Girls Eastern States Preview


Girls Eastern States Championship Race Preview

Saturday, October 2, 2010.  Van Cortlandt Park -- the Bronx

by Perry King /


The ground will shake and the back hills will rock and roll around quarter to three on Saturday at Vanny. Some might say its bombastic hyperbole to suggest that the Richter scale will be jumping due to the feet of 140 or so runners who in stature more resemble elves than elephants, but consider the hard evidence. When US #1-ranked Aisling Cuffe leads the charge to the Cowpath for the Eastern States, she will be at the forefront of the following:

·       The top 3 US ranked teams, and 5 of the top 14.

·       The top-rated team from 6 different states (NY, CA, DE, PA, MD, VA), and if LaSalle (RI) could switch over from race B, it would be a full XC 7.

·       16 teams that are highly ranked in easily found national or state ranking lists, and 4 remaining ones that have at least one top runner.

·       23 of the top 72 runners from the most speed-loaded state (NY) in girls HS running, as listed by Tully Runners

·       And of course there’s that long shadow from the aforementioned Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall, which could stretch back about 13 Tully Rating (TR) points, maybe 32 seconds or 160 yards on the VCP 2.5 mile course at the finish. Carly Seymour’s 2007 meet record of 13:55.27 is in big danger on the expected nice-weather spell for Saturday, as Cuffe seeks to become the 3rd girl under 14:00 after a 155 TR-rated 14:03.28 to win the race in 2009.


Recent History Snippets – 5 years of Fast and Faster

Since the Manhattan College Invitational meet kicked off in 1973 and the girls started becoming a force after Stony Brook’s Laura Whitney started making waves around 1979, the Manhattan Invitational has grown into one of the top 3 meets of the HS XC season prior to the nationals. One of the 40 races scheduled to start go off every 5 to 12 minutes like a well-oiled machine designed to keep feeding the screaming masses near the finish or on the Cemetary Hill overlook. The transformation has been especially huge for the girls, whose longtime featured Eastern States race has exploded from a big-status 10-team race just 5 years ago to a showdown of national powers with around 20 teams today.

The modern era actually kicked off in 2004 when the perennial girls national superpower Saratoga Springs (NY) won the Eastern States one last time and their top runner, Nicole Blood, crushed the 14:00 barrier with a time around 13:57 or 13:58. That set the stage for the next five years of fast developments, a period that spans the running experiences of a number of this year’s seniors, including Nanuet’s Hannah DeMartino who ran in a soggy 2005 Intermediate race. The favorite team almost always wins, but I well remember being camped out in 2006 next to a little-known team with a funny name that suddenly erupted in a frenzy when results were posted and they learned they’d accomplished the impossible and beaten the giants in the Eastern States. Now Midlothian is a household—or maybe tenthold—name at VCP.

The Manhattan has also become the best event to read maxims about the joys of pain, the virtues of crazed toughness, and the eternal question of whether fast girls have good times – all displayed proudly on the backs of Saturday’s warriors. And never does Teenage Wasteland (Baba O’Riley) fill the air with so much majesty.



Top 5 teams: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius 22, 2. Saratoga Springs 80, 3. Queensbury 111, 4. Tatnall 140, 5. Monroe-Woodbury 140

Top 10 runners: 1. Aisling Cuffe, Cornwall 14:03.28; 2. Hannah Luber, FM 14:26.16; Courtney Chapman, FM 14:26.73; and 4. Molly Malone, FM; 5. Jillian Fanning, FM; 6. Brittany Winslow, Queensbury; 7. Brianne Bello, Saratoga Springs; 8. Mackenzie Carter, FM; 9. Keelin Hollowood, Saratoga Springs; 10. Danielle Winslow, Queensbury

Also of note: NYS Class B champion Megan Young (9th grade) of Nanuet won the A race; Laura Leff (8th grade) of West Genesee won E race.



