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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

SmAlbany: cross-country heaven

SmAlbany, cross-country heaven: Abduction attempts of team members notwithstanding, one thing the greater SmAlbany area is nationally famous for is high school running. The Suburban Council has continually been considered one of the most competitive high school running leagues in the country over the past two decades. The Saratoga High School girl's team is undisputedly the all-time best high school running program in the nation. Section 2 has consistently had both boys and girls qualify to the Foot Locker cross-country national championship and teams to the Nike Team Nationals. Local teams almost always either win or come close to winning the state title in a variety of classes each November. And one of the best cross-country courses you'll ever see is at Saratoga State Park.

This year is no exception. On national website like DyeStat and Armory Track, section 2 is literally plastered all over the place. Both the boy's and girl's teams from Saratoga are ranked among the best in the nation, despite the gir's team losing it best runner, Nicole Blood, to private training. A number of other local schools are contending to be among the 20 teams invited to the Nike Team Nationals in Demcember. And if you look at the New York State rankings, all of the following teams are ranked in the top 20 in the state in either class AA or class A: Saratoga boys (#2, class AA), Shen boys (#5, AA), Guilderland boys (#7, AA), Shaker boys (#12, AA), Niskayuna boys (#15, AA), Queensbury boys (#1, A), Burnt Hills boys (#2, A), Scotia boys (#7, A), Averill Park boys (#10, A), Saratoga girls (#1, AA), Shen girls (#7, AA), Columbia girls(#10, AA), Shaker girls (#11, AA), Bethlehem girls(#13, AA), Colonie girls (#15, AA), Holy Names girls (#1, A), Burnt Hills girls (#2, A), Queensbury girls (#7, A), Amsterdam girls(#13, A).

That's simply astounding. The sad part of it is, however, that the New York State Cross country championships only allow the single best team from each section in each class to race for the state title (individuals can qualify also). So despite having so many teams in the top 10 in all divisions, most of them will miss the state championships. I ran for Shaker back in the 90's, and we always missed the state meet because of this system.

I say all this because today is the section 2 championship race. It is usually held at Saratoga Park, but today it is at Queensbury because the state championsihp is going to be held there next week. Good luck to all the teams, and best of luck at states and nationals.

If you'd like more information on section 2 running, there is a tremendous website about it, with up-to-date statistics, discussions, and history: section2harrier.
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At 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

XCountry is certainly huge around here, but don't sell soccer short, especially girls soccer. This area, and the Suburban Council in particular, produces some of the best girls high school soccer and basketball players in the East.

You want high rankings? Shenendehowa is ranked second in the country in one national poll and 9th in another. They are ranked second in the state in both major state polls. The Bethlehem girls are ranked 5th in the state and the Guilderland girls are 15th. And the rest of the AA pack is not too bad, either. Columbia upset Guilderland this week. Saratoga pushed Shen before falling 1-0 and Bethlehem had to go into four overtimes to beat Niskayuna. That's just the AA bracket.

Burnt Hills is ranked 11th in the state in A. Tamarac is second, Chatham 8th, Emma Willard 12th and Fonda-Fultonville 16th in B,there are five Section II teams in the top 16 in class C, led by Hoosick Falls (2nd) and Stillwater (3rd).In Class D New Lebanon is 5th and Loudonville Christian 16th.

Shen won the state title last year and made it to the semi-finals two years ago. They have a 60-6-1 record in the past three years and are 28-0-1 in their last 29 games.

Tamarac won the state title last year and Burnt Hills won a title two years ago.

All these schools will send players to top academic schools with national reputations in soccer.

The same can be said for girls hoop around here. UAlbany, St. Rose and Siena would do well to keep a few more kids like Amanda Blackstone, Katie Mora, Erin Gray, Kristen Designue, Sarah Hinman and Sarah Lombard close to home.    

At 4:08 PM , Blogger Miss Muffet said:

As far as the resturant situation with your friends, try Gandhi if you haven't- it's on one Central Ave, just up from where Deja Vu video was. Dinner for one person will probably by from $7-$9; service is prompt, I believe about 20 minutes or so at the most, and the food is very good.    

At 1:44 AM , Anonymous alpha male said:

Hi there Blogger, I had been out looking for some new information on art of seduction when I found your site and SmAlbany: cross-country heaven. Though not just what I was searching for, it drew my attention. An interesting post and I thank you for it.    

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