Preview for Burnt Hills Invitational With Big Stakes

Girls DIII

Teams:  Saratoga (118.2), Shenendehowa (115.6), Niskayuna ??? (107.8), Burnt Hills (101.2), Washingtonville (96.0), Pittsford Sutherland (94.2), Colonie (90.0), Fairport (87.8), Rush Henrietta (82.8), Burlington, VT (81.2), Ballston Spa (80.4), Essex, VT (78.8), Guilderland (73.0)

Individuals: Ella Kurto (Saratoga) - 136,  Jada Dennis (Shenendehowa) - 128, Hannah Belleville (Shenendehowa) - 126, Liyat Kebbede (Niskayuna) ??? - 123, Catherine Mongan (Saratoga) - 121, Mia Paolino (Burnt Hills) - 119, Anya Belisle (Saratoga) - 114, Jade Dennis (Shenendehowa) - 113, Sheridan Wheeler (Saratoga) - 113, Emily Berg (Burnt Hills) - 112, Erin Boler (Niskayuna) ??? - 112

BreakdownSaratoga and Shenedehowa appear to be set for a cataclysmic showdown two weeks before the Suburban Council meet in a DIII race that is exploding with talent. The 2nd-ranked Blue Streaks and 3rd-ranked Women of Shen are very closely matched and both have had some huge wins this season. Toga took strong victories at Guilderland and Ocean State, and Shen followed up a win at Queensbury with an upset of the nation's top-rated team Beavercreek at McQuaid. Head-to-head, if you pitted the season's speed ratings against each other Saratoga would win 25-30, but the score would be reversed if you used the ratings from the teams' last meet, so this race in a big field could go either way.

Besides the top two teams, there are plenty of other big names in a lineup that potentially includes 5 of the top 20 NY Class A teams plus two of the top 5 B teams. Niskayuna is ranked 7th in NY-A but is listed for both the Manhattan and Burnt Hills meets, so the Silver Warriors might only have a JV squad at Saratoga Spa Park. But Class B's 2nd ranked Burnt Hills and 5th ranked Pittsford Sutherland will be at the meet along with highly ranked Washingtonville and Colonie. The host Spartans won the race last year, and Ballston Spa's Faith Demars came in 1st by 27 seconds.

Demars will be away and not able to defend her title this year, but  there will be a pack of contenders fighting for the top spot. Saratoga's Ella Kurto won at both Guilderland and Ocean State, and she has a big advantage in the speed ratings. Jada Dennis and Hannah Belleville of Shen and Catherine Mongan of Saratoga and possibly Liyat Kebbede of Niskayuna if present will also be near the top as they all sport 120+ TRs.