Burnt Hills and Queensbury are about 35 miles apart.
To get an idea how much separates them in cross country, though, you’d have to hit the zoom-out button on Mapquest until Nova Scotia, Chicago and North Carolina appear, and the two towns disappear under the red star.
The boys’ and girls’ programs from each school will square off again in one of the best rivalries in Section II fall sports today in the sectional championships at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Based on the most recent meets, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake seems to have a little more momentum.
Based on history, it’s anybody’s ballgame.
On the boys’ side, Burnt Hills won six straight sectionals, with Queensbury second each time, starting in 1999, but Queensbury has beaten BH the last three years and gone on to win the Class A state meet.
In the 11 years since 1997, the Queensbury girls have won four and finished second five times, and Burnt Hills is 3-3, including the last two championships by close margins over Queensbury.
This season, the BH and Queensbury girls have been ranked nationally along with AA powerhouses Saratoga and Shenendehowa.
Burnt Hills opened some eyes with a four-point victory over Saratoga Springs at the Suburban Council Championships. The Spartans’ Sam Roecker, Molly Pezzulo, Meaghan Gregory, Alyssa Drapeau and
Riley Wilk all finished in the top 15 of a race won with an outstanding performance by Shen’s Lizzie Predmore in 16:58.09 for 3.05 miles on the state park course.
Prior to the league championships, Queensbury and Burnt Hills were ranked 1-2, respectively, in the state.
The Queensbury boys, meanwhile, have been following their familiar pattern by dominating the Foothills Council campionship meet and the Troy Invitational.
The top-ranked Burnt Hills boys have been rolling, too, running torrid times on the state park course in the Burnt Hills Invitational and finishing second behind nationally ranked Shen by nine points at the SC championships.
Both Burnt Hills and Queensbury have beaten a highly ranked AA team from outside the section this season, and Queensbury also has a loss to Shen, at the Grout Run.
In Class AA, the Plainsmen were third in the Eastern States Championships race at the Manhattan Invitational are looking to win their third straight Section II title and 12th since 1991.
The Saratoga girls were nine points better than Shenendehowa at the SC meet, and those two will duke it out for the chance to race against nationally top-ranked Fayetteville-Manlius at the state meet.
The Blue Streaks and Lady Plainsmen are ranked 2-3, respectively, in the state behind F-M. Saratoga has won eight straight and 11 of the last 12 championships, with Shenendehowa second the last three years.
In Class B, Broadalbin-Perth is in position to sweep the boys’ and girls’ titles, but the Cobleskill-Richmondville and Lansingburgh girls are ranked.
Jonathan Aziz of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons is the defending Class B champion.
The Class C boys’ race should be tight between Voorheesville and Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
The Greenwich girls have been ranked No. 1 in the state in Class D all season and have won four straight sectionals, three C’s and a D in 2005.