Top 5 teams: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius, 2. Tatnall, 3. Queensbury, 4. Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa, 5. Lincoln Sudbury

ES race Winner: Melanie Thompson, Voorhees 14:12.79

Top time: Emily Jones, Bromfield 14:12.62, in A race

Also: converted sophomore race-walker Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall won C race in 14:36.88



Top 5 teams: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius, 2. Saratoga Springs, 3. Hanover, 4, Voorhees, 5. Shenendehowa

Winner: Carly Seymour, Central Cambria, 13:55.27 (meet and course record)



Top 5 teams: 1. Midlothian, 2. Eleanor Roosevelt, 3. Saratoga Springs, 4. Hilton, 5. Tatnall. A very young FM finished 6th in a final quiet time before the tidal wave hit and took them to the national title in the NXN Nationals later that year.

Winner: Hannah Davidson, Saratoga Springs, 14:14.6



Top 5 teams: 1. Saratoga Springs, 2. Hilton (NXN 2005 National Champ), 3. Suffern,  4. Warwick Valley,  5, Eleanor Roosevelt. Perennial small-school power Bronxville finished 7th in 10-school race, with FM finishing 8th.

Winner: Aislinn Ryan, Warwick Valley 14:04.2. Ryan was the Footlocker National champ in 2004 and would take 3rd at the Nationals in 2005. Meet was held in monsoon conditions, making Ryan’s time all the more extraordinary.


Team Previews

20 teams are slated to run in the 2010 Eastern States, 11 from NY and 9 from other states. NY runners can all be previewed through Tully Ratings, but information on teams from elsewhere can be a little more challenging to dig up. The CA Milesplit site showed US #3-ranked Great Oak as the 4th-rated CA state team, which is surprising until you realize that they are represented in the standard 5K rankings by a secondary squad that appears to be the only ones on the team to run a 5K race. There are a few questions on runners who have not raced in a while. Numbers in parentheses following runners are TR ratings, either the standard composite for NY runners or a meet score from an available race for other regional runners.


The five national ranked teams according to Harriers are: Fayetteville-Manlius (1), Saratoga Springs (2), Great Oak (3), Tatnall (10), Queensbury (14).

Top 12 by TR speed ratings, with assumed rankings:



Saratoga Springs


Great Oak (CA)


Pennsbury (PA)


Midlothian (VA)


Tatnall (DE)




Randolph (NJ)


St. Anthony’s


North Rockland


Warwick Valley


Monroe Woodbury



Teams previewed by race position order.


Cornwall (NY)

Overview:  9th ranked Class A NYS team with the nation’s #1 runner, Aisling Cuffe. Cuffe won the 2009 Eastern States race, the NYS Class A championship, and finished 4th at the Footlocker Nationals. Cornwall was 9th in last year’s race.

Roster:  Aisling Cuffe (160), Michelle Lujan (108), Dara Cuffe (88), Keila Sheetz (86), Megan O’Donnell (82)

Team Data: 101.6 TR. Finished 13th in Great American Race of Champions (NC) in last race.

Comments: Don’t usually make risky picks, but I’m going to predict Aisling Cuffe wins Eastern States race. Seymour’s 3-year-old record will go, too.


Midlothian (VA)

Overview: 2006 Eastern States champion and the #1-ranked team in Virginia. Finished 7th in last year’s race. 

Roster:  Claire Benjamin (127), Kari Johnston (126), Krista Willard (124), Kara Dickerson (123), Marie Johnston (113)

Team Data: 122.6 TR. Finished 2nd to Saratoga Springs by 53-114 at recent Great American Race of Champions

Comments: Not expecting repeat of 2006, but team should be in top 7.


West Genesee (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 19th in NYS Class AA and led by freshman Laura Leff, the 8th rated runner in NYS.

Roster:  Laura Leff (144), Anna Leo (100), Abby Kastick (92), Kelly Powell (80), Amy Hannahan (66)

Team Data: 98.4 TR. Finished 8th in McQuaid-AAA race

Comments: Leff won race E last year and now will get a chance to battle for a top 10 finish in ES race.


Fayetteville-Manlius (NY)

Overview:  #1 in everything, and 4-time reigning NXN Nationals champ. FM has won last 3 Eastern States races.

