With many teams in the Northeast opting to not run Nike Team National Regionals Saturday in New York, the fields are quite small when compared to some other regions. The Northeast and New York Regionals are combined, which makes the day seem a little bit brighter. The race of the day comes in the New York girls championship race where three U.S. Power Rankings ranked teams are entered, led by U.S. #1 Fayetteville-Manlius. See who else is competing!
Road to Portland: NTN Northeast/New York Regional Previews
Location: Wappingers Falls, New York
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Boys Northeast Preview
U.S. #3 Danbury RC (Danbury H.S., CT) leads the charge into Saturday's action as the heavy favorite to win the Northeast Boys race. The talented squad follows the lead of senior Matt Terry and Willie Ahearn, both athletes looking to place in the top five. The strength of Danbury comes in their tight knit pack. While they have front runners, their also strong in the 4-5 positions.
The biggest challenger on paper to Danbury comes from U.S. #6 Du Hast RC (North Penn H.S., PA). The team from Pennsylvania enters the race after an impressive season that saw the squad put up some fast numbers at multiple events. North Penn easily won the AAA state title at their state meet and looks poised to make a strong run at a national berth.
Providing the largest challenge to these two will come from U.S. #7 Brookline TC (Brookline H.S., MA). Brookline crushed the competition all season in Massachusetts. Led by senior Robert Gibson, the squad uses a strong top four to push away from other teams. However, their fifth runner is a ways back when compared to Danbury's.
While Danbury, Du Hast and Brookline are the obvious choices to earn trips to Portland in a week's time, Germantown Friends (PA) is another squad that could sneak up to grab a spot. Earlier in the season Germantown Friends nearly beat Danbury, which should give this squad confidence that they can run with anyone. They are led by senior Max Kaulbach.
Another team with a strong shot of earning one of the two bids comes from the state of New Jersey. Bosco XC Club (Don Bosco H.S., NJ) ran through the competition all season long in New Jersey. Their big 69-150 win over Christian Brothers at the New Jersey Meet of Champions means a lot. Junior Robert Molke leads the way.
Girls Northeast Preview
Hanover's Georgia Griffin leads the way for her squad
While the boys race is deep with talent, the girls Northeast field is a bit less compact up front. Hanover RC (Hanover, NH) and Hunterdon Hawks TC (Voorhees, NJ) are easily the best two teams in the field on paper. Both are led by Foot Locker quality talent and both have strong packs behind them.
Hanover follows the direction of senior star Georgia Griffin, who has been running incredibly well this season, landing her in the top ten of the MileSplit Foot Locker National Power Rankings. The Stanford-bound runner leads a strong pack of seven, which has served them well all season. Impressive performances at the Manhattan Invitational, their state meet and the New England Championships give this team a lot of confidence.
Hunterdon won the New Jersey Meet of Champions last weekend, which looking at the results indicates that they are ready to run fast Saturday at Bowdoin State Park. The team's leader, senior Melanie Thompson, runs as one of the top runners in the country and leads some strong talent behind her. Both Hunterdon and Hanover's packs will be fighting it out for the win.
Suamme XC Club (Emmaus H.S., PA) and Glastonbury XC (Glastonbury H.S., CT) are two teams with a shot to upset. Glastonbury finished second behind Hanover at the New England Championships behind a strong tandem up front. Their senior leader Kristin Mitchell should finish in the top eight or so. Emmaus uses a strong pack, one that led them to the AAA state title at the Pennsylvania State Meet. The team has experience.
Girls New York Preview
The race of the day comes in the New York Girls Championship. U.S. #1 Stotan XC (Fayetteville-Manlius H.S., NY) leads the way, crushing competition in record-breaking fashion all season. The team is led by freshman Courtney Chapman who won the New York Federations last weekend, while three other sophomores make up their top four. It will be hard for any team to beat this squad.
Behind Stotan are runners from U.S. ranked Kinetic RC (Saratoga Springs, NY) and Burnt Hills - Balston Lake TC (Burnt-Hills H.S., NY). Saratoga follows the lead of senior star Hannah Davidson, with a talented pack behind her. Burnt-Hills has run well all season long, but doesn't have the same consistency of the other two. Sam Roecker leads the way for the team as a potential threat to win the individual title.
Greenwich and East Aurora are two other squads that challenge the field. Greenwich's season is progressing better than some thought from their early performances. Senior Caitlin Lane gives the squad a much experienced from runner. East Aurora uses a strong pack following senior Jenna Hulton.
The past three years New York squads have dominated the fields at Nike Team Nationals. Expect at least one other team to receive an at-large berth after the two automatic qualifiers earn their spots Saturday. New York is the place to be in the country Saturday, and this race is the highlight.
Boys New York Preview
The top boys teams in the New York Regional come from a trio of schools. Warwick Valley comes in as the favorite after running some solid performances this season. Alex Leuchanka and Mike Fox lead the way for the squad, but the team will have challengers from perennial power Shenendehowa and Queensbury.
Shenendehowa won the New York Federation meet last week by quite a bit. A 33 second split helps this team and should help them quite a bit in the small field Saturday. Led by junior Jamie Glover, Brian Trainor and Mike Dawaher, Shen. is the easy favorite to knock off front running Warwick Valley.
Queensbury is the third squad to make a run at a NTN berth. This team finished second behind Shenendehowa at New York Federations. Their senior leader is Matt Flint, who needs to finish in the top few scoring positions if they hope to qualify.