Boys Class A Preview
Team Snapshots - Individual Snapshots - Section by Section - Top Team Breakdowns
Graduation hit most squads pretty hard last year -- four of the top 6 gone here, top runner gone there. So this will be a big rebuilding year for a lot of teams whether they be state champions or squads that finished at the bottom. And every hard-hit coach who is sunk in misery can take comfort that he has a lot of company, and that things will be getting a lot better by season's end.
Corning returned to the top at States intersectionals, where it had last been during the consecutive years 2015 and 2016. The Hawks were well out in front led by Eastbay Nationals senior finalist Jack Gregorski who was also the States champ. The champs also included senior Matthew Gensel who finished 15th, and a pack of juniors led by Ashton Bange in 4th along with Tevin McClaren, Gabe Cornfeld, Joshua Beres, and Marcus Homa.
The reigning 2019 champ Fayetteville-Manlius finished 2nd to Corning with junior Anthony Otis on the lead in 8th. Just 4 points behind the Hornets in 3rd was Shenendehowa led by senior medalists Nathan Brimhall and Michael Clay. Rounding out the rest of the nine-team field were Northport, Webster Thomas, Clarence, Monroe-Woodbury, Mamaroneck, and Calhoun.
The top Class A team at the Federation championship behind champ Burnt Hills was FM, and Niskayuna was 5th. The Spartans were also the winners at the NXN-NY regional, which was lightly attended because of the lack of Nationals, and 2nd place Corning was missing Gregorski who was qualifying for Eastbay Nationals on that day.
Only five of top 20 runners at States are returning, and 27 of last year's top-40-rated runners were seniors. That gives a pretty clear picture of where teams are at entering the season. In previous years, losing Gregorski and Gensel from the champion team would have put Corning in a position where some team would be stepping up to challenge Hawks with at least as strong a group of returners. But as 2022 is set to begin, the closest team to Corning is last year's runner-up Fayetteville-Manlius squad that sits an average of 9 speed ratings back and appears to have far less depth.
Corning will again dominate in Section 4 with last year's junior pack of Ashton Bange, Tavin McClaren, Gabe Cornfeld, Marcus Homa and Joshua Beres back as sage seniors and junior DJ Cornfeld bringing the top group up to a solid, nicely compressed top 6. FM's squad headed by a top trio of Anthony Otis, Nolan McGinn, and a well-recovered Ben Perry will be facing some threats in Section 3 from West Genesee and Baldwinsville while it searches for more depth.
Beyond the two top teams representing Sections 4 and 3, the questions for the other seven sections are many and for the most part murky. Only States 7th-place team Monroe-Woodbury and 9th-place Calhoun are heavy favorites to return to States from Sections 9 and 8. Shenendehowa in Section 2 should get a strong challenge from Saratoga, Guilderland and a few other teams in a very tough conference. Reigning S5-A champ Webster Thomas has Fairport gunning for it, Clarence could see a challenge from Orchard Park in Section 6, Northport could be vexed by rivals Bay Shore, Ward Melville, and Smithtown in Section 11 and Mamaroneck will be tested by both North Rockland and Arlington in Section 1.
The red pepper icons used to mark hotly contested state qualifier races could be used indiscriminately in the previews in early November, so take precautions to protect yourself.
Jack Gregorski has moved on along with last year's 2nd and 3rd places States finishers Ryan Bush of Saratoga and Julian Franjieh of Niskayuna. Again, one of the top two returning guys is from Corning, 4th place finisher Ashton Bange, and top rated Peter McMahon of West Genesee who was the S3-A champ. The Section 3 state qualifier could be especially tight this year since the next two highest rated guys are Anthony Otis of FM and Solomon Holden-Betts of Baldwinsville.