They’re the little school that not only could but always does.
Bronxville may be Class C in size, but in girls cross country and track the only grade it gets is an A.
The Broncos will open the 2016 cross-country season as the defending Section 1 Class C champion and state Class C runner-up. Last fall, they finished fourth at the county cross-country meet, running against schools with significantly more students.
Little has changed this year for the Broncos.
Yes, they’ve lost one of their top competitors, Hilary Rizzo, to graduation.
But they’ve got their No. 1 girl, senior Kaitlin Ryan, back.
Ryan, who won gold at the State Championships last spring at 1,000 meters, was eighth at States last fall in cross country. And the highly recruited Ryan is looking stronger after a good summer of training.
Longtime coach Jim Mitchell, who’s someone not known for superlatives, said, “Kaitlin is tremendous. The next four or five are very good.”
That includes junior Olivia Scotti. She and Ryan were on Bronxville’s girls 4×800 relay that finished third among all private and public schools in New York last spring. Scotti also finished 24th out of 129 at cross-country States last fall.
Mitchell is also excited about sophomore Gigi Chrappa and senior Sydney Coddington.
He also expects a boost from transfer student Patty Haggerty, a sophomore.
“She’s looking very, very good this week,” he said. “She’ll make a very significant impact on our top five.”
The sixth of seven top spots is expected to be won by eighth-grader Avery Widen. She ran freshman cross-country races last fall but was 11th in the Section 1 State Qualifier at 1,500 meters last spring.
The last spot is up for grabs, but Mitchell doesn’t appear worried about his team.
“Pretty much everyone is coming along as I hoped,” Mitchell said. “They look like they’re in good shape and look better than last year at this time.”
Noting the State Championships will be held in upstate Chenango Valley, where Bronxville won the State Championship in 2004, Mitchell quipped, “Maybe that’s a good sign.”
Second place is great. But the Bronxville boys cross-country team is a little tired of it.
Last year, the boys again finished as Section 1 Class C runner-up to Pleasantville, the team Bronxville coach Jim Agnello characterizes as their friendly rivals. The Panthers also edged them out in 2014 and ’13. Before that, Bronxville finished second for three consecutive years to Pawling.
A new year, though, brings new hope.
“We’re very excited,” Agnello said. “We have a lot of good returning athletes.”
The top two are seniors Joe Dougherty and Henry Vollmer.
Agnello is also “really hoping for big things” from three sophomores – Tim McGrath and twins Alex and Matt Rizzo.
“Those guys really look big,” he said.