Roster:  Christy Rutledge (147), Jillian Fanning (143), Katie Sischo (140), Katie Brislin (137), Heather Martin (117). 2009 frontrunner Courtney Chapman has no official TR yet.

Team Data: 136.8 TR. Sole varsity result was a 1st in Chittenango-1 race back on 9/11 during FM’s standard light September schedule.

Comments: The names change a bit, but FM is hugely favored to win 2010 ES with only Fanning being among the currently rated team members who were among the team’s top 5 in the 2009 ES. Sischo was team’s top runner at Nationals and clinched the team’s perfect-15 score in the States AA race last year, though, and 2009 NYS-AAA champion Courtney Chapman is still to run. This is the 11th anniversary of FM’s Laurel Burdick’s victory in ES.


St. Anthony’s  (NY)

Overview:  Top ranked NYC Catholic school and #6 NYS Class AA team.

Roster:  Lauren Lavoro (122), Gabriella Vezza (119), Victoria Ciotti (99), Sloane Russ (87), Lauren Fontana (85)

Team Data:  102.4 TR. Finished 1st in St. Anthony’s A-1 race as host at Sunken Meadows, beating #12 NYS-AA Ward Melville by 1 point.

Comments: Top two runners should keep them in the race.


Saratoga Springs (NY)

Overview:  #2 team in US and NYS behind that Section 3 menace FM. Finished 2nd at NXN Nationals last year as Kinetic team. Last won ES in 2005, the same year that team’s Hannah Davidson won individual title.

Roster: Margaret McDonald (138), Keelin Hollowood (138), Sydney King (135), Amanda Burroughs (133), Estela Smith (125)

Team Data: 133.8 TR. Finished 1st in Great American race of Champions.

Comments: Going in, Saratoga’s speed ratings are fairly close to FM’s, but FM will likely be displaying more firepower at the Eastern States than they did at Chittenango. Hollowood finished 9th in ES last year.


Geneva (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 13th in NYS Class B, and the small school representative in this year’s race. Frontrunner Christine Driscoll is #1 in NYS-B and was runnerup in a ferocious NYS Class B championship race last year.

Roster:  Christine Driscoll (145), Alison Lockwood (107), Michelle Collins (77)

Team Data:  TR not applicable here.  Finished 10th in McQuaid-AA race.

Comments: Definitely the underdog in the race, but Driscoll will have the chance to battle for a place among the top 10 runners.


Warwick Valley (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 12th in NYS Class AA. Finished 2nd in D race last year. WV’s Aislinn Ryan won race in 2005.

Roster:  Jacqueline Kasal (123). Katie Fitzgerald (118), Taylor Pierce (99), Victoria Dearing (85). Morgan Mendrzycki (85)

Team Data:  102.0 TR. Finished 11th in Great American Race of Champions.

Comments: Should probably finish in middle of the pack.


Great Oak (CA)

Overview:  Ranked 3rd nationally behind Fayetteville-Manlius and Saratoga Springs, and is #1 in CA after finishing runnerup by 1 point in state’s Div. 1 championship in 2009.

Roster:  Anna Johnson, Katie Johnson, Jessica Hilton, Pauline Mandel, Emery Shannon

Team Data:  Finished 1st at the Woodbridge Classic on 9/18.

Comments:  Great Oak has a roster size that any local Catholic school would love to see. About 250 girls are listed, and the team’s frontrunners, Anna and Katie Johnson, have 6 other teammates named Johnson on Great Oak, which sounds like something out of the movie Blazing Saddles. How they stack up against FM and Saratoga is hard to tell, but this team is very good.


Holy Trinity (NY)

Overview:  Unranked but the team has one of the top NYC Catholic school runners, Colleen Schmidt.

Roster:  Colleen Schmidt (118), Caroline Brown (94), Marianne Bartolotta (78), Maria Waxman (47), Anna DellaRatta (48),

Team Data:  77.0 TR.  Finished 4th in St. Anthony’s A-1.

Comments: Join St. Anthony’s in representing the NYC Catholic schools.


Queensbury (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 14th in US, 5th in NYS, and 1st in the NYS Class A. Won the NYS-A championship in 2009 and finished 7th in NXN Nationals as Adirondack team.

Roster:  Brittany Winslow (145), Danielle Winslow (134), Jolie Navatka (119), Tiffany Pierce (102), Celine Dreitline (94)

Team Data: 119.2 TR. Finished 1st in Green Mountain Lake-Championship race.

Comments: Danielle Winslow is working her way back to the top beside sister Brittany, so Queensbury may not be quite in the top 5, but they should be close.


Tatnall (DE)

Overview:  US #10 team and top team in DE. Tatnall finished 4th in ES last year and 2nd the year before.

Roster: Reagan Anderson (138), Haley Pierce (137), Kate Hastings (114), Lauren Blackwell (110), Julie Williams (99)

Team Data: 119.8 TR. Finished 1st in the Salesianum Championship race and in the Briarwood Championship race.

Comments:  Has a couple of wins in big regional meets, so Tatnall should be among the top teams again.


Mount St. Mary (NJ)

Overview:  New Jersey Catholic school that is unranked and a little overmatched.

Roster: Sara Glockenmeier (102), Amanda Williams (78)

Team Data: TR not applicable here. Finished 8th in NJ Shore Coaches Championship race

Comments: In for the action.


Walt Whitman (MD)

Overview:  Rated 1st in Maryland.

Roster:  Anna Ryba, Amanda Ryba, Alexandra Phillips, Caroline Elmendorf, Elizabeth Frank.

Team Data: No TR available. Finished 4th in Octoberfest-A race.

Comments: Decently strong team but appears to be running without one of its top 2, Amanda Ryba, in last two meets. If both Rybas are running, Whitman should be among the top 10 teams.


Monroe Woodbury (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 20th in NYS Class AA.

Roster:  Meaghan Ventarola (110), Sabrina Brooks (106), Kelsey Esselman (100), Christina Clarkin (100), Randi Gomez (92)

Team Data:  101.6 TR. Earlier in the year defeated nationally ranked Queensbury on their home course, though Q. was missing Danielle Winslow.

Comments: MW may be looking to make a statement about their low NYS ranking after two weeks off.


Pennsbury (PA)

Overview:  Top ranked team in PA.  Won F race in 2009.

Roster:  Sara Sargent (146), Ann Herman (124), Anastasia Diamond (107), Morgan Perry (104), Erica Gray (104)

Team Data: 127.0 TR. Won Paul Short-Brown race.

Comments: After a string of impressive runs and a top runner who can bust into the top 10, PA’s top team may be ready to break into the top 5.


North Rockland (NY)

Overview:  Ranked 10th in NYS-AA. Won last year’s D race.

Roster:  Alexis Hatcher (115), Ellie Hekker (113), Kristin Schnalzer (97), Jessica Falcon (95), Kailey Dwyer (92)

Team Data: 102.4 TR. Took 1st in Grout-2 race.

Comments: After a relatively slow start, the Red Raiders got things rolling last weekend just in time for the Eastern States.


Eastern Christian (NJ)

Overview:  Unranked but game.

Roster:  Kristen Traub (116), Kayla Van Lenten (53)

Team Data: TR not applicable.  Finished 6th in NJ Shore Coaches meet.

Comments: Eastern States for Eastern Christian, and Traub will place pretty high.


Archbishop Carroll (PA)

Overview:  Unranked but also game.

Roster:  Elizabeth Tauber (106), Sara Stifler (79), Taylor Battaglia (73), Rebecca Driver (68),

Team Data: 75.4 TR. Finished 24th in Paul Short-Brown race.

Comments: If you come to NYC, might as well run with the best.


Randolph (NJ)

Overview:  Ranked #4 in NJ. TRs for team taken from earlier Randolph Invite.

Roster:  Joelle Amaral (136), Samantha Jones (117), Rebecca Snelson (101), Marianne Loeken (97), Jennifer Zackowski (91)

Team Data: 108.2 TR. Placed 3rd in NJ Shore Coaches-A race.

Comments: Perhaps top runners were just not pushed in last race, but speed ratings were way down. The Eastern States tend to get the ratings going back the other way. Randolph is the highest rated NJ school at meet.