PIAA District III AAA Girls Championship Preview

October 21, 2018

Team Race

The top 4 teams and top 20 individuals not on one of the top 4 teams will qualify for the PIAA State Championships in Hershey on November 3.

Berks County Champion (BCIAA) – Governor Mifflin

Governor Mifflin has been the most consistent AAA team in District 3 (D3) this season. They were the #1 D3 team on 9/8 at PTXC10 when they placed 3rd overall with a score of 175. Hershey was the 2nd D3 team at the event finishing with 198 points. They followed this up with an invitational team title at the Council Rock Invitational on 9/22. At that event, they placed 3 runners in the top 10. They most recently won the BCIAA Championship where they placed 4 athletes in the top 10. At the BCIAA Championships they defeated other D3 powers Exeter and Wilson. The Mustangs have a legitimate low-stick runner in Andrea Miller (sr) who should challenge for an individual title.

BCIAA Championship Top 3

York/Adams Champion (YAIAA) – Dallastown

Dallastown was one of our pre-season favorites, but team depth early in the season caused them to fall in our rankings. Then came the YAIAA Championships where they dominated, winning the team title while scoring only 41 points. The Wildcats had 4 runners finish in the top 10 and their #5 runner, Helen Zardus (soph), running in her season opening invitational, placed 16th overall in 20:30. Like Governor Mifflin, Dallastown also has a low-stick athlete who will have individual title aspirations in junior Emily Schuler. Dallastown will need their top 5 to remain healthy as they don’t have the depth beyond that to challenge with the other top teams in the district.

Mid-Penn Conference Champion – State College (District 6)

Carlisle and Hershey have been very closely matched throughout the season and the Mid-Penn Conference Championships did little to separate the two. Carlisle would better Hershey scoring 122 -126. District 6’s State College would win the team title followed by D3 AA squad Northern, then Carlisle in 3rd. Carlisle was a pre-season favorite, but was dealt a blow as top runner Meg Lebo missed the majority of the season with health concerns. Lebo is a Division 1 talent and has committed to University of South Carolina. Junior Sophia Toti has stepped up to take on the #1 role. She ran 19:17 at Mid-Penn’s and is very familiar with the course at Big Spring.

Lancaster/Lebanon League Champion – Manheim Township

Manheim Township only returned 2 of their top 7 from last year’s State Championship runner-up finish, but that didn’t stop them from winning another LL League title. Township has one of the best 1-7 splits in D3, but may be without a top 20 individual performer at Districts. Junior Annabelle Lapp and sophomore Chloe Kline have been flirting with sub 20:00 min 5ks all year. They may not be ranked inside the top 20 going into the championships, but both have the potential to finish inside the top 20 on Saturday. This is a young team with a top 5 represented by 1 junior, 2 sophomores, and 2 freshmen.

Other Teams in Contention for a State Qualifying Berth

Exeter – Exeter finished 2nd to Governor Mifflin at the BCIAA Championships. Their top 6 runners all have season best times under 21 minutes. The Eagles have the best 1-5 split in D3 (20:11-20:34). They could pack their top 5 all within the top 50 or 60. That may be enough to place them amongst the top 4 teams. Freshman Helene Schevick placed 5th at the BCIAA championships with a 20:11 PR.

Hershey – Hershey is the 2nd ranked team entering the D3 championships out of the Mid-Penn Conference. They were the top D3 finisher at the Carlisle Invitational. At Carlisle they scored 369 and finished ahead of D3 competitors Mechanicsburg (390), Carlisle (394), Manheim Township (406), and Elizabethtown (430). Hershey has a lot of strength up front, having three runners who have season bests of 19:30 or better. They could place their top 3 athletes inside the top 15. If they can get good days out of their 4 and 5 finishers they could be state-bound.

Northeastern – Northeastern is one of the younger squads competing for a trip to Hershey. There top 2 runners are both freshman. Bella Treglia (PR – 19:11) and Marissa Pritchett (PR – 19:13) are coming off of 3rd and 4th place finishes at the YAIAA championships respectively. The Bobcats are the number 2 ranked team coming out of the YAIAA.

Elizabethtown – Elizabethtown has the best 1-3 punch in Districts. Any one of their top 3 could challenge for a district title. Junior Katie Locker (18:42) is coming off of a LL League Championship. She finished 9th at the state championship meet last Fall. Senior Cat Shontz has also run sub 19 this year when she ran a PR of 18:58 while placing 3rd at the LL League meet. Sophomore Madeline Quinn ran a season best 19:20 when she placed 4th at the league meet. Elizabethtown doesn’t have the benefit of depth, however. If they fail to qualify as a team, they should still be represented well with 3 likely individual qualifiers.

Wilson – the number 3 team out of Berks County is built similarly to county foe Exeter. They have a 1:02 split between their #1 and 5 runners. Junior Emily Velez has a run the fastest team 5k to date when she ran 19:55 at the Lehigh University Paul Short Run. She was the team’s 3rd finisher at the BCIAA Championships which speaks to their depth and minimal split between 1-5. Freshman Ella Kahn was the team’s top finisher at the county championship, finishing 4th in 20:10.

Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg, and Warwick could all compete for positioning within the top 10. Cumberland Valley is the 3rd ranked team from the Mid-Penn; Mechanicsburg is the 4th ranked team from Mid-Penn; and Warwick is the 3rd ranked team from the LL League.

Race Projection:

District III AAA Champion – Dallastown

District III AAA Runner-up – Governor Mifflin

3rd Place – Exeter

4th Place – Hershey

5th Place – Carlisle

6th Place – Northeastern

7th Place – Wilson

8th Place – Manheim Township

9th Place – Elizabethtown

10th Place – Cumberland Valley

Summary – Dallastown and Governor Mifflin seem most likely to qualify for states. The last two spots could be earned by anyone in the top 10, although Exeter and Hershey are our picks. Look for a very close battle for those top 4 spots next Saturday!

Individual Race

The individual race will feature 7 athletes who have run under 19 minutes so far this season. Gwyneth Young (Soph, Cedar Crest) has been under 19 minutes in each of the three invitationals she has competed in this year. She has a PR of 18:33 from the Carlisle Invitational and most recently finished runner-up at the LL League Championships where she ran 18:46. Young finished runner-up at her league meet to Elizabethtown junior Katie Locker. Locker ran a season best (SB) of 18:41 in winning the league meet. Locker finished 9th in the state in 2017. Dallastown junior Emily Schuler has the 2nd fastest 5k coming into Districts with her 18:39 from the YAIAA Championships. She finished 5th in the state last season. CD East senior Makenna Krebs has run sub 19 three times this year and has a SB of 18:43 which she ran at the fast LVC Invitational on 9/8. She most recently finished 3rd at the Mid-Penn Championships in 19:04. Kiersten Lloyd (jr, Red Lion) is coming off a nice PR at the YAIAA championships where she ran 18:49 for a 2nd place finish behind Schuler. Elizabethtown senior Cat Shontz also PRd at her league championship. She finished 3rd at the LL League meet in 18:58. Andrea Miller (sr, Gov Mifflin) is the 7th athlete who has a sub 19 time so far this fall. She ran 18:59 at PTXC10. She has not finished worse than 3rd in any of the 4 invitationals she has competed in this year. She is coming off a BCIAA championship in which she ran 19:09.

Others to watch – Season Best Time

Sophia Toti (jr, Carlisle) – 19:08

Bella Treglia (fr, Northeastern) – 19:11

Marissa Pritchett (fr, Northeastern) – 19:13

Katie Jones (jr, Hershey) – 19:16

Mary Campbell (jr, Ephrata) – 19:16

Madeline Quinn (so, Elizabethtown) – 19:20

Arielle Breuninger (so, J.P. McCaskey) – 19:22

Faith Mark (sr, Hershey) – 19:28

Olivia Wilson (jr, Hershey) – 19:30

Corinne Firestone (jr. Cedar Cliff) – 19:30