September 19, 2012
Well, they now have out some state rankings, as there's enough of the regular season in the books to make some early judgments, even if they are just guesses.
Here, we'll start with girls soccer, where one Section III team is on top - Remsen, in Class D. And there's good reason for it. The Rams are off back-to-back state Class D final four appearances and still have, in Erin O'Connor, one of the area's best athletes, a star both in soccer and cross country at the same time. Poland is also in the top 10, at no. 8, the Tornadoes appearing to be a formidable challenger to Remsen come late October.
Manlius-Pebble Hill's win over Tully last week helped boost the Trojans to no. 4 in Class C, and the Black Knights aren't even there, maybe a bit hasty. Sauquoit Valley, who dominated in 2009 and 2010 and nearly won state titles both times, has returned at no. 10, perhaps ready for another big run.
Class B sees Marcellus at no. 4 (no surprise) and Westhill not ranked (a real surprise), even though they nearly had a 0-0 draw on Sept. 6 before Brielle Filtch's goal late in overtime. Clinton has sneaked in at no. 16, but are they worthy?
In Class A, J-D, the three-time champs, has settled into the no. 13 spot, three ahead of Whitesboro, though the Warriors beat a Class AA team (Liverpool) on Sept. 10 and the Red Rams didn't, despite two shots at F-M. Those Hornets, maybe ready to end a 16-year title drought, has rode a quick start to a no. 22 spot in Class AA, though Baldwinsville (no. 16) is still ahead of them.
Two weeks of football rankings are settled now, and the two remaining Class AA unbeatens, CBA and F-M, are into the no. 13 and 16 spots, respectively, and no one will really be able to tell who is better until the playoffs, if they meet. The close nature of all those AA games means Baldwinsville, Liverpool, Henninger and even West Genesee (at 1-2) can think about title shots.
J-D's rise in Class A is paired with the Nottingham's, and the pair hold the 18 and 19 spots in the state poll, both behind Watertown, who sits comfortably at no. 8. In Class B, the meaning of Friday's Chittenango-Homer showdown gets magnified since the Bears have risen to no. 3 and the Trojans are at no. 11. Cazenovia's big win at Oneida got the Lakers back in the rankings, too, but all chase Maine-Endwell at the top, and M-E has merely beat its last two opponents by a combined 120-9. That's what awaits in regionals. Gulp.
Skaneateles is starting to make some believers in Class C, moving up to no. 13, just behind the champs from Herkimer at no. 10 and ahead of Canastota at 20. Oh yes, let me remind you that Hornell, winners of the last three Class B state titles, is now in C, and the win streak is at 42 and counting, one of the nation's longest.
Westmoreland goes into Saturday's Class D showdown with Dolgeville with the Bulldogs at no. 3 and the Blue Devils at no. 16. Weedsport is in between them at the 7 spot and West Canada sits at 14, though Port Byron's 3-0 start has not merited them anything yet. That will change if the Panthers upend Weedsport in October.
Cross country rankings are out, too. Yes, yes, F-M at no. 1 in both Class A spots, ho hum, but also Baldwinsville in the boys top 10, Tully and Adirondack in Class C and Beaver River, Weedsport Sauquoit Valley and Onondaga in Class D. And that doesn't even count individuals like Ryan Manahan (Marcellus) and Nick Tyler (South Jefferson) that have been impressive.
C-NS, B'ville and Liverpool give Section III some real depth in girls Class A, all behind the Hornets, of course, but it's still something to brag about, along with West Genesee's Laura Leff. Then there's Skaneateles still at no. 2 behind Bronxville in Class C, with Tully at no. 4 and Cazenovia at no. 7 . South Jefferson has made it into the B poll at 18, while Beaver River (third) and Sauquoit Valley (fifth0 both sit in the state Class D top five.
And a lot of running, and ranking remains.