NY State Meet Summary
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by Perry King
Eagles Earn Two Medals and Trips to Federation Meet on Great Day at States
On an NY States day at Pawling that was a pleasant change from last year's sodden cold day at Plattsburgh, a trio of Eagle runners took advantage of the generally nice conditions to post the best performances of their careers. Two continue on to race on Saturday, November 20, in the NY Federation meet at Bowdoin Park, which combines 16 of the best NY public schools and at-large runners with teams and runners from the Catholic, NYC Public, and Independent schools conferences.
The States action for the Eagles began on the girls side, with Sarah King running in the Class C race. King came into the race rated as the 16th best runner in the NYS-C class, but she knew the course from two recent runs and some training sessions, and she was looking to again break into the top 10 as she did with a 9th last year. The team battle featured the 2009 Class C team from Bronxville of Section 1 against the 2009 Class D champion Greenwich from Section 2. Bronxville earned a close 48-51 decision over Greenwich in the race and took the first two places, with Mary Cain taking the Broncos' first individual championship.
King settled up among the top 10 runners from near the start of the race, and she maintained the position until the end, as a three-way battle down the final straightaway put her in 8th place, just behind Holland Patent's Leah Rice and just ahead of Friends Academy's Kira Garry. The time of 19:34.40 was 22 seconds better than at Sectionals and earned her a second National Elites XC 5K place following the one at States last year. Her 118 Tully Runner speed rating and 74th place (69 better than last year) overall at the meet were by far her best ever. The performance earned her an invite to the Federation meet as one of the two Section 1 at-large selections along with S1 runners from North Rockland, Bronxville, Pearl River, and 5 other runners.
Brendan Wortner and George Epstein were also running in a hotly contested Class C race, as the final decision would again be by 3 points, though this time the team that took the top 2 places, Holland Patent, was beaten by Fonda Fultonville. Wortner had hopes of a championship, but HP's Dylan and Cody Racha were just too tough for the field as they raced away to a brotherly battle down the final stretch that was won by Dylan. Wortner hung with the leaders and ended up finishing where he was ranked going into the race at 5th in 16:30.3, just 0.3 off a 3rd National Elite status time for him but easily enough to earn a PR-equaling 178 TR rating and a trip to the Feds with the 6th ever Eagle States top 10 place on the boys' side. He ended up 29th overall at the States meet, a big jump from last year's 166th. At Feds as one of the general at-large selections, Wortner will join with the S1 runners from the Arlington and North Rockland teams plus four other local guys.
George Epstein finished out a great Eagles XC career with a strong performance and a 21st place in 17:15.07. Epstein finished in a big crowd of 5 runners at the finish, and maybe his good-natured refusal to run over one last runner cost him the 20th and final medal place, but his hard-working example that saw him raise his TR level from 149 in the season's first race to 167 at Sectionals will be remembered by a lot of Eagle runners next season.
One of the best parts of the day was the loud sign-waving crowd that came up from Dobbs to cheer on the runners, and even if they didn't paint their bellies blue and display their school's letters like the Bronxville guys cheering section, they were a big and appreciated inspiration to the three Eagle runners.
For the Eagle runners at Federations, the projection would be for them to finish close to their overall place at the States meet. Wortner is ranked in the 50-61 range at a 178 TR and would be slotted to be around 30th at Feds, as there are 23 runners from the States meet there with better times, plus 3 runners from the other conferences rated higher, and a few other higher-rated runners who might rebound from poorer showings at States. With a 114 TR, King is projected somewhere in the 60-70 range for Feds, with 59 runners ahead of her who either had faster times at States or are higher rated from out of conference.