Mid-Penn Conference XC Championship Preview (Girls)

G-A jr Taryn Parks leading the pack at the start of PTXC10

Girls Team Race:

Heading into conference championship weekend/week the following Mid-Penn teams are ranked in our district top 10:


#2 Hershey

#3 Carlisle

#7 Mechanicsburg

Cumberland Valley is on the bubble and is coming off of their best performance to date in winning the Gettysburg Invitational over Hershey. In fairness to Hershey, they were without team #1 Katie Jones who did not race.


#1 Northern

#5 Boiling Springs


#1 Camp Hill

Not mentioned above is the top team from District 6, State College. The girls from State College are currently ranked the #5 team in the state by Milesplit and will be the favorites to win the team title on Saturday. State College’s JV team would likely place in the top 5 at Mid-Penn’s as they currently have 15 girls who have run under 22:00 this year. They have three girls who have run sub 20:00 and their top 7 have all run under 20:30. Northern appears most ready to challenge State College. Their top 7 have run 21:46 or faster and have 2 athletes who have run sub 20, including junior Marlee Starliper who has run a PA #1 time of 17:58 this year. Hershey, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, and Cumberland Valley will also be battling State College and Northern for a top 3 finish. Hershey has 3 girls who have run sub 20:00 so far this year. They will need a strong performance from their #4-7 runners if they are to compete with the likes of State College and Northern. Carlisle‘s top runner from a year ago, Meg Lebo, has missed most of the year, however she did compete at the Salesianum Invite last weekend in her return to action and won the JV race by nearly 40 seconds, running 22:19. She has a PR of 18:57 from last year’s Carlisle Invitational and finished 23rd in the state in 2017. It will be interesting to watch to see if she competes this weekend in an effort to ramp up her fitness before Districts and states. Sophia Toti has done a nice job leading the Thundering Herd in Lebo’s absence. Mechanicsburg finished one place ahead of Carlisle and one place behind Hershey at the Carlisle Invitational. Cumberland Valley may be peaking at the right time. They are coming of a team victory at the Gettysburg Invitational last weekend and placed three runners in the top 20.

Predicted Team Finish:

1. State College

2. Northern

3. Hershey

4. Carlisle

5. Mechanicsburg

Girls Individual Race:

While Northern and Greencastle-Antrim have competed at some of the same meets this Fall, we have yet to see a showdown between two of the nations best in juniors Marlee Starliper and Taryn Parks. Both ran sub 18:00 on the same weekend. Parks at the Carlisle Invitational and Starliper at the Paul Short Invite at Lehigh University. Parks 17:59 at Carlisle was a PR and a PA #2 time. She is undefeated in invitationals this year, winning PTXC10, Ben Bloser, and Carlisle. Parks is the defending Mid-Penn Conference champion; she narrowly beat Abby Yourkavitch (Chambersburg, now running at East Carolina Univ) in 2017. Starliper did not compete at Mid-Penn’s last year. Will she compete at the conference meet in 2018? She battled an illness that delayed the start of her 2018 campaign, but her 17:58 victory at Paul Short showed she is ready to roll. Both she and Parks will have their focus on post season success beyond the PIAA championships as both are Foot Locker finalists from 2017. The Northern junior has a lifetime PR of 16:50 run last year at the Carlisle Invitational. Starliper and Parks are in a league of their own and if both compete will be battling to the finish line for the conference championship. Mackenna Krebs (sr, CD East) has had a great season so far and is the top senior in the field. She is the only other runner in the field who has gone under 19 minutes and has run in the 18s at each of the three invitationals she has competed in. She won the LVC Dutchmen Invite on 9/8 in a time of 18:43, 55 seconds ahead of her teammate and second place finisher Delaney Lane. Krebs then placed 2nd a week later at Ben Bloser in 18:58. Krebs would then finish 8th at a very competitive Carlisle Invitational in 18:48.

Other top contenders include: Sophia Toti (jr, Carlisle); Katie Jones (jr, Hershey); Kileigh Kane (sr, State College); Faith Mark (sr, Hershey); Corinne Firestone (jr, Cedar Cliff); Delaney Line (soph, CD East); and Jordan Reed (soph, State College). The top freshman in the field is Katelyn Deitrick (Bishop McDevitt), who ran 19:41 at the Carlisle Invite.

Should be a great race at Big Spring! Good luck to all athletes!!