Boys Class C Preview
A season of twists and turns in Class C ended at Sunken Meadow with a young Saranac Lake team putting a dominating stamp on the States C race by taking a 31-83 victory over Westhill. The Red Storm joined the quartet of States boys team winners who combined averaged 27.5 points, by far the lowest ever at a state championship where the A, B, C, D winners were all far ahead of their fields.
The Red Storm was paced by sophomore James Catania in 9th place, one of four sophomores along with senior Anderson Gray among the team's scoring 5. Behind Westhill there was a close battle as Irvington was 3rd at 118, Port Jefferson won a tie-breaker over Newfane for 4th at 119, and James O'Neill was 6th at 124.
Bronxville's Matt Rizzo captured the individual win in a dogfight with fellow Section 1 senior Sean Gardiner of Croton Harmon. Watkins Glen junior Gabe Planty was 3rd, and Matt's twin Alex Rizzo place 4th. Windsor junior Josh Stone in 5th was the only guy running with a team among the top 8 finishers.
When a team of basically sophomores wins a state championship, the rest of the teams in the Class let out a big "Oh-oh." Saranac Lake is perfectly set up for a three-year run of States titles, and in 2019 the Red Storm will have the added advantage of having the championship less than an hour away from home on the Section 7 hosted SUNY Plattsburgh course.
The now junior quintet of James Catania, Peter and Andrew Fogarty, Micah McCulley, and Tucker Jakobe are back for another States campaign for Saranac Lake. Catania finished 9th last year and Peter Fogarty and McCulley also were medalists in the top 20. Perhaps the only saving grace for the Red Storm's Class C rivals was that not only did the champs lose long-time leader Anderson Gray to graduation but also the "Big Guy," sometimes football quarterback Jacob Alberga who cut a very imposing presence on the trail.
With last year's States runner-up Westhill losing its top 2 to graduation, the three teams that appear to be running closest to Saranac Lake are the 3rd-4th-5th teams Irvington, Port Jefferson, and Newfane. Irvington's States top-30 guys Ryan Flanagan and Alex Bjorgvinsson are back to try to lead the Bulldogs to Plattsburgh from a tough S1-C. Port Jefferson is looking to make its 29th States appearance (in four different Classes) behind juniors Grant Samara and Brian Veit. Newfane's Austin Burkard finished one place short of a medal at States last year as a freshman, and he hopes to lead the Bulldogs to their third consecutive top 5 place.
The other half of the eight Class C teams profiled here are ones that finished far back at their Sectionals last year but may be returning a decently strong contingent this year. Pleasantville behind States medalist Aidan Lynch and Pawling behind senior Alex Petruso and the young brother act of Noah and Caleb Brightman are looking to make things hard for Irvington in Section 1. Springville was way back in 6th in the S3-C last year, but seniors Brett Russell and Jared Hecht are seeking to lead the Griffins to their first Sectional title. Gabe Planty won a state championship with Watkins Glen as a freshman in 2016, and now in his senior year he is the top returner from 2018 and may have enough guys coming back to get the Senecas the ride to States.
Watkins Glen's Gabe Planty finished 3rd behind Matt Rizzo and Sean Gardiner at Sunken Meadows, and he is the big favorite to speed to the win at Plattsburgh. With Windsor's Josh Stone moving up to Class B, the other two top 10 finishers from 2018 are Adirondack senior Tyler Fauvelle and Saranac Lake junior James Catania.