Big Apple Girls' Preview
On Monday we took a look at the New York City cross country schedule and today we begin to look at the runners and the teams eligible for action at the NYC Mayor's Cup in Van Cortlandt Park on Oct. 6.
And within the City's five boroughs a year ago, it was Alexis Panisse who shined brightest, becoming the first PSAL runner in more than two decades to advance to the Foot Locker Nationals. But she has moved on to the University of Tennessee and the first question to be answered is — who will replace her as New York City's best?
Those are mighty big shoes to fill for anyone as Panisse could be remembered as the greatest PSAL distance runner of all time. If anyone can step into her shoes, it could be her former Cardozo teammate Sabrina Southerland who has run 4:36 for 1,500 meters. Panisse made a huge jump her senior year. Perhaps Southerland can do the same.
But if we are trying to identify the top team in New York, we are going to have to take the ferry over to the Island of Staten. Here are the picks:
New York City Girls' Pre-Season Top Five
1. Port Richmond (Staten Island — PSAL)Port Richmond brings back six of its top seven runners from last season including the top two — Jaclyn Panepinto and Amanda Delacruz. Delapinto ran 19:45 at the NYS Federations Championships at Bowdoin Park to help her team finish 20th while Delacruz broke out on the track with a 10:19 3,000-meter run. Last November the Raiders lost the PSAL title to borough-rival Curtis by just four points after beating the Warriors frequently during the season. Port Richmond also showed strong team depth by winning the jayvee title over Townsend Harris.
2. Curtis (Staten Island — PSAL)The Warriors — the defending PSAL champions — will be right back in the hunt with six of their top seven back from a year ago. Port Richmond will certainly be gunning to take back the public schools crown after relinquishing it a year ago, but senior Corinne Birchard is back to lead Curtis, which posted a top 25 showing at NYS Federations last year.
3. St. John Villa Academy (Staten Island — CHSAA)The Bears did lose top runner Cecelia Pflegling to graduation, but they do return four from last year's squad that placed second to St. Anthony's at CHSAA Intersectionals. While St. Anthony's is the favorite again to win the CHSAA crown Villa should once again be in the running for second. Patricia Nerston and Courtney Dunning should give them experienced upperclassmen to lead them back to the NYS Federation Championships, where SJVA placed 21st a year ago.
4. Benjamin Cardozo (Queens — PSAL)Alexis Panisse is impossible to replace, but Dozo should still be very good. Last year's third-place finish at the PSAL City Championships were a disappointment, but the Judges wound up as the top PSAL team at Federations. Sabrina Southerland is now a senior who could be the best in the city. The rest of the team is back, including Denise Branch, to make a run at that PSAL title again.
5. Townsend Harris (Queens — PSAL)Townsend Harris was a solid fourth at PSAL City Championships last fall — just three points back on Cardozo and 25 points out from the win. The Hawks bring back their top seven, including No. 1 runner Marta Tomaszewski. Will this be the City's dark horse come Championships weekend?
Girls' Top 10 Returners To The Boroughs•• Sabrina Southerland, Benjamin Cardozo (PSAL)
•• Beaix Mitton, Friends Seminary (AIS)
•• Jaclyn Panepinto, Port Richmond (PSAL)
•• Katie Hanss, Brearley (AIS)
•• Amanda Delacruz, Port Richmond (PSAL)
•• Anne-Laure White, Brooklyn Tech (PSAL)
•• Angelique Demeo, Tottenville (PSAL)
•• Isabel Villalba, Marymount (AIS)
•• Corinne Birchard, Curtis (PSAL)
•• Fabioloa Oubida, Health Professionals (PSAL)
Other Potential Stars•• Kristine Width, United Nations (AIS)
•• Denise Branch, Benjamin Cardozo (PSAL)
•• Anna Jurew, Knightgale-Bamford (AIS)
•• Caroline Wagner, Convent of the Sacred Heart (AIS)