Boys Teams in the mix at New England Championships by state:
Connecticut - Hall - 185, 177, 170, 165, 158, 157 & 143
Ridgefield - 189, 169, 165, 164, 157, 145 & 141
Danbury - 170, 167, 166, 165, 159, 159 & 148
Maine - Hampden Academy - 176, 160, 160, 160, 148, 146 & 136
New Hampshire - Coe Brown - 171, 159, 159, 154, 143, 137 & 119 - don’t forget Aidan Cox 196 will be racing
Souhegan - 153, 153, 151, 147, 146, 128 & 125
Rhode Island - Bishop Hendricken - 183, 177, 171, 165, 165, 161 & 159
La Salle Academy - 172, 171, 161, 161, 160, 146 & 145
Vermont - St Johnsbury - 172, 168, 166, 158, 156, 150 149 & 121
Champlain Valley - 182, 169, 167, 159, 144, 137 & 135
Last year the team title was up in the air and U-32(VT) pulled off the upset for their first New England Championship. This year it looks like at least five teams could feel like they have a legitimate chance at the title. This could really turn out to be an amazing team race. A number of these teams are very even and even the favorites are not that far ahead of the teams behind them to make it a sure thing. If someone made me pick a favorite team or they would take my cat away…yes that would be traumatic…then I would pick Bishop Hendricken(RI). They have the most solid top 7 of any of the other teams and that could come into play on Saturday. The true contenders in my eyes are Hendricken, Hall(CT), Ridgefield(CT), La Salle Academy(RI) and needing help Danbury(CT), Hampden Academy(ME) and Coe Brown(NH). I could throw St Johnsbury(VT) into that mix too but I think displacement at the #1 spot and at the 4-5 could be too much for them to overcome.
Hendricken is a classic program. They have been good for years. They are a national level program year after year it seems so they are prepared for this type of race. They also are solid 1-5 with their 6 & 7 not far back and they could definitely be displacing other teams 4-5 runners which will only help their cause. Troy Silvestri should lead them with a top 10 level finish and then Andrew Frezza follows as one of the top #2 runners in the field. They will also benefit from their experience at Ponaganset. They have raced the last 2 races at this course so they should know how to run it well. They will be looking to reclaim the New England crown on their home turf.
Hall almost mirrors Hendricken through their 4th runner. Where they may get hurt is at the #5 spot because there is the possibility of displacement hurting them points wise and also Hendricken displacing their #5 with their 6-7. Isaac Mahler leads them and will be looking for a top 5 finish. Colin Goldschmidt at the #2 spot matches the Hendricken #2 and they are basically even with them at spots 3 & 4. It is once you get past that when there becomes a gap to their #5. With weather possibly being an issue can that play a role at all in their 5 or 6 moving forward and putting them in a position to claim the title.
Ridgefield is an interesting team to watch. Their #1 Steve Hergenrother will be challenging for the individual title so he will instantly give them a low stick. The problem is does he really make up that many points on the other teams #1 runners. At the top of the field the displacement is not that big so you can only gain so many points. Their 2-4 runners are basically even with the other teams 2-4. Their #5 is back a little and this is where the majority of the displacement will probably take place. This could cause them some issues because there are going to be a gaggle of runners coming in at this point and will show the importance of getting every spot you can get. Their top end is good enough to put them in contention if things break right for them.
La Salle lacks the top of the field #1 which could create some issues with displacement in a field of this size and this caliber. Their 2-5 are in the mix with everyone else’s but their problem is it doesn’t look like they will have much daylight between their 2-5 and everyone else’s 2-5. They will need some things to break right for them to really have a chance at the title. They are in contention but may not have the firepower needed.
Danbury, Hampden Academy and Coe Brown all have positives that help them but also have some things that probably bring them down. Danbury has the same issue as La Salle where their #1 could be back enough to cause some points issues from displacement. The rest of their top 5 are with everyone else but they will need to find a way to make up points because of the possible displacement issue up front. Hampden Academy has a solid one but they could lose some points there to other teams #1 runners. They have a solid group at 2-4 that seem like they run a tight pack but then their #5 could lose a lot of points. This is the position where LOTS of runners are finishing and could end up being 30+ points lost or more to other teams #5 runners. Coe Brown has their uber talented #1 runner in Aidan Cox and a very solid #2 in Tyler Tkaczyk but they get hurt in the 3-5 spots that are so important in races of this size and caliber. They could lose too many points here to other teams 3-5.
This has the makings of being a great race and there are a number of teams that definitely have a shot at this title. With the weather being a question mark that could definitely create a new scenario that teams will have to deal with. The field section could become a strength sapper and then how does that impact the other areas of the course like the long climb out from the bottom of the LONG downhill. This should be a great race and good luck to all!
Boys Individuals in the mix at New England Championships by state(speed ratings are from NE Qualifier Meet unless noted):