Girls Class C Preview
Greenwich moved back up to Class C and dominated at States with a 38-105 victory over old rival Bronxville. The Witches captured their third C championship after collecting four D titles between 2008 and 2016. After narrowly losing the States D race in 2017 with only star Brynne Wright finishing in the top 10, Greenwich put their stamp on the top of the 2018 C race by packing four runners into the top 10. Clinton finished 3rd, and Newfane, Mattituck, and Lansing were fairly close together in 4th, 5th, and
Clinton senior Eva Borton ran away from the field to win by 40 seconds one year after finishing 2nd to Hayleigh Palotti. Borton was not yet done for the year either, as she went on to place 8th at NXR-NY to qualify for Nationals, where she finished a strong 55th. North Salem's Ava Jolley finished 2nd at States, Brynne Wright led the Greenwich champs in 3rd, and Saranac's Rachael Woodruff was 4th.
Class C is in a state of craziness, so before delving into the Teams report, let's review some of the weird elements here.
- Among the five teams rated at the top of Class C for 2019, not one finished in the top 5 just two years ago in 2017. Compared to the much more stable conditions in the other classes, this situation is insane.
- Among the winners of States C titles during the last decade, only Greenwich with its title last year is among 2019's projected top 5 teams. This is unusual.
- Despite the departure of champ Eva Borton and also 6th place finisher Kimberly Goerss to graduation from last year's race, 12 of the runners listed among Class C's Top 20 returning runners for 2019 are credited with having finished in the top 10 of their races at States. Something is odd there.
- On the flip side, the returning States Top 20 medalists from last year's C race could reasonably all expect to appear in this year's listing of Class C's Top 20 returning runners and move up with the departure of four seniors, but five of last year's medalists don't make the cut (Clinton's Madison Luke, 11th; Dobbs Ferry's Phoebe Ward, 13th; Schuylerville's Sunni LaBounty, 15th; Oyster Bay's Greta Flanagan, 16th; Canton's Arianna Whittaker, 19th). Very weird.
- The fastest runner of the list of the Top 20 returning C runners finished 5th in her States race last year, but the list includes two runners who finished 2nd, two who were 3rd, and two who took 4th in their States races in 2018. Mind-boggling and confusing.
Class C has clearly gone mad, even though Greenwich is the one 2018 States champion that appears very likely to repeat among the four classes. As to the reasons for the crazy stuff above, all will be revealed in the next section.
Greenwich has moved back and forth between Classes C and D over the years, collecting seven state championships along the way. Last year following a disappointing 2nd in States D, the Witches were ready to fly on a nasty Sunken Meadow course that crushed the speed ratings out of a number of other teams that were unfamiliar with Snake and Cardiac hills. This year with the entire States team back including top 10 finishers Brynne Wright, Nina Sgambelluri, Teagan Wright, and Emma Cronin, Greenwich should be flying even faster and higher at Plattsburgh as four seniors make their adieus.
The only sign of potential trouble for the Witches following their year of domination revolves around the shakeup in Section 3. Camden with a strong top trio of Elizabeth and Morgan Lucason and Haley Hinds finished 2nd to CBA Syracuse in S3-B, and South Lewis with a top trio of Lexi and Brynn Bernard and Hannah Ielfield who finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the States D race was runner-up to Tully in S3-D. Both Camden and South Lewis will be battling each other in Class C this year, and though both the Blue Devils and Falcons need a lot more depth for their small teams, this year's competition could well generate a serious challenger for Greenwich at States.
Other teams from last year's States that could well be again making the trip to Plattsburgh include Mattituck (S11), Lansing (S4), Saranac (S7), Newfane(S6), and Bronxville (S1). Section 5 will be up for grabs as Addison and Harley-Allendale-Columbia try to unseat Waterloo following the graduation of the Indians' top duo.
Three of the top four favorites for this year's Class C title were not in the race last year, and 2018's C runner-up and top returning runner from the race Ava Jolley of North Salem is not even among the top quartet though she has a solid shot for the win. The early favorite is Camden sophomore Elizabeth Lucason after a 5th in the B race last year. South Lewis's Lexi Bernard and Hannah Ielfield finished 2nd and 3rd in the States D race, and they are also expected to contend for the crown. Greenwich's senior leader Brynne Wright would like an individual title after two 2nds and a 3rd in the last three years, and her sophomore teammate Nina Sgambelluri is also on the rise. In her home-section Plattsburgh course, Saranac senior Rachael Woodruff should be in contention after a 4th in the C race last year.
At Sunken Meadow, a bunch of the top rated Class C runners had very tough days on the course's two evil hills and they finished a couple of minutes off their usual pace. Plattsburgh's flat speedway should be much less of an issue this year as long as runners get out fast but keep their early pace under control.