Cross Is Back!
Locally, both the high school and college cross country seasons will get going this weekend with action all over the tri-state. Felicia Sciortino looks to lead her team to victory as her school hosts the Niskayuna XC Ekiden — a relay-style meet held just outside Albany.
Bronxville will be heading down to compete at the Randolph Invitational on Friday night, but will be without Mary Cain. Cain's season should start by mid-month — and yes — she will be competing for the Broncos this season. This weekend in Randolph, with Meredith Rizzo there to lead, Bronxville should still be able to win.
Van Cortlandt Park will finally be busy again, hosting the Fordham Fiasco and the CHSAA practice meet. News came down this week that the Foot Locker Northeast Regional will return to the Park after being contested at Sunken Meadow State Park the last two seasons.
Friday Meet Preview
Dash in the Dark [Oakfield, N.Y.]
The Dash In the Dark consists of relay races, run at night, under the lights. The races will be run on a spectator friendly course consisting of grass. Each school enters teams of three runners. Each runner will run a 3,200-meter leg (two-1,600 meter loops) and then hand off the baton to a teammate. The magic of this event is in runners of all calibers competing as a team in a unique relay distance at night, kicking off the 2012 season in style.
Randolph Invitational [Randolph, N.J.]
Also a night-time event, Randolph runs three varsity races each for boys and girls as well as sub-varsity races. The course consists of two loops around Freedom Park, which is lit by a combination of permanent light structures as well as rentals. Forty teams from New Jersey and four from New York will toe the line on Friday — including Bronxville (N.Y.) and North Rockland (N.Y.). A complete list of teams competing is posted here.
Saturday Meet Previews
Blackbird Invitational [Slingerlands, N.Y.]
The races — featuring varsity and junior varsity squads — will be contested over 5,000 meters of wooded trails and open fields, rolling hills and a moderate uphill that is run twice. Coach and spectator friendly with many opportunities to see the runners during the race, the mile markers are within close proximity to the start/finish area. Usually about a dozen Section 2 teams kick off their season here and last fall Fonda-Fultonville swept the varsity boys' and girls' races.
Central Square Invitational [Central Square, N.Y.]
The course is 3.1 miles of wooded trails with open grass fields and some moderate hills. Spikes are advised for this spectator-friendly course. A year ago, Cicero-North Syracuse won the boys' title while Tully won the girls' race.
Fordham Fiasco [Van Cortlandt Park]
The 22-team Fiasco at Vanny begins at 10:30 am with the women's race, followed by the men at 11 am. The Division I programs on hand will be Columbia, Fordham, Manhattan, Rider, St. Peter's and Yale.
CHSAA Practice Meet [Van Cortlandt Park]
Traditionally a boys-only scrimmage style meet for CHSAA teams, the girls' races were added two years ago. Still just four races — freshman (1.5 miles) and varsity (2.5 miles) — the meet runs just about an hour, starting at 1 pm. Last year St. John the Baptist won the boys' varsity crown and Holy Trinity took the varsity girls' title.
East Syracuse Minoa Invitational [East Syracuse, N.Y.]
The 21st running of the event should see about 20 schools compete. A year ago Baldwinsville swept both titles.
Guilderland Invitational [Altamont, N.Y.]
Billed as similar to Bowdoin Park, the site of N.Y. Federations and NXN Regionals, Tawasentha Park will be the site of the 42nd running of this invitational. Both the varsity and jayvee competitions are run on a short 2.7-mile course. Eight races will take place from 9 am until after 1 pm, beginning with freshman and finishing with varsity. About 20 teams competed last year and team titles went to the Burnt Hills boys and girls in the large school division while Berne-Know-Westerlo and Thousand Islands took the small school races.
JFK 4K Classic [Cheektowaga, N.Y.]
Located in the middle of Erie County, this meet is easily accessible to most Section 6 Buffalo area teams. The course has been designed as a mix of groomed trails and open fields, which makes it both coach- and spectator-friendly. Four races comprise the schedule with the jayvee girls starting things off at noon. The junior varsity boys, then varsity girls and boys follow every 30 minutes later. The East Aurora boys and girls won team titles last year.
Oswego Laker Invitational [Oswego, N.Y.]
Originally a college-only meet, this event added high school races a few years ago and now alternates high school and college races the whole day. Sitting on the shore of Lake Ontario, the course does roll a bit, but the primary challenge can be the legendary Oswego wind.
PTXC 3 - Presented by Puma [Kutztown, Pa.]
Founded by Don Rich of PA Track/XC, this meet continues to grow. With 50 Pennsylvania teams attending this year, it will once again be a meet to watch. New York State power Honeoye Falls-Lima will be racing this year.
South Jefferson Invitational [Adams, N.Y.]
Just south of Watertown off of I-81, this course consists of 12-foot wide mowed grass trails, school athletic fields and fine gravel paths. With flat to hilly terrain, spikes are recommended for all runners. Last year 12 to 15 teams competed and the Beaver River boys took the team title. Canton edged Beaver River in the girls' race.
Washingtonville Wizard Invitational [Washingtonville, N.Y.]
Eight races will be run on the campus of Washingtonville High School. This early-season meet — offering eight different races — always includes quality teams. Last year the Arlington boys scored a perfect 15 to win the Varsity Gold Race while Washingtonville won the Varsity Blue Race. North Rockland and Arlington won the girls' races.
Niskayuna XC Ekiden [Niskayuna, N.Y.]
A fun and uniqie way to start the season — this meet is a relay-style event where each runner covers a 1.5 mile stretch. A sash rather than a baton is exchanged at the end of each leg.