XC Rankings - Week of 9/17/18

VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Cross Country Poll Results - Sept. 17, 2018

Boys Overall Top 10

  1. Essex
  2. Burlington
  3. U-32
  4. CVU
  5. St Johnsbury
  6. South Burlington
  7. MMU
  8. Harwood
  9. Woodstock
  10. Middlebury

Comments: The Essex Hornets, led by a dominating win by Henry Farrington, opened the season with a convincing win over many of the best teams in the State at their home Invite and earn the top spot. The coaches were split between Burlington and U32 for the #2 and #3 spots with Burlington getting the nod, despite the Raiders narrowly beating them at Essex, perhaps based on the report that Burlington uber talent Gaelen Kilburn will return to running for his Senior season. If this report proves accurate, as Kilburn has yet to race, and if he can approach his 2016 form, Burlington may end up the top team in Vermont by season's end.

For the moment the top three look to have separated themselves by a small margin from the next tier which sees #4 CVU, #5 St. Johnsbury, #6 South Burlington, and #7 MMU all bunched and seemingly without much between them. South Burlington is yet to see their #1 man and last year's overall State Champ Lucas Calcagi race. His health will likely determine how far up the rankings SB can go this season. Let's hope he is back to full strength soon.

#8-#10 is a D2 scrum with Harwood, Woodstock, and MIDD all getting support. The season is early and some teams are yet to race their full projected lineups so things should get clearer after this weekend's highly anticipated Manchester Invitational where many of Vermont's best teams will go head to head with the best in New England. BFA and Thetford may use this weekend to break into the top 10 as each garnered support in the first coaches poll.

For the moment, the individual race for State Champion looks like all Farrington. At Essex he was well clear of all rivals and with Calcagi and Kilburn yet to race, two of his logical challengers remain recently unproven. Of course the season is long and there is a long and well trodden record of “best in September” and “best in November” being different people and different teams. This Saturday in Manchester we will get a preview as to who might come out on top when many of these same teams and individuals race at the end of the year on November 10th at the New England Championships.

Division 1 Boys Top 5

  1. Essex
  2. Burlington
  3. CVU
  4. St Johnsbury
  5. South Burlington

Bubble: MMU, BFA St Albans

Comments: Another exciting year is shaping up on the Division 1 boys side. The Essex Invitational was the only race so far where we saw the top teams racing.

Essex is the clear early favorite. The hornets boast the states top runner (Farrington) and a very tight scoring pack that is going to be difficult for any team to deal with. Essex dominated their home invitational and posted a perfect score at the St. Albans Invite last weekend. Expect a very high finish at Manchester this weekend.

Burlington holds down the 2nd spot with three of the top five ranked runners in the state. The Seahorses might be experiencing Deja Vu as the 2017 season with trying to chase EHS throughout the season. The expected return of Gaelen Kilburn (2016 state runner up) could help give the Seahorses the boost they need to challenge EHS.

CVU has one of the tightest packs in the field and continue to improve. This young squad has adapted the pack running style and will likely have their eyes set higher come the seasons end. They will see the rest of the VT teams after several weekends in NY.

St. Jay has opened the season very strong due to their 9th grade leader Evan Thornton-Sherman. Not many D1 teams have been able to see the Hilltoppers in action yet this season but they have been impressive in the results.

South Burlington is a tough one to rank having not run with Lucas Calcagni (2017 State Champion). SB is one of the most consistent teams in the state and stay in the top 5 without one of the top runners in the state. Look for the Wolves to move up quickly with his return.

Two honorable mentions include MMU and BFA, both teams have looked very good so far. No data is available yet from some D1 schools. After this weekend the picture will likely become a bit more clear.

The individual race looks to be all Henry Farrington right now. Look for challenges from Calcagni, Summa, Alden, and Kissam. Time will tell if there are any sleepers waiting to challenge.

Division 2 Boys Top 5

  1. U-32
  2. Harwood
  3. Woodstock
  4. Middlebury
  5. Vergennes

Comments: U32 starts out as a solid #1 with Harwood, Woodstock and MIDD all very closely bunched at #2-#4. All three of these teams will need to see their 3rd-5th runners make a jump if they are to challenge the Raiders. Vergennes looks to be within striking distance in fifth. The Manchester Invite this Saturday should throw some light on the D2 battle

Division 3 Boys Top 5

  1. Thetford
  2. Stowe
  3. Randolph
  4. Peoples
  5. Bellows Falls

Comments: The Boys Division 3 field has probably been the most competitive in the state over the past several years. In 2016, the top 3 spots were separated by 5 points at States, while the top 6 had only a 25-point spread. Last year, Stowe ran away with the title, but the 3-6 spots all were within 18 points of each other. Early season results this year point to another year of close contention amongst some of the perennial favorites.

Stowe and reigning runners-up Thetford Academy each graduated strong senior classes last year. Even with these graduations, the Panthers and Raiders take the top two spots in this week's poll. As is often the case with non-Northern Vermont Athletic Conference schools, there are not many available sets of results for the team from Thetford, but the Panthers showed good early-season form at the Haddad Windham XC Invitational in Windham, Connecticut where they were led by senior Owen Deffner. Over the three-mile course, six Thetford athletes ran under twenty minutes. Converted to a 5-kilometer distance, the Panthers' performance in Connecticut is better than any other Division 3 team so far this year. Stowe, although not seemingly as strong as they have been in past years, has the deepest team in the division, and coaches remember the Raiders' slow start last year that ended in a championship in October. On Labor Day weekend Stowe lost to Peoples Academy by three points at the Essex Invitational, but they bested them at the Burlington Invitational and also beat third-ranked Randolph at the Randolph Invitational by twelve points. Peoples and Randolph both have an athlete or two toward the front of the pack, but may lack depth necessary to take the next step. Fifth-ranked Bellows Falls doesn't have any firm results posted from this season, but only graduated one athlete from their varsity team that placed fourth at states last year, landing them a spot in the top five.

On the individual side, the two favorites at this point seem to be Randolph's Isaac Kaplan, who was last year's runner up, and Winooski's Najib Ali, who has run two sub-18 races so far this year. Peoples' Ben Craig and Eli Smith should also be in the mix.

VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Cross Country Poll Results - Sept. 17, 2018

Girls Overall Top 10

  1. CVU
  2. Essex
  3. Burlington
  4. U-32
  5. Middlebury
  6. Harwood
  7. St Johnsbury
  8. BFA St Albans
  9. Brattleboro
  10. South Burlington

Comments: Three familiar faces at the top of our first poll this season. CVU leads the way after winning the Essex Invitational and Springstead Invitational in NY. Last weekend Alice Larson remained unbeaten and running without one of their top 5 finished a close second at the Queensbury Invitational. Essex has looked much improved this season and looks like they will continue to improve and close in on CVU. BHS returns a very good top 3 and if they all are on the Seahorses and team to be concerned with for the top 2. After the top 3 we get a trio of D2 powers led by U-32. All 3 teams look like they will continue to move toward the top of the rankings with their youth and talent. A quartet of D1 contenders round out the top 10 and it is very early in the season still so the Manchester Invitational will allow us to have a better understanding of where people stand. It should be a fun race and an opportunity to see where everyone truly stands.

Division 1 Girls Top 5

  1. CVU
  2. Essex
  3. Burlington
  4. St Johnsbury
  5. BFA St Albans

Comments: CVU remains in the top spot where they ended last year after a very close scare at the State Meet from BHS. After losing Jennifer Ireland to graduation it looked the top 7 could be a little unsettled but the addition of multiple 9th graders helped solidify their top end. An impressive start to the season at Essex and two meets in NY has shown they have a solid top 5 and have room to improve still. Essex has been greatly helped by the addition of 10th grader Natalie Preston to their duo of Lizzie Martell and Hannah Brisson. And their next group comes in so tight that they are a team to keep an eye on. BHS has the big 3 with Emma Barker, Quincy Massey-Beirman and Isabel Vivanco. Giselle Rainville has also shown great improvement and this group can never be counted out. St Johnsbury has not had an invitational result yet so it is a bit hard to know where they stand with the top 3 at this point but they always seem to be in the mix at States. BFA St Albans after a dominating victory at their home invitational holds down the fifth spot and we will learn more about this group after this weekends Manchester Invitational.

Division 2 Girls Top 5

  1. U-32
  2. Harwood
  3. Middlebury
  4. Woodstock
  5. MVU

Comments: Early results put U32 on top with their eternal Central Vermont rivals Harwood in the #2 spot. These two provide a microcosm of the classic cross country quandary - a “solid if unspectacular pack” in U32 versus a Harwood team with two frontrunners, 9th grade phenom Ava Thurston and Julianne Young, but less depth. #3 MIDD may spoil the Chaplin/Kerrigan party, with the Tigers already getting some votes over HU. It's a ways back to #4 Woodstock and #5 MVU, but results are still thin and many kids and teams have yet to show what they might be capable of. 2017 was a prime example of that with eventual State Champion U32 prevailing in one and only one meet, the one that counts at season's end over the hills of Thetford.

Division 3 Girls Top 5

  1. Rice
  2. Northfield
  3. Thetford
  4. Stowe
  5. Peoples


Last year, the Northfield Marauders edged Oxbow by one point to win the State Championship. Although the Marauders graduated two athletes from their Varsity team, the Olympians graduated four, which led to a number of early-season predictions that Northfield, led by the one-two punch of Bella Martell and Maya Humbert, would be the favorites to defend their title. The rankings, however, are not topped by the Marauders, but by the team from Rice Memorial High School. Rice has been a surprise this year, with six of their seven top finishers at Burlington Invitational not being on their varsity team at states last year. Their finish in Burlington thrust them to the top of the rankings, although Northfield and a surprisingly strong team from Stowe are not far behind.

Thetford sits in fourth place at the beginning of the season. The Panthers graduated their top finisher from last year, Maggie Balch, along with four of their other seven varsity athletes. Still, they find themselves in the rankings due to the strength of their performance at the Haddad Windham XC Invitational where they were led by sophomore Eloise Van-Meter. The Peoples Academy Wolves are a young team with lots of upside, sitting in fifth-place this week.

An outside observer would expect that the individual title race would be wide open with the graduation of the top four finishers from last year's state meet. The x-factor, however, is the arrival of two new athletes to the division, Rice's Emily Bloom, and Craftsbury's Camille Bolduc, who transferred after a strong freshman season at South Burlington High School. Assuming they both stay healthy, expect to see the two of them off the front in October.