Boys Class D Preview
Last year's preseason preview talked about the likelihood for both team and individual dynastic runs in Class D. And yes, Beaver River won its 17th state championship and second in a row, while Shelter Island's Kal Lewis also nailed down his second win in his junior year.
The margins for both champions were pretty big, as the Beavers outscored 2016 States champ Maple Grove by 32-87, and on basically his home course Lewis outdistanced Beaver River freshman Colton Kempney by 14 seconds. The 3rd to 5th place teams were Delhi, Oakfield-Alabama, and Shelter Island, by a tie-breaker over Lake Placid. The 3rd to 5th runners were Beaver River's Cory Demo, Faith Heritage's Hans Matzal, and Randolph's Ronan Mcdonald.
On the bright side, Beaver River is set for its 18th States win in 2019, and there doesn't seem to be much standing in the way of another record for a storied Beaver program. On the less bright side, another big group of teams in the incredibly continuously shrinking Class D were pushed up to C, leaving the class with even fewer competitive teams in a year in which the 80 boys D teams competing at Sectionals was 40 less than the average for the other three classes.
Beaver River enters the 2019 season running basically by itself in Class D, rated among the top 5 teams in the state, and pretty much assured of taking another title. A team from Section 6, likely Maple Grove, will be battling for 2nd with a team from Section 4, almost certainly Delhi. The rest of the sections will try to field a reasonably competitive team to send to States, but after the departure of Norwood-Norfolk, Trumansburg, East Rochester, South Lewis, Cooperstown, and a group of others to C, there isn't a whole lot of content left. Only six of the 11 sections could find a team at even the minimal 125 TR level to send to States, and the situation will be worse this year. Section 8 has only sent a team twice in 25 years.
The Beavers have a relatively young lineup of mainly juniors and sophomores that should amass a few more state championships before the larder needs to be restocked. Sophomore Colton Kempney may be ready for a serious run at Shelter Island's Kal Lewis for the individual title this year after finishing 2nd, and junior Cory Demo and senior Josiah Evan are back from 3rd and 6th place finishes on a Beaver team that is fully intact for 2019.
2016 champ Maple Grove finished 2nd last year and has a solid enough group behind States medalist Pete Auer, and the Red Dragons will be favored for the runner-up spot again with a squad of almost all seniors. Delhi finished 3rd last year and returns the entire States squad on a young Bulldog lineup led by medalists Diego Aguirre and Jonathon Hadley that could offer a strong challenge to Maple Grove for 2nd.
Shelter Island's Kal Lewis will go for the triple in his senior year, but Beaver River's Colton Kempney is growing into his own as a sophomore, and this should be one of the best individual dogfights at States.Both runners are at the level where an extended run to Nationals might be on the horizon.