeat, but all of the favorites are traditional powers. The teams that went 1-2-3 at NXN-NY last year are the same ones that are picked to be tops there in 2018, though not in the same order as last year's finish.

Familiar Territory in Strange Times

Last year Corning repeated as States A champ by edging out Fayetteville-Manlius by 2 points, and then the teams reversed positions at NXN-NY and the Hornets went on to pull off the interesting feat of finishing 2nd at both States and Nationals, while the Hawks placed 12th. Burnt Hills dominated Class B and was the top-rated team in NY for much of the season while impressively winning the McQuaid-AAA, Suburban Council, States B, and Federation races before dropping back a bit at NXN-NY and finishing 3rd. The other repeat champions in the state-level conferences were Xavier in the CHSAA and Trinity in the NYSAIS. New leaves were turned over in States C as Mount Academy replaced Watkins Glen, Beaver River won its 16th boys States title in the D race after an interminable three-year wait, Susan Wagner overcame Brooklyn Tech for the PSAL title, and St. Francis ended St. Joseph's long reign in the Buffalo-area All-Catholic championship.

Kicking off the 2018 season, reigning B champ Burnt Hills again enters the year as the top rated team with their top 4 back and 7 of 8 overall. With a speed rating 2 points higher than in preseason 2017, Burnt Hills looks well positioned for another big run in 2018 and will look to adjust the development cycle of 2017 that saw the Spartans rise to a high of a 180 TR speed rating in their fourth meet at Suburban Council, plateau at 177 for Sectionals, States, and Feds and then plunge to 171 in the one loss of the season at NXN-NY. Last year Burnt Hills began the season rated 16th in the nation, and this year the Spartans are projected at #3. After winning at States by a giant 66 points, Burnt Hills could well exceed that margin this year, as 2nd-rated B team Pearl River is far back.

The two NXN visitors of 2017 again appear to be set to battle it out among the Class A teams, which constitute the rest of NY's preseason top 10, also including Class A-sized CHSAA favorite Saint Anthony's. Fayetteville-Manlius is rated #4 in the nation after finishing 2nd at NXN last year, and it has a bit of a gap over the rest of the Class A teams. Reigning A champ Corning has a small edge over Saratoga for the next spot, and Smithtown is close behind in the fourth spot. Things will be interesting at the nine Sectionals for the A teams, as only FM, Corning, Smithtown, Clarence, and Arlington are favored to repeat in their sections.

Class C will have a new States champ this year after last year's dominating Mount Academy was sent up to Class B, though for the Eagles it will mean the chance to some year become the first team to win state championships in three different classes. Potential favorites in C are too many to mention, so we'll just mention James O'Neill, Saranac Lake, Hannibal, Bronxville, Marcus Whitman, Dobbs Ferry, and Watkins Glen. In the other small class, reigning champ Beaver River has a huge gap over Maple Grove, Sauquoit Valley, Oakfield-Alabama, and Maple Hill as the Beavers go for title number 17.

Longtime powerhouse St. Anthony's looks set to capture the CHSAA title and end a depleted Xavier's two-year reign at the top, though the Knights remain in contention in a conference that lost its top six runners to graduation. Brooklyn Tech returns just about everybody from last year's PSAL 2nd place team and is a big favorite there. Trinity has a strong shot at a third straight title in the NYSAIS with a nearly intact team. Out west, St. Joseph Collegaite has restocked a bit after being wiped out by graduations following the 2016 season, and the Marauders hope to pillage another title in the All-Catholic Monsignor Martin championship.

Individual Initiatives

The three guys who finished 2017 with 190+ speed ratings are graduated, taking with them their trophies from six major championship wins: Pittsford Mendon's Nathan Lawler (States B), Ithaca's Silas Derfel (McQuaid AAA, States A), and St. Anthony's Mason Gatewood (Manhattan Eastern States, CHSAA, Federation). Stepping into the spikes of the 2017 Big 3 this year will likely be FM's NXN-NY winner Garrett Brennan, Saratoga's Shea Weilbaker, Burnt Hills' top duo of Tyler Berg and Aidan Gillooley, Maine-Endwell's Parker Stokes, and Guilderland's Noah Tindale among the seniors and Warwick Valley's Behailu Bekele-Arcuri, FM's Geoff Howles, and Shelter Island's Kal Lewis of the junior contingent. FM's Peyton Geehrer is the top returning sophomore.

As always, this year's previews live on the data fed us by Bill Meylan of the Tully Runners website, and we devote seven sections to the teams of the NYSPHSAA's A, B, C, D  classes and the New York City and Buffalo combined Catholic CHSAA and the NYC public PSAL and independent AIS groups. Another big year with some big surprises are coming. But please, no more mud bowls at States, which fortunately Sunken Meadows can pretty much guarantee for this year.

Cheers to yet another XC season like no other.

The NXN-NY leaders line up tickets for Nationals.

Top NY Teams for 2018

TeamClassTR Average from 2016
1. Burnt HillsB173.4
2. Fayetteville-ManliusA172.0
3. CorningA167.8
4. SaratogaA166.8
5. SmithtownA165.2
6. GuilderlandA162.6
7. ShenendehowaA161.8
8. ClarenceA161.0
9. BaldwinsvilleA160.0
10. St. Anthony'sCHSAA158.8

Next:  Frontier, Arlington, Brooklyn Tech, Pearl River, Trinity, Irondequoit, Liverpool