The regular season is over. It’s time to start thinking about states! On February 25th and 26th,The unrelenting North Creek Ski Bowl will play host to the best in the state as they fight head to head to go down in NYSPHSAA history. Will Lake Placid maintain their dominance of the men's field and claim yet another title or will the feisty Honeoye Falls-Lima squad take control on day one like they did last year? Will we have a reigning champion from Brighton or will the senior from Mendon assert her authority and claim the prize? Let’s take a look at a season’s worth of Speed Ratings and preview the 2019 New York State High School Championships.
Girl’s Classic 6.6K
When we look strictly at the numbers, it is obvious to see there are Three skiers that are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. The battle between Grace Mattern and Anna Schriefer has persisted all season and has provided good practice for the ultimate pressure-cooked showdown that is to come. A season’s long battle will definitely play to their advantage when facing the rest of the state. It would be easy to say The battle is between Mattern and Schriefer and leave it at that. But let's consider one important aspect: Wax. The right wax will play a huge role in this race, and not saying her regular coaching staff is incompetent, but if Section II can pool their resources and provide Madison Relyea with top notch wax to challenge the section 5 rivals, it all comes down to ability. Reigning State Champ, advantage: Mattern. Season Rank #1, advantage: Schriefer. Reigning Section II XC Running champ and top 5 state XC Runner: Advantage: Relyea. Take Wax out of the equation and all three of these great athletes have a chance
KZM Predicts top 10: (Please note this is 100% a guess based on Speed Ratings. In no way are these a determining factor of performance)
1. Anna Schreifer, Mendon
2. Madison Relyea, Mayfield
3. Grace Mattern, Brighton
4. Zofia Stefankovic, Brighton
5. Bailey Gengle, Queensbury
6. Jada Balmer, HFL
7. Isabelle Serrano, Rondout Valley
8. Katrin Schreiner, Hadley
9. Sarah Walter, Mendon
10. Sylvie Linck, Lake Placid
Boys Classic 10K
The boys on the other hand are much closer. First through seventh are separated by only 2 Speed Ratings. (That's the equivalent of 30 seconds in a 33 minute 10k at Gore). One crash on the S-Turn or loss of grip on the A-Climb will prove costly in this race. Lake Placid’s Kai Frantz and James Flannigan are forces to be reckoned with. These guys have lead the way in all the JNQs and have had many regional and national level race experiences. Section V fans will be rooting for HFL favorite Teddy Warfle to dethrone the duo. While Teddy has this season's highest classic average speed rating, he has minimal experience on as tough a course as North Creek Ski Bowl. Although Teddy and the whole HFL squad surprised us in the 10k last year. So can’t count him out. Jacob Alberga suffered a tough round of mono mid-season. Not sure he is back to 100% yet, but he did spend the first part of the season ranked number one. Look for his teammate Nick Kelting to lead the strong Saranac Lake squad against HFL’s number two Cam McDaniel. Rylan Hodgson is in there despite letting some HFL guys squeak ahead of him at sectionals. Look for his quality classic technique to play to his advantage up the A-Climb.
KZM Predicts top 10:
1. Kai Frantz, Lake Placid
2. Teddy Warfle, Honeoye Falls-Lima
3. James Flannigan, Lake Placid
4. Cam McDaniel, Honeoye Falls-Lima
5. Nick Kelting, Saranac Lake
6. Rylan Hodgson, Sutherland
7. Jacob Alberga, Saranac Lake
8. Lucas Jenkin, Queensbury
9. Ian McGuire, Honeoye Falls-Lima
10. Erik Schreiner, Hadley
Girls Team Challenge.
The team event will be a run-away-win by Brighton. With Grace Mattern, Zofia Stefankovic and Cate Anzellotti. None of the other teams have the fire power to compete with Mattern’s 98 and Stefankovic’s 96 skate Speed Ratings. Then, add Anzellotti with her 89 skate rating, that is higher than some team’s first skier. The real race will be for the individual title. Relyea, although a strong classic skier, falls behind in the skate technique. Expect Mattern and Schriefer to battle for percentage points in the battle for champion.
Team Champion: Brighton (Mattern, Stefankovic, Anzellotti)
Section Champion: Section V (Schriefer, and not sure how else Sec. V chooses their A team)
Overall Individual Champion: Anna Schriefer, Mendon
Boys Team Challenge:
While Lake Placid’s duo of Frantz and Flanigan will put up some impressive times, the Lake Placid dynasty will be coming to an end this season at the hands of Honeoye Falls-Lima. Lead by Juniors Teddy Warfle and Ian McGuire and followed up by senior Cam McDaniel (Who is posting the 5th fastest skate Speed Rating this season), HFL will be tough to beat. Although the boys from LP will probably post the top two fastest splits, it won't be enough to overcome the Meme Boys. In the section race, look out for Section II. Erik Schreiner, Paul Lindsay and Danny Gardner are all skate specialists who will be ready to rip on the home course. The Section VII boys from Saranac Lake will put up a good fight however. This will be the closest and most fun race to watch. Due to the race experience of the Saranac Lake, KZM has to give the edge to them in this big race situation.
Team Champion: Honeoye Falls-Lima (Warfle, McDaniel, McGuire)
Section Champion: Section VII (Alberga, Kelting, Cheney-Seymour)
Overall Individual Champion: Kai Frantz, Lake Placid
Will KZM's Prediction be correct? Or will this year's competitors have something else in mind? Comment on Instagram or Facebook your prediction for Girls and Boys top 3 in the distance races to enter for a chance to win a KZM hat. one thing is for sure: These two days of nordic racing are sure to be action packed and exciting.