Now's The Time
Head-to-head action this week will begin to paint a more true picture of what we can expect from the 2012 season. Are some teams over-ranked based on their stellar traditions? Which upstart team put in the trail work this summer which will pay dividends and draw attention?
Time to start answering those questions.
Saturday Meet Previews
Regis Invitational [Van Cortlandt Park]
The Regis Invitational is the first official high school invitational of the year at "Vanny." Most teams will be from the CHSAA, but look for Syosset and MSIT to break up the party. Syosset returns everyone from a squad that broke out on the track when it ran 7:47 in the 4x800 last spring. Xavier — No. 4 in the ArmoryTrack.com NYC rankings —could also have a chance to win.
Villa Bears Invitational [Van Cortlandt Park ]
The Villa Bears Invitational is the girls' showcase at Van Cortlandt this weekend. Bronxville is expected to race with national high school record holder Mary Cain possibly making her season debut. Teammate Meredith Rizzo will likely not race until October. Along with a handful of New York City Catholic schools, Ursuline from New Rochelle is also competing in the meet.
Suffern Invitational [Bear Mountain, N.Y. ]
The Suffern Invitational returns to Bear Mountain State Park as 60 teams — mostly from downstate — have entered. This will be an early-season test between two Long Island powers in St. Anthony's and Northport. The teams are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the Island. Other top teams expected to run include New Paltz, North Rockland, Pearl River, Rhinebeck, Shoreham-Wading River, Suffern, Tappan Zee, Valley Central and Bay Shore.
Big Red Invitational [Lincolndale, N.Y. ]
Somers' Big Red Invitational will feature mostly teams from Westchester County, but the best team in the field is Arlington from Dutchess County. John Jay-EF, Brewster, Washingtonville, Somers, Mahopac and Briarcliff all have good teams or elite runners to watch. Arlington is expected to be a contender for the boys' Class A State championships in November and this will be its season debut.
VVS Invitational [Verona, N.Y. ]
The biggest meet in New York State this weekend appears to be the VVS Invitational with 65 schools expected to attend. Since it was the site of the N.Y. State Championships last fall, this meet will help to clear up the early-season rankings. CNS, Tully, Beaver River, Marcellus, Liverpool, Sauquoit Valley and Westhill are just some of the top teams competing. Full race assignments have been posted here.
Jim Smith Invitational [Kings Park, N.Y. ]
Long Island will open the gates to Sunken Meadow State Park on Saturday for the Jim Smith Invitational. This meet can be hard to use as a gauge to team strength because the races are broken down by grade. But Long Island is deep this year, so this meet could help us see who has the early edge.
Cherokee Challenge [Marlton, N.J.]
New Jersey's top meet will easily be the Cherokee Challenge as more than 80 schools are racing. Once again all runners will compete in grade-specific races and not with their full varsity teams. Top New Jersey teams include West Windsor Plainsboro South boys (N.J. No. 2), Haddonfield boys (N.J. No. 5), Voorhees girls (N.J. No. 2), Hillsborough girls (N.J. No. 5) and Hunterdon Central girls (N.J. No. 9). Tatnall (Del.) will also be racing and the girls are ranked No. 3 in the country by TullyRunners.com.