39th Annual Manhattan Invitational Girls' Letter Race Previews

All this week, MileSplit NY will be running previews for one of the biggest meets in the city, outside the marathon.  All opinions presented below are those of Perry King, creator of http://section1-nys-running.com .  Stay tuned for more pre-meet coverage as well as extensive on-site coverage of The Manhattan College Invitational on Sunday, October 9th.

Sunday, October 9, 2011. Van Cortlandt Park -- the Bronx.  Starting Times: 2:58 - 3:58


Besides the championship Eastern States race, the Manhattan Invite will also include 6 other girls' varsity races identified with letters from A to G, and starting every 12 minutes. More than 190 teams will be running in the varsity letter races. The statistics included below are largely based on the NY teams, who generally take most of the top positions in the non-Eastern States races. Data for teams outside of NY and NJ is tougher to find because many of their states' XC sites are restrictive and some of the teams have not yet run.

The top teams in the A-G races appear to be a trio of small schools, Bronxville, Greenwich (NY), and Mount St. Dominic (NJ). There are a lot of big name runners, two of whom have won NY State titles and four of whom won Manhattan Invite races last year, but the top four as estimated by TR are Bronxville's Mary Cain, North Penn (PA)'s Meghan McGovern, Greenwich's Victoria Houser, and West Windsor - Plainsboro South (NJ)'s Caroline Kellner. Cain and Kellner will be battling in the E race. Overall, the races seem to fairly evenly distribute the goods, and a number of intriguing matchups have been arranged. The top power team battles within races will occur in the last two, as Class C Bronxville takes on Class A Suffern and Class B Nanuet in the E race, followed by NJ's Mt. St. Dominic taking on Cicero-North Syracuse and Northport in the F race. Catch all the great action starting just before 3:00.

Numbers in parentheses following teams and runners are the Tully Runner speed ratings, estimated as best as able.

Race A

Time: 2:58

Teams at the Top: Academy of the Holy Names (104.0), Colonie (99.4), Guilderland (95.6), Warwick Valley (94.8), North Rockland (93.2), John Jay - East Fishkill (71.4)

Runners with Hops: Tara Hanley - Chatham-NJ (128), Leah Triller - Holy Names (122), Jenna Robinson - Guild (111), Jackie Malecki - Col (110), Katie Fitzgerald - WV (110), Catherine Maloy - Holy Names (109), Claire Gomba - JJ-EF (108), Alexis Hatcher - NR (107), Kaylee Scott - Holy Names (105), Darby Ginley - WV (104), Jacqueline Willsey - Holy Names (103), Ellie Hekker - NR (102), Katie Scillaci - Col (101), Chrissie Herkenham - Guild (100), Kerri Butler - Notre Dame (100)

Overview: NYS-B #7 Holy Names will be favored here because of the strength of its top two runners, though Catherine Maloy has not yet returned to top running form alongside Leah Triller. NYS-A #13 Colonie has good depth and could overtake Holy Names if there is enough of a gap ahead of Holy Names' 5th spot. The battle for the 3rd to 5th places between NYS-A #23 Guilderland, Warwick Valley, and NYS-A #20 North Rockland should be spirited. 2010 F-race winner Tara Hanley of Chatham has been running well, but Triller should give her a strong challenge.

Race B

Time: 3:10

Teams at the Top: Greenwich - NY (112.0), Niskayuna (97.6), North Penn - PA (89.2), Falconer (81.8), Lowell - MA (77.0)

Runners with Hops: Meghan McGovern - NP (137), Victoria Houser - Gr (135), Madeline Montague - Gr (122), Nicole Bubie - Fal (112), Shannon Murphy - Fal (112), Sarah Lapham - Gr (111), Felicia Sciortina - Nisk (110), Rachel Brown - NP (109), Victoria Spezio - Gr (107), Leigh Ann Labate - Nisk (105), Robin Wagner - Brighton (105), Shannon Trent - Nisk (104), Erin Donovan - Low (104), Kristen Holmberg - Fal (102), Danielle Skufca - Nisk (101), Amber Goodspeed - Middletown (100)

Overview: As the #2 Class C school and second strongest team in the letter races, Greenwich appears to have an overwhelming advantage here. Niskayuna has very good depth and should take 2nd ahead of North Penn, whose top runner, 2010 E-race winner Meghan McGovern, will be going head to head with Greenwich's Victoria Houser for the individual crown in what could be the best matchup of the day.

Race C

Time: 3:22

Teams at the Top: Liverpool (97.2), Monroe-Woodbury (92.0), Cornwall (89.4), Howell - NJ (88.4), Washingtonville (80.8), Pawling (76.6)

Runners with Hops: Lauren Hehir - Wash (117), Meaghan Ventarola - MW (116), Christina Melian - Susan Wagner (109), Keila Sheetz - Corn (108), Tiana Guevera - Miller Place (107), Taiya Williams - Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (106), Naomi Burnett - How (106), Ashlin Conroy - Kellenberg (105), Talia Guevera - Miller Place (104), Kelly Lavan - Sachem North (102), Caroline Diffender - Liv (101), Paige Cloonan - Fox Lane (100), Lauren Trumble - Liv (100), Jessica Turner - Liv (100)

Overview: NYS-A #16 Liverpool appears to have switched from the Eastern States to Race C, and it seems to have a pack that should get many places in the 10-20 range, which should be enough to win a race that may be a little less loaded than the others. Lauren Hehir of Washingtonville and Meaghan Ventarola of Monroe-Woodbury can have another Section 9 duel at the top.

Race D

Time: 3:34

Teams at the Top: Pearl River (104.6), Shaker (101.4), Bayport-Blue Point (95.4), St. Anthony's (95.0), Bethlehem (89.6), Mountain Lakes - NJ (83.0), Lakeland-Panas (77.6)

Runners with Hops: Collette Richter - ML (125), Molly Shine - PR (124), Mary Anna Lansing - Shak (123), Kelly Hayes - PR (113), Payton Czupil - Shak (100), Katie Sroka - BBP (113), Courtney Dooley - BBP (107), Kerri-Ann Flynn - StA (106), Danika Jensen (104), Maria Kohlbrenner - PR (103), Christina McFarlane - Beth (102), Ceili McMorrow - PR (101), Katherine Loomba - Ardsley (100) 

Overview: This appears to one of the tightest races, with four teams grouped within 10 TR points of each other at the top. NYS-B #5 Pearl River has been developing quickly and should be able to place four runners in the top 15, which should be enough to outdistance NYS-A #9 Shaker, NYS-B #11 Bayport-Blue Point, and NYS-A #10 St. Anthony's. A three-way duel at the top with Mountain Lakes' Collette Richter, Pearl River's Molly Shine, and Shaker's Mary Anna Lansing seems a good possibility.

Race E

Time: 3:46

Teams at the Top: Bronxville (113.0), Suffern (106.2), Nanuet (100.2)

Runners with Hops: Mary Cain - Brx (145), Caroline Kellner - West Windsor - Plainsboro South-NJ (134), Ursula Svoboda - Suf (127), Megan Young - Nan (126), Meredith Rizzo - Brx (123), Kate Zendell - Suf (121), Amy Irving - Connetquot (115), Natalie Tanner - Rye Neck (115), Juliana Narcucci - Riverhead (112), Mary Welsh - Manhasset (112), Mary Kate O'Meara - Nan (109), Jeanette Cudney - Cazenovia (104), Megan Pierce - Christian Brothers Acad (103), Taryn Colon - Suf (102), Courtney Campbell - Brx (102), Amelia Phillips - Brx (100)

Overview: This race has the least depth but also the most explosive trio of top teams. Three NYS Section 1 powers with TRs over 100 square off with NYS-C #1 Bronxville appearing to have the advantage with their top duo and supporting depth over NYS-A #11 Suffern and NYS-B #10 Nanuet. Bronxville's Mary Cain is ranked #18 in the nation, and along with teammate Meredith Rizzo, the pair heads an elite group that includes WW-PS's Caroline Kellner (2nd to Shenendehowa's Lizzie Predmore in 2010 B-race), Suffern's Ursula Svoboda (2nd to Sachem East's Rachel Paul in 2010 C-race) and Kate Zendell, and 2009 Class B champ Megan Young of Nanuet. After the Eastern States, this should be the best race of the day.

Race F

Time: 3:58

Teams at the Top: Mount St. Dominic - NJ (109.6), Cicero-North Syracuse (104.4), Northport (98.6), Brewster (83.8), St. John Villa (83.4), Tappan Zee (81.6)

Runners with Hops: Ariana Bottalico - Brew (126), Brigid Brennan - Np (124), Amanda Corbosiero - MSD (123), Rachel Christ - Rumson-Fair Haven (118), Jacqlynn Halstead (117), Nicole Watterud - CNS (115), Caroline O'Hea - Ward Melville (115), Kelsey O'Driscoll - MSD (113), Sarah King - Dobbs Ferry (110), Meagan Jaskot - TZ (107), Kathleen McCurdy - MSD (106), Sarah Workman - MSD (106), Katherine Doyle - Sleepy Hollow (105), Victoria D'Amato - Np (104), Danielle Vazquez - CNS (103), Gabrielle Pallotta - East Syracuse - Minoa (101)

Overview: At full strength, Mount St. Dominic had a very impressive performance in the New Jersey Shore Coaches championship race last weekend, almost knocking off highly ranked Voorhees. NYS-A #5 Cicero-North Syracuse should challenge for the F title though 2010's outstanding frontrunner Maria Lamontagne (2010 A-race winner) is just beginning to battle back from injuries. NYS-A #12 Northport could also be in contention.  Brewster's Ariana Bottalico has been having a spectacular year, and she will try to hold off Northport's Brigid Brennan and MSD's 2010 D-race winner Amanda Corbosiero.