It's the time of year again that we have all been waiting for. The NECTC wraps up the fall season in Rye, NY at the Westchester Triathlon, where champions will be made. The race will include a record setting turnout for the NECTC with nearly 200 participants from 20 universities.
Last year West Point took the Combined Team victory, along with the Overall Male Team victory. The ladies of BU edged out the Black Knights by just 15 points. Jacob Slife (West Point), Spencer Ralston (Saint Michael's) and Andrew Keenan (Drexel) made up the male podium. The female podium included Ellen Witkowski (BU), Stephanie Lie (BU), and Meghan Smith (Drexel). This year however, it looks like there are going to be some shakeups on the podium, and many final positions will come down to head to head matchups this weekend.
All of our top performers are back this year, and fighting to shake up the overall podiums. Spencer Ralston (Saint Mike's) comes into the race looking to take the top of the podium with overall victories this season at Rev3 Maine and Lake George. With a win at Westchester, Ralston would become the first athlete since Jason West of Penn State to earn a perfect season score. Andrew Keenan (Drexel) returns to the fold, and would need to beat Ralston by two spots to take the overall season title. The fight for third is a little less clear. Nick Chatel (West Point) is in a tight position, with Jonathon Joyce (Drexel) and Dakota Greenblatt (UVM) close on his heels. With a third place overall finish by Chatel, either Joyce of Greenblatt would only need to finish in the top 10 to steal the final podium spot. The winner of the head to head battle between Joyce and Greenblatt would take the podium. Jacob Slife is another to watch out for in this race. He is not an overall season contender, as this is his first race, but he is last year's defending NECTC Champion.
The female season podium seems to be more vulnerable to change this year. With Ellen Witkowski (BU) not participating, Meghan Smith (Drexel) comes in with the best chance of taking the winning title. She is currently ranked 8th in the standings, but this being her third race means she will move up significantly. Stephanie Lie (BU) sits only three points back, which means if things go to plan, the winner in this head to head match up will take the title, and the other will be runner up. The final podium spot is open to Lindsay Fisher (Northeastern), Lauren Cenci (UConn) and Ariana Adler (UConn). Look for the matchup between Cenci and Fisher to be the deciding factor. Outside of the season title contenders, look for Cecilia Davis-Hayes (Columbia) and Teresa Groton (West Point) to take stabs at the podium for this weekend's race.
On the team front, West Point has the upper hand on both the male and female side. The male side is basically wrapped up, but the female standings are a bit closer. If BU can edge out West Point this weekend, they will remain the female team champions. If West Point can beat out BU by one spot, they will take the season title by a mere five points. A head to head matchup between UConn and Northeastern is bound to decide the final female team podium spot. The male team podium is in tight contention between Northeastern, Drexel, and UConn. The winner between Drexel and UConn will be the likely decider between second and third.
Our Current Individual Standings
1. Nick Chatel (West Point) 2. Dylan Varrato (West Point)
3. Stephen Mais (Northeastern) 4. Paul O'Donnel (West Point)