Weekend Review September 8-10
Once again, this weekend we had a series of races shorter than 8k (none of which were too important), but it was still good to get a first look at some other teams. We had our first taste of inter-region competition as well, and man, we had some results I did not expect. A much more exciting weekend than last week. The Yellowjacket Invite at Rochester next weekend is the first big/important meet of the fall for the Niagara teams, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves quite yet.
Hamilton Short Course Invitational (Hamilton)
Notable Niagara Region Teams: Hamilton, Nazareth, St. John Fisher, Houghton, Utica
Results: 1st: Roberts Wesleyan (47), 2nd: St. Lawrence (48), 3rd: Houghton (97), 4th: Hamilton (98), 5th: Nazareth (118), 6th: St. John Fisher (137), 7th: Utica (146)
Analysis: Wow. There’s a lot to unpack here. First off, great run by St. Lawrence, they look like a national caliber team to me based on that result, even with Tim Boyce having a bad day. Their low stick Michael Skutt absolutely dominated, and sophomore Nick Lyndaker wasn’t too far behind. But man. FRESHMAN BENNETT MELITA FROM UTICA IN THIRD INDIVIDUALLY? Never would have seen that coming. Anyone know anything about him? Crazy. Looks like he was a 9:10 3k guy in high school, but he must have had an insane summer. Could he contend for a Nationals bid come November? Also crazy to see Houghton get 3rd overall as a team, didn’t even project them scratching the top 10. Great run from their #1 Kasper. Only so-so track credentials but he ran great, clearly also had a good summer. Hopefully these guys can keep the momentum going, especially with home field advantage for regionals. Good race from the Hamilton guys on their home course with only a 24 second spread to take 4th. 2 freshmen and 2 sophomores in their top 5 is a great sign for the future. Nazareth did not run as well as I expected, though Bowers ran well. If they can bring their 2 and 3 closer to him they should move up a few spots.
Oneonta Airfield Invitational (Oneonta)
Notable Niagara Region Teams: Oneonta, Cortland, Delhi
Results: 1st: Cortland (23), 2nd: Oneonta (45), 3rd: New Paltz (92), 4th: Delhi (95)
Analysis: I owe Cortland an apology for being down on them before the season started. They went out and dominated, even without their low stick Brignall (hopefully he didn’t get injured and is just resting). Looks like their #2 Szabo is back for another year as well. Appears these guys will be much better than expected. On the other hand, it’s looking like I was dead wrong about Oneonta making a big jump. Even with home field advantage, they got absolutely killed. Losing McClain to Geneseo obviously hurt them, but I expected them to put up more of a fight than that. Luckily their top dog Bierman got the win. Still expecting him to grab an individual spot come November. Delhi… well, they showed up!
Tom Balon Alumni Classic (Brockport)
Notable Niagara Region Teams: Brockport, Ithaca, Fredonia
Results: 1st: Brockport (22), 2nd: Ithaca (78), 3rd: Fredonia (87)
Analysis: Nothing surprising here. Brockport is very, very good. I still can’t put them #2 in the region due to NYU being so much better on paper… But man, it would be so cool to see the Golden Eagles get to Nationals this fall. Would be their first team to go in 46 years. Not sure when NYU will race their full squad but we should have a better sense of how good they are after Paul Short. Ithaca and Fredonia are both unfortunately not looking like they will have good years. Sorry fellas.
Overall a pretty fun weekend with some unexpected results. Gonna throw my revised top 10 out there before the region’s first big test next weekend at Genesee Valley Park. Let me know what people think.
6. Houghton (!!!)
10. St. John Fisher? Idk throw whoever you want here.