Section 1 Championship Preview
The battles for the Section 1 Class C championships on Friday, November 2 at Bowdoin Park are a tale of two very different races. On the girls side, most of the uncertainties have been removed and all that remains to be done is crown the Bronxville squad and wish good luck to the likely candidates for the remaining 5 spots on the the section's state championships squad. On the boys side, nothing is certain, the race lineups are a bit of a mystery, and the Eagles have an outside chance for a team championship or two placements on the state meet's squad.
The results of the Coaches Meet on October 20 is probably the best guide for looking for the potential outcome of the Sectionals because the course is the same and most recent race, the Westchester County Meet, has unusable boys' results from Van Cortlandt due to officials' screwups again. Dobbs runners will be racing at Bowdoin for the 3rd time this year, and the hill has become a familiar object in their memories and maybe their nightmares.
After losing Lauren Hanley to a foot injury before the County meet, the girls are likely looking at a 7th or 8th place finish. Their place at the Coaches meet was 5th among the the 1-C teams for 1-C-only results. But with the loss of their captain and the likelihood that Hastings will finish 5 runners this time, the Eagles will probably slide back two places. Croton Harmon could also challenge the Eagles if they finish 5 and their 3-5 runners don't drift too far back.
Based on some huge performances in the County meet, many of the runners should improve significantly on their Coaches race times if they work the hill well. Sarah King and Sarah Coburn may be able to up their 22:40s times to something below 22:30, Karen Maehara may find a home around 22:40, and the four-pack of Sofia Maluf, Isabella Natale, Rebecca Wiersma, and Mary Constant could be in for great times if Rebecca can pull everyone down toward her 23:56 JV time at the Coaches. Improving beyond that would be just marvy.
Matching their 2006 finish of 6th place will be difficult for the young Eagles. Bronxville will win the championship easily and likely finish all 7 of their runners in the top 12. Second place is up for grabs, but Irvington seems the best guess to edge out Pleasantville and Pawling. Albertus Magnus and Hastings appear to be the likely 5th and 6th teams, with Dobbs finishing 7th ahead of Croton Harmon. Dover will probably be the only other team to qualify 5 runners.
The Broncos' Tori Flannery has a big edge over all runners for the individual title, and she should be followed by Emma Clarke (Bx), Jackie McGowan (AM), Libby Lazare (Pl), Henrietta Miers (Bx), Caitlin Hudson (Bx), Hannah Rose (CH), Annie Field (I), Mairin Din (I), Virginia Connor (Bx), Olivia Bruton (Bx), and Karina Benziger (Bx). Some of the Pawling runners could contend for a spot but are a ways behind the Bulldog top two. Bronxville will take 7 runners to the State meet no matter where they finish.
The question is where's Colby Delbene, Tom Brogan, and Jack Hutton? The fact that 3 of the top 1-C runners have missed at least one of their last two races (the North Counties meet for Delbene and Brogan) means that there are a lot of unknowns entering the Sectionals. Are these guys injured and out, injured but able to run, or just resting up? Delbene missed last year's Sectional but a deep Pawling still breezed to the title taking 6 of the top 13 places. This year they do not have any margin for injury, and if either Delbene or Brogan are either unavailable or badly hampered, Pawling will be dethroned.
There are three teams that could win the title if Pawling is not at full strength, and two of them have there own question marks. Based on their dominant result at the Coaches meet and continued impressiveness at the County, the fully healthy Irvington Bulldogs look to be the new champion if Pawling misses even half a step. Bronxville has had its own issues with first 4th-runner Dayton Flanney getting injured and then top guy Jack Hutton having a weak Coaches race and missing the County. If all runners are available and strong, the Broncos could challenge, but that now seems less certain. Dobbs edged a Hutton-less-or-impaired Bronco team at both the Coaches and the County (if you can give any credence to the County results), but we also have a question about who might be running for us at Bowdoin.
What this all amounts to is that there are too many unknowns to make any strong predictions. It would not be a surprise if any of the top four teams win the championship. The shocker would be if any of the next six teams finish within 80 points of the top 4. They include Croton Harmon, Dover, Pleasantville, Hastings, Westlake, and North Salem. A few other teams will also race a few runners. Last year Dobbs placed 4th.
Based on the Coaches and County meets and assuming that everyone is healthy, the likely order of finish for the top 16 on Bowdoin's hill could be something like:
Colby Delbene (P), Tom Brogan (P), Patrick Wortner (DF), Jack Hutton (Bx), Ben Levitz (Bx), Jon Nash (P), Julian Saliani (I), Ian Matthews (I), Christian Yoo (Bx), Dayton Flannery (B), Michael Kennelly (I), Matt Menard (I), Marco Sammon (CH), Viktor Mashalov (DF), David King (DF), Brett Martini (P).
But health questions make this order at best a guess. Some titles are out there for the taking if the Eagles load their carbs, attack the hill correctly and run like Spartans from hell on the way down. Knock 20 seconds each off the Coaches times and Dobbs runners could be heading for Canada (but blame Section 10 instead of the poor Habs).
Luck to all.