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Race Preview: Conference Championship

The final weekend of the NECTC fall season is upon us and shaping up to be a great finish! The conference championship is back in New York after a short stint in New Jersey, and athletes will be fighting to capture the coveted 200 points to solidify their final standing. In this issue of our race preview we will focus not only on our Westchester favorites, but final standings favorites.

The Westchester Triathlon features a swim of the Long Island Sound with water temperatures typically in the low 70s. The swim is described as usually quite calm, but as our conference championship two years ago, it was anything but. During the swim athletes will go beyond the walls used to block the wake and can hit some rough waters. Time will tell as this seems to change year by year.

The bike course displays rolling hills throughout, and one major climb, “Claire’s Climb.” This climb is only .4 miles long, but features a sharp incline. After this point in the course athletes can expect a downhill average back to transition.

The run course is relatively flat. The first 1.5 miles along the boardwalk are among the flatest on the course. Then athletes will face two short hills, and will continue rolling until the finish with a short grassy downhill to end.

Time for the race previews! Now I will try to cover top 5 predictions for the championship race itself as that is how deep the awards go. The awards go 3 deep for our overall season standings, therefore I will go 3 deep for those.

Male Individual:

Current Standings (Top 3 Contenders):

1. Jacob Slife (West Point) – 341 points

13. Spencer Ralston (St. Michael’s) – 244 points

15. Andrew Keenan (Drexel) – 237 points

This one is going to be exciting to watch. Barring any catastrophe, first place comes down to Jacob Slife (West Point) and Spencer Ralston (Saint Michael’s). Ralston will be competing in his vital third race of the season and is going to make a major jump in the standings. The fight for first place is pretty simple, whichever one of these athletes beats the other, will win. If Ralston beats Slife he will edge Slife in the final standings by a single point, and if Slife wins he will win by 5 points. The race for third seems to be a no brainer as Andrew Keenan of Drexel stands alone as long as he finishes in the top five.

My Championship Race Predictions

1-2 Jacob Slife and Spencer Ralston. Seeing as I coach one of them I will not be making

this prediction. Just going to have to watch and see.

3. Andrew Keenan (Drexel) – 192 points

4. Peter Hetzel (West Point) – 188 points

5. Steven Vitabile (Rutgers) – 184 points

With these predictions the final standings would be:

1-2: Jacob Slife/Spencer Ralston (If Ralston wins: 444 to 443, if Slife wins 447 to 442)

3. Andrew Keenan (429 points)

Male Team:

Current Standings:

1. USCGA (360 points)

2. West Point (350 points)

3. UConn (300 points)

It is tight at the top of the conference heading into the championship. US Coast Guard (360), West Point (350), and UConn (300) are the only teams in the 300s and virtually have a lock on the top three spots. However, those three spots can certainly move around. UConn is poised to make a big jump to close the gap as this will be their 3rd race with their full team, and therefore will have a major impact on their total points. West Point is short their top athlete Dylan Morgan who suffered a broken collar bone in last week’s race at Buzzard’s Bay, but still have Jacob Slife leading the way and are a clear race favorite. Chris Mulhall (UConn) and Sam Roets (USCGA) lead their respective teams in this tight race, but it will be the likes of their 3rd and 4th finishers who will make the difference in the end.

My championship race predictions.

  1. West Point (200 points)

  2. US Coast Guard (180 points)

  3. UConn (160 points)

  4. Rutgers (140 points)

  5. Drexel (120 points)

With these predictions the final standings would be:

  1. West Point (450 points) – Win Tiebreaker

  2. US Coast Guard (450 points)

  3. UConn (430 points)

Female Individual:

Current Standings (Top 3 Contenders):

7. Ellen Witkowski (BU) – 285 points

8. Stephanie Lie (BU) – 261 points

10. Meghan Smith (Drexel) – 242 points

The females head into this race with a little more space. Although my pre-race favorite is not in these top three, these three athletes are likely to take the season podium spots. The BU ladies strategically picked the highest valued races and put out stellar performances at each. If the ladies can do the same they should be able to swipe up the first two podium spots. Natalie Tukan would have rounded out the podium for BU, but is out due to injury. This leaves third open for Meghan Smith (Drexel) to take. Smith is the top performing young athlete for the season, and looking to have a bright future in the conference. A better selection of races next year and she will be in contention for first.

This weekend’s race should be won by Cecilia Davis-Hayes (Columbia) who had a dominating performance at Lake George, but she will only finish with two races towards her overall score.

My championship race predictions:

1. Cecilia Davis-Hayes (Columbia) – 200 points

2. Meghan Smith (Drexel) – 196 points

3. Ellen Witkowski (BU) – 192 points

4. Stephanie Lie (BU) – 188 points

5. MacKenzie Williams (West Point) – 184 points

With these predictions the final standings would be:

1. Ellen Witkowski (477 points)

2. Stephanie Lie (449 points)

3. Meghan Smith (438 points)

Female Team:

Current Standings:

  1. West Point (350 points)

  2. USCGA (315 points)

  3. BU (315 points)

The women’s team race is looking to be a repeat. The BU ladies should be able to defend their title, even without one of their big 3 in Natalie Tukan. Even if they only take 3rd in this weekend’s race they will defend their top spot. Second and third will be filled by West Point and USCGA, and USCGA will need to be out West Point if they wish to steal away second place. West Point is missing their top two females in this race so an upset could be in place.

My championship race predictions:

1. BU (200 points)

2. West Point (180 points)

3. Drexel (160 points)

4. USCGA (140 points)

5. UConn (120 points)

With these predictions the final standings would be:

1. BU (485 points) – Back to Back Champions???

2. West Point (430 points)

3. USCGA (365 points)

Overall Team:

West Point is poised to take the overall team win again. The real race is for second between USCGA and UConn. It will certainly be a fight to the finish, but it is fun to see a little rivalry forming here this year as they have consistently went back and forth.

With the predictions I made above the following would be combined winners:

1. West Point


3. UConn

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