2022 NY Girls XC Preview: Class A

Girls Class A Preview

Team Snapshots - Individual Snapshots - Section by Section - Top Team Breakdowns

As with everyone else in XC, the girls of Class A are on the long road back from 2019 as the small rosters and diminished speed ratings show.  The fall of 2022 promises a hopefully final step in bringing it all back.

2021 Recap 

Saratoga picked up where it left off and went one better in 2021 as it also recaptured the state championship it lost to Fayetteville-Manlius on the ice fields of Plattsburgh in 2019. Even if there was no NXN nationals meet to visit after a win at NXN-NY, the Blue Streaks had a pretty complete year. Ella Kurto and Mackenzie Hart had their final treks around NY's XC trails, and Emily Bush, Alycia Hart, and Sheridan Wheeler established themselves as the new Saratoga leaders, pushing their team to a sweep of the States, Federation, and NXN-NY titles.

Elsewhere, there was both old and new sights to see. FM won its 16th straight Section 3 Class A title and then finished 2nd at States and also at Feds in its first appearance there since a dominating win in 2007. Northport with the generous contributions of the local Wickard family made its first trip to States since 2013 for a 3rd place finish. Karrie Baloga led Cornwall to 4th place, the Green Dragons first run in the Class A race since the 2010 end of the 5-class era that included an AA group. Corning in 5th and Syosset in 9th were making repeat trips to States from 2019, but Churchville-Chili in 6th was making its first States appearance, Clarence in 8th was there for the first time since 2013, and Suffern in 8th was back for the first time since 2014.

FM freshman Izzy Sullivan beat out Saratoga's Emily Bush in the States race, and then Baloga topped Sullivan at Feds, and Bush led a group of Blue Streaks in the top 5 places at a lightly attended NXN-NY race. William Floyd freshman Zariel Macchia led an NY Class A quartet of qualifiers at Eastbay Northeast regionals with a 2nd, as Baloga took 5th, Rome Free Academy senior Emily Toth-Ratazzi was 7th, and Ursuline senior Daphne Banino was 8th. Baloga led the group at Nationals with a 4th and Macchia was 12th, Toth-Ratazzi 29th, and Banino 37th. Earlier in the year, Baloga and Macchia went 1-2 in the Manhattan Eastern States race, and Corning sophomore Sarah Lawson won the McQuaid AAA race.


Eleven teams entered the 2019 season sporting 100+ average speed ratings for their returning top 5, and in this year the number is six. Clearly there is a requirement for some heavy lifting in the development area before NY XC is resuscitated to its former powerful state. The top programs are less affected by the pandemic slide, and maybe Section 2's Class A could use a slight drop in its insanely high level of competition. Expect some huge jumps, big surprises, and a blitz of new names in the action this year.

Saratoga begins the year as the favorite for not only the NY competition but also a repeat of its seemingly now long ago win at NXN Nationals with a very young team led by sophomore Ella Kurto. Gone now along with two other members of that team, Mackenzie Hart and Catherine Mongan, Kurto will witness the exploits of the rest of that champion squad as Emily Bush, Sheridan and McKinley Wheeler, and Anya Belisle join with Alycia Hart in the quest for Saratoga's third official (NXN race determined) national title to go along with untold number from the pre-2004 poll based years.

S3-A will be contributing a suspenseful battle hearkening back to recent times when Fayetteville-Manlius got a big challenge from Liverpool. This year's challenger to FM's sectional streak will be a Cicero-North Syracuse team that returns not only high-flying sisters Kate and Gabby Putman and senior Marissa Navarra but also gets a gigantic boost by the addition of track superstar Hannah Boyle for her senior year and a hugely promising 8th grader Sophia Graham. FM does not exactly have a bare cupboard since States champ sophomore Izzy Sullivan and 6th place senior Hannah Kaercher are back, but the Hornets will need some development behind #3 senior runner Isabella Adrian to hold off the Northstars.

Besides Saratoga, S2-A has eight other projected top 25 teams, none of whom likely will be allowed in at States even if they pick up some huge wins as did Bethlehem at Manhattan last year. The Eagles along with Shenendehowa, Shaker, and Niskayuna joined the Blue Streaks among the top 8 teams in last year's final overall state rankings. It will probably be the same this year as Bethlehem, Shen, and Shaker sit in the 4th through 6th spots in the rankings.

The biggest change after the A-B-C-D reclassifications for 2022 is that last year's 4th place team in States A Cornwall has moved back down to Class B where it won a title in 2018.


Cornwall and Karrie Baloga's move to Class B took away one of the top challengers to the reigning champ FM sophomore Izzy Sullivan. Her senior Hornet teammate Hannah Kaercher should be among the leaders, and William Floyd sophomore Zariel Macchia should challenge after her 12th place at Nationals. Saratoga has Emily Bush, Sheridan Wheeler, and Alycia Hart ready to take the lead whenever needed, but the Blue Streaks have many candidates for a win on any given day. The big unknown is what the tandem of CNS's Hannah Boyle and Kate Putman will do after a 1-2 finish in the outdoor States 1500m. Success as always is 90% perspiration, but an inspiring teammate can make that remaining 10% factor very big.

Finally, it should absolutely be noted that senior Connor Thomas is the leader of the guys' Webster Thomas team, and senior Rachel Webster is among the top runners on the girls' Webster Thomas team. Further developments on this matter will be followed during the season.