The States XC championship at Monroe-Woodbury HS in Central Valley in 2015 had a lot of just plain nastiness. We're not so much talking about the battles between the runners but about the course itself, which had a lot of pockets of pure evil with names such as the Face Plant and a section of woods on an up slope that became known as the Vomitorium during the wretchedly hot Pre-States meet in September.
The mix of team and individual championship contests was inspiring. Three seniors used their final visit to States XC to capture titles in dominating fashion. North Shore's Diana Vizza kicked off her big senior year as she took the B race by half a minute and interrupted 3rd-place Shoreham-Wading River's Katherine Lee's march to three titles in her four HS years. East Aurora's Sophia Tasselmyer completed a double-double championship haul with the Blue Devils, though this time her margin was half a minute and EA won by 43 over Bronxville after a skimpy one-second win for Tasselmyer and 3-point edge for the team in 2014. In Class D, Hamilton's Sage Hurta went out an easy winner for the third time with a repeat title that came five years after her win in 2010 as a 7th grader, youngest in NY history.
That only leaves Class A, which had no seniors in the top 5 and was the only thriller at the end. Fayetteville-Manlius 8th-grader Claire Walters was one year too old to match Hurta's mark of 2010, but she held off a hard-charging Jessica Lawson of Corning by 0.3 seconds, a repeat 2nd for the junior after finishing as the runner-up to Arlington's Bella Burda in 2014 and taking the Class B win in 2013 as a freshman. Walters joined Tasselmyer as a double winner on the day with an FM team that was on its way to a ninth national championship. The Class A race included two other eighth graders in the top 10 who would make some noise in the years ahead, Suffern's Mary Hennelly in 5th and North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy in 10th, while Saratoga freshman Kelsey Chmiel was 3rd. Down in D, a precocious 7th grader from Tully named Brooke Rauber also got a 3rd to set herself up for an unprecedented four States titles in a row in the years ahead, stopped only by a pandemic from likely making it a record five.
The team battles were split between close and wide margins. FM scored only 28 points while winning by 49 points over Saratoga in Class A. John Jay-Cross River behind Gemma Nuttall's 2nd place finish furthered its odd-years big performances following a Feds win in 2013 with its first States win by 19 in Class B over future 2016 winner Shoreham-Wading River and with another to come in 2017 for JJ-CR. In Class C, East Aurora won big as Fiona Danieu was runner-up to team leader Tasselmyer, and in Class D a trio of eighth-grade Witches in the top 14 (Brynne and Brooke Wright and Emma Cronin) led Greenwich to a fairly narrow win over Rauber's Tully team, with 2013 champ Hope Pietrocarlo running for 3rd-place Maple Grove in 5th in her senior year as she completed six top-5 States finishes from 2010 to 2015.
At Monroe-Woodbury we were just allowed to film the finishes, and the Class D film was shot with a back-up camera in strong winds with some heads to shoot over. Apologies for any quality issues. A page is devoted to each race. As for the guys of 2015 States --- next week's Flashback Friday.