In the Oz-like world of the NYSAIS that incorporates blue-stocking prep schools, an old-style new-style convent school, a couple of progressive alternative schools, largish college preps, a French cultural immersion campus and the United Nations school, all we can intone for this year's review is "Lions (Marymount) and Tigers (Dalton and Trinity) and Bears (Brearley), oh my," with a nod also to the Cardinals (Convent of the Sacred Heart) and Gators (Chapin). Things get wild here, as the last six championships have included five different winning teams, and the only school to win twice during that period (Poly Prep) was able to field just one runner for the 2021 meet on Marathon Sunday. This year should be much the same.
Last year after the almost complete shutdown for NYSAIS runners during the pandemic crisis in 2020, matters returned more to normal for the conference. One huge difference for the NYSAIS though was that two tickets for the Federation championship were now available for the teams instead of just the one pass for the championship squad. The two favorites, Dalton and its star sophomore Naomi Gomel swept the team and individual crowns as the Tigers won the league championship for the first time. Gomel charged out to a huge early lead but got a surprise challenge from Hewitt sophomore Maya Levine and won by a second. Seniors Eve Spencer of Hackley, Dominga Rivera of Marymount, and Taylor Harris of Convent of the Sacred Heart finished 3rd through 5th.
Dalton scored 84 points at NYSAIS to win by 15 points, but the contest for the second Fed spot was fierce as CSH was at 99, Trinity at 100, and Brearley at 101, with Hackley a little further back at 111.
At Feds, Dalton and CSH had respectable 25th and 27th place finishes in the huge 31 team field on the hilly Bowdoin Park course where teams generally see their speed ratings plunge on a crowded trail. Gomel again led the NYSAIS contingent with a 93rd place, and Rivera was next at 106th.
When the reigning champs have all of their top 7 runners back from last year, they are going to be the favorites again. Dalton not only has NYSAIS champ Gomel back, but it has a quartet of other top 30 returners led by 13th-place junior Zoe Lester.
Trinity finished a close 3rd last year and lost lead runners Andrea Becker and Isabelle Ewing to graduation, but the rest of the Tiger top 7 are back led by Isabella Solomon and Anura Bracey who were 18th and 19th last year. Last year's runner-up Convent of the Sacred Heart lost top runner Taylor Harris, but the rest of the top 5 are back led by 17th-place Eva Alicea, so the Cardinals should be contenders. Marymount also should be a contender due partially to some new blood coming aboard.
Junior Naomi Gomel will be looking to defend her title and move up in the state rankings. The closest competition is likely to be last year's runner-up Maya Levine along and Marymount junior Tess O'Donoghue along with her now teammate and rising freshman Harper Conboy.
girls AIS squads are always hard to get a handle on in the preseason
because their small squads tend to be volatile projects in development
and because for many teams the only meet they run in that is speed rated
is the NYSAIS championship, and some teams find it difficult to be in full
blast mode early on Marathon Sunday.
Top 5 Teams at 2021 AIS Championship
Top 6 Teams from Last Year's Speed Ratings (TR) and Compression
Top Returning Runners by Speed Ratings (TR)
Note that Mirembe Mubanda received a 108 speed rating last year from various races in the area, but she does not appear to have run in any speed-rated meets as part of the Ethical Culture-Fieldston school she attends. Also, a number of top athletes that have been linked to Convent of the Sacred Heart on this and other sites are actually members of Sacred Heart - Greenwich CT, formerly CT's Convent of the Sacred Heart.