It's Nordic season again! This year Kick Zone Media has decided to do some points scoring to better predict how racers from around New York rank.
We took as many results as we could get our hands on from the 2016-2017 season and applied our ranking algorithm to come up with this list of the top high school racers from New York.
Here is Kick Zone Media's 2017-2018 NYSPHAA Girls Pre-Season Prediction:
1. All names are taken from 2016-2017 season results. See a spelling error? Comment, email, or DM on social media please.
2. Grade levels are best guess. If unknown, I left it blank. If you know a grade level, see an incorrect grade level or see someone who has graduated, comment, email or DM on social media please.
3. Points are based on an average of points collected at races raced. Points at races are awarded on a time back basis from the average time of the top 4 points scorers in the race. (More info about points to come)
Section 2 has a lot of returning skiers making them the section to beat this season. Queensbury's Emily Atamanchuck was a bit inconsistent last season but had real quality races when it counted. Challenging Emily will be Shenendahoa's Anna Wiedmann, and Julieanne Burnes. And not to mention Queensburry's 2-3 spots Baily Gengle and Maggie Borgos. the wildcard to watch out for is Mayfield's Madison Ralyea, Who had a KILLER XC season. KZM doesn't think Atamanchuck will sweep the season but predicts her to finish a-top the podium at sectionals ahead of Wiedmann and Gengle.
The team title will be close for the first time in section 2 for a while. As the pre-season rankings stand expect Queensbury to edge out Shenendahoa by a few points. For Shen to beat Q Wiedmann needs to beat Atamanchuck and Shen's number 3 needs to step up. But at this moment, KZM is going to give Section 2 to Queensbury.
Section 3 host two of the top skiers in the state. Old Forge's Emily Greene and Laura Levi are going to run away from the rest of the section with easy. The fight for third will be a bit more competitive with Old Forge's number three, Rachel Smith battling Camden's Morgan Lucason and Haley Hinds. KZM predicts Morgan Lucason to win the fight for 3rd, but will be quite a ways behind Laura Levi and Emily Greene; KZM's predicted Section 3 Champion, and State runner-up.
It will be tough for Camden to overcome the 1-2 punch from Old Forge. Even if OF's Smith has a bad race and gets displaced by Camden skiers expect OF to win. and don't be surprised if OF sweeps. None the less, KZM predicts Old Forge to easily walk away with the team title.
Section 5 girls have historically dominated the rest of the state and this season is no exception. With four skiers in the pre-season top 10 and the top two pre-ranked skiiers in the state. Although Pittsford's Anna Schriefer comes into the season as the top ranked skier. However, she only has about a tenth-of-a-point lead over Brighton's Grace Mattern. After them, we see HFL's Megan Donahoe and Fairport's Laura Broderick. between the four of them expect some good races out in the greater Rochester area. But when it all boils down, KZM predicts Schriefer to sweep both section 5 and state championships. But she will have to edge out Mattern who will be closely followed by Broderick for 3rd.
Because of the variety of skiers at the top, the team championship is going to be a tough fight. Pittsford and Honeoye Falls-Lima will go back and fourth all season but the race is going to come down to each team's number 3 skier. Becasue of HFL's history of success out there in section 5, and everybody loves an underdog, KZM is going to go with Pittsford for the Section 5 championships.
Section 7 this year is young. After losing 2016's State Champion to graduation The fight for the section championship is wide open. Lake Placid's Marli Damp, Anya Moran (or is it "Morgan"? I've seen it both ways) and Sara Rose-McCandish. KZM gives the the advantige to Damp, however, with rumors going around about some of the Lake Placid's racers not racing NYSPHAA to focus on club racing KZM is not sure if we will see Damp or any of her teammates this season. If not, the door is open for Saranac's Sylvie Linck or her teammate Hannah Brogan.
Because of the question about participation can't make a definitive prediction. but a it stands, expect LP to edge out Saranac.
Couldn't find many results for Section 9. But KZM fully expects New Paltz's Jordan Nagle to sweep the season and fight for the top ten at states. Her teammates Amelia St. John and Abbey Gravatt have a the opportunity to sweep the podium and claim Section 9 for New Paltz.
Here are the full NYSPHSAA Pre-Season Rankings
Feel free to reach out via comment, email, social media with any info that would help provide more accurate rankings. Use #kickzonemedia to give us your thoughts.