2019 NY Girls XC Preview: AIS

AIS Preview

Top Team Breakdowns

2018 Recap

Last year after a series of ACIS and Ivy Prep meets with some excursions to major meets like Manhattan and Brown, the AIS teams got together again on the morning of Marathon Sunday to sort out who would be the winner in this true potpourri of independent schools. The previews had Poly Prep with a bit of an edge over Trinity, with Hackley, Marymount, and Convent of the Sacred Heart finishing out the top 5. For the most part the AIS was very well behaved, as Poly Prep captured its second title in three years by 65-81 over Trinity. Maryount, Hackley and CSH finished further back in 3rd, 4th and 5th, and Spence and Chapin were 6th and 7th.

Marymount sophomore Lauryn Heskin repeated as AIS champ, outdistancing 2016 winner senior Olivia Curran of Hackley by 17 seconds. Three other seniors, Mary Kate McGranahan of Trinity, Eloise Freitag of Spence, and Katherine Kenny of Poly Prep were 3rd, 4th, and 5th.


Two facts stand out from last year when projecting the 2019 AIS season. Half of the top 10 and top 20 runners of 2018 graduated, and Marymount was the lone top 5 team to exceed projections at the AIS championship last year. Coupled with the fact that the Lions were the only team among the top 4 that did not lose one of its top 3 finishers at the meet or two of its top 4 rated runners from 2018, it adds up Marymount being the favorite in a fairly competitive AIS in 2019.

Already with two AIS titles under her belt, Lauryn Heskin has no clear contender anymore at the top of the AIS, and though her Marymount team still needs a lot of filling out and more consistency, AIS 14th place finisher sophomore Dominga Rivera should provide a strong leader for the support group behind Heskin.

Chapin finished a ways back in 7th last year with a few runners having tough days, but sophomore Allegra DeCherrie and senior Isobel Porteous are among the AIS's top 10 returners and lead a Gator team that has everyone back.Reigning champ Poly Prep lost Katherine Kenny and Shania Smith from last year's team, but seniors Jenna Denaver and Alice Cutter can be expected to stay lean and hungry for their third AIS championship team for a Blue Devils team that just needs some development at the back to rise to the top of the AIS again. 2017 AIS champ Convent of the Sacred Heart lost longtime standout Fiona Calcagnini, but the Cardinals have a trio of Amelia Neumann, Mia Conte, and Taylor Harris back from the top 30 of last year's AIS meet and will also be looking for help at the back.

As usual, the AIS title is up for grabs, and a few key additions could send any of the contenders to the top.

Top Runners

Lauryn Heskin has dominated the AIS lately, and now it is just a question of whether she will be the tops among the NYC area runners of the AIS-CHSAA-PSAL leagues and also get a ticket to Foot Locker Nationals. Though the top 7 runners from last year's NYC group are all back, Heskin led them all when she finished in 13th at Foot Locker NE, three spots out of a Nationals berth.

Poly Prep senior Jenna Denaver returns to lead her Blue Devils champs for another campaign. Two sophomores leading perennial contenders include Hackley's Eve Spencer, though her Hornets need a big rebuilding job, and Trinity's Cornelia Carragher, whose Tigers are in the same position as the Hornets. Two other runners from the AIS championship with speed ratings above 90 include Allegra DeCherrie of Chapin and Elizabeth Mauro of Lycee Francaise.

Preview Notes

The girls AIS squads are always hard to get a handle on in the preseason because their small squads tend to be volatile projects in development and because for many teams the only meet they run in that is speed rated is the AIS championship, and some teams find it difficult to be in full blast mode early on Marathon Sunday. The speed ratings are best estimates that are partially based on AAIS and Collegiate meets that were not scored and the scored Ivy Prep and AIS championships plus a few major meets such as Manhattan and Brown. Federation places are just a footnote this year about qualification due to last year's snow-out.

Top 5 Teams at 2018 AIS Championship

Poly Prep 65Trinity 81Marymount 118Hackley 135Convent of the Sacred Heart 161

Top 5 Teams from Last Year's Speed Ratings (TR) and Compression

Marymount 70.4 (85)
Chapin 70.0 (53)
Poly Prep 65.0 (72)
Conv. Sacred Heart 61.4 (44)
Hackley 53.8 (80)

Top Returning Runners by Last Year's Speed Ratings (TR)

NameTeamGradeAIS PlaceSeason TR
Lauryn HeskinMarymount111120
Jenna DenaverPoly Prep126102
Eve SpencerHackley10899
Allegra DeCherrieChapin10995
Alice CutterPoly Prep121191
Elizabeth MauroLycee Francaise111090
Isobel PorteousChapin121288
Cornelia CarragherTrinity112085
Dominga RiveraMarymount101482
Toni DaCostaDalton121682

Top Team Breakdowns