2019 Mid-Penn Individual Pre-Season Outlook – Boys

Below you will find the 2019 Pre-Season Top 30 individual performer rankings for the Mid-Penn (MP) Conference. Rankings were based off of individuals 2018 XC performances at the MP and PIAA District III Championships. The individual’s 2019 returning ranks from those meets are listed in columns 2 and 3. 2019 Outdoor track and field performances for distances 800m-3200m also factored into the 2019 pre-season rankings. The Central PA Runner Pre-Season Rankings are seen in column 1 and that is how the list below is sorted.

Brayden Harris (jr) of Mifflin County is the favorite coming into the 2019 season. He was the 2018 MP Conference and PIAA District VI Champion. He went on to place 4th at the PIAA AAA State Championships as a sophomore last year. Harris just missed a chance to compete at the Footlocker National XC Championships in San Diego, finishing 12th at the Northeast Regional Championships (Top 10 advance to nationals). He finished 9th at the Indoor State Meet at 3k and just missed a berth at outdoor states at 1600m. He did set new Outdoor PRs in both the 3200m (9:38.38) and 1600m (4:28.79) this spring.

Carlisle’s Casey Padgett (sr) had a breakout junior track and field season. He lowered his 3200m PR running 9:23.14 and finished 8th at the PIAA AAA State Meet in the event. He will look to ride that success into the fall XC season where he has the potential to be a state medalist.

Jakolby Fackler (jr) figures to lead a strong Palmyra squad in 2019. He had a great sophomore season. He just missed a trip to states in XC, but earned his first state meet berth in the 3200m this spring. At the state meet he lowered his 3200m PR to 9:36.73 and finished 15th overall in AAA. He should compete for a state medal in XC this fall and if all goes to plan, the entire team should earn a berth at the District III AAA Championships. Teammate Matt Carroll (sr) is unranked due to not competing in 2018/2019 due to injury, but the talent is there to compete with the best in the MP and D3AAA. Carroll’s top XC performances come from his sophomore season when he was 6th in the MP and 12th in D3AAA. He was the top underclassman in 2017, defeating the likes of Harris, Padgett, and Fackler. Zachary Toth (sr) is another Palmyra standout looking for a state XC medal. He was the team’s top performer at the D3AAA meet in 2019 and went on to finish 33rd at the PIAA AAA State meet. He finished his junior season with a 13th place finish in the 1600m at the outdoor AAA State Meet. Add in Markus Vottero (jr) and Palmyra could have 4 runners in the top 10 if Carroll returns to form.

Hershey has the strength to compete with Palmyra up-front. They return 5 athletes who could finish top 20 at Mid-Penn’s. As juniors last season, they led the Trojans to the PIAA State Meet where they would finish 15th. That experience last season should serve them well in 2019. Brendon Shea, Kohen Stover, Luke Sheppard, