The NYSAIS championship at Van Cortlandt Park had some stranger things happening last year as the meet was pushed to the afternoon of Marathon Sunday to accommodate the PSAL's morning occupation of the course. The meet had a very lightly populated Unvaxed race followed by the main Vaxed race, and the favored team ran way below projections and lost but still qualified for the Federation meet as new rules kicked in for the conference. And as always, the boys race began to finish up just as the girls race took off, so attentions were divided. Expect more of the same this year.
year Trinity won the Ivy Prep race in late October by a comfortable margin, and since 2016 the victor had gone on to win the NYSAIS championship. Last year though the Tigers did not complete the deal even though their top two of Nikhil DeNatale and Ronan Luff nailed down the first two spots. Both Collegiate and Hackley ran almost exactly to form, and the Dutchmen won the title while the Hornets finished a close 3rd behind Trinity. Collegiate captured the 5th-7th spots behind senior Ben Davis and juniors Luke Noonan and Nolan White. Hackley was led by senior Brendan Distefano in 3rd and sophomore Asher Beck in 4th. Dalton and Riverdale Country Day finished in 4th and 5th.
Under the new Feds allotment for the NYSAIS, the conference got two team berths at the meet. Trinity did comparatively much better on a crowded course where teams usually see their speed ratings plunge, and the Tigers placed 23rd and DeNatale and Luff had banner days with an 8th and an 11th. Collegiate placed 28th and was led by Davis in 78th, while Distefano was the top at-large runner for the NYSAIS in 42nd.
Preseason, the order for the teams from last year's championship doesn't change much. The top three teams all lost their top runner, and both Collegiate and Trinity also lost at least one other key runner. But the Dutchmen had more depth last season, and they will start off their title defense a little ways ahead with a senior-heavy squad led by Luke Noonan and Nolan White. Trinity will have Ronan Luff as the big favorite for the individual title and will also have his freshman brother Liam back for the best 1-2 punch at the top. Hackley will have two of the top seven returning runners from last year's championship as Asher Beck and Travis Knaggs are expected to be fronting the Hornet efforts.
Trinity's Ronan Luff should inherit the champion's mantle from his teammate Nihil DeNatale in 2022, and we could also be seeing a big leap for his brother Liam in his freshman year after a 10th place in the NYSAIS. After Ronan Luff, the next highest rated runner is Sebastian Margette of United Nations International School who did not compete with his team in the NYSAIS race last year. Top returners from the championship include Hackley's Asher Beck, Collegiate's Luke Noonan and Nolan White, and Poly Prep's Kofi Rossi, who finished 9th last year.