Sectional Showdown: Girls' Breakdown

Perry King is webmaster of section1/ NYS running, and contributor to the MileSplit network.  You can find more of his writing here.

Boys Article to come tomorrow.

Spanning Thursday, November 3 to Saturday, November 5, 2011 

State Qualifiers Overview - Girls and Boys General Outlook

Weather permitting, between Thursday and Saturday, teams from 11 sections will hold State Qualifiers to determine the 82 teams and total of almost a thousand runners who will be trekking through the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill trails on November 12.

Among those 82 girls and boys contests, there will be some races in which one team will be running basically unchallenged or as a prohibitive favorite. At the other end, there will be races so tight that the 6th runner will be needed to see who gets a ticket to States. Last year in the 5-class era, of the 86 races run in the sections that held separate class contests and generally have more than two teams competing against each other (not S8 or S10), there were 12 races that were won by 6-10 points, 10 by 2-5 points, and 1 by 1 point (Girls S7-C), plus 2 more that needed tie-breakers (Girls S9-B and Boys S11-D). So all told, more than 1 out of 6 races had at least two coaches with hard-bitten nails and clumps of hair missing.

This year much of the best NYS postseason action will again be occurring at State Qualifiers. 20 of the 82 matches previewed here have been selected for the eXCite award (10 boys and 10 girls), marking those viciously competitive races that should be especially fun to watch, even if some have no potential impact on what team will win at States.

Thanks to NY Milesplit for being a bedrock for NYS XC and to all the sites that have run through hoops to bring us all the action. Special thanks to that guy up at Tully who provides the TR numbers that sites like Section 1 NYS Running and those of us who do state rankings depend on, and without Bill Meylan there would be no joy in Mudville or Snow City. Lastly a big shout out to the tens of thousands of runners who created another great season in NYS XC. And a tip of the cap to all those top teams and runners who gave it their best shot but bow out short of States even though almost everybody knows you should be there. You're in good company, since in 1995 a national champion from NY was shut out of their state championship. Here's to the courage for change and doing the right thing for the runners.

In the previews below, I have tried to list where possible at least the top two teams in an SQ contest, though in a few cases finding a second team was a bit of a reach. The team order is based on TR speed rating averages and doesn't necessarily reflect who will be favored in a race, since sometimes the TR score is skewed by elite runners who just count as one runner each in the teams score. I have also gleaned the names of up to 20 of the top runners in each class (limit of 7 per team) from the Tully Runners States Leaderboard.

On the girls side, a number of teams will be trying to extend Sectional championship streaks that stretch back more than ten years, and one of which goes back to a time when Jimmy Carter was President and kids were seeing Scooby Doo, the Dukes of Hazzard, and Nickelodeon for the first time. The 5 States champions from last year -- Fayetteville Manlius, North Shore, East Aurora, Bronxville, and Maple Grove -- should have easy passages to V-V-S, but because of the change to 4 classes, many of last year's Sectional winners are in a desperate squeeze and may not move on. And if there is any race that truly reaches the marvelous level, it's gotta be S6-C, which is not only a close contest but also has a situation so unique that I can almost guarantee that it will never be repeated. Great stuff in great times. Cheers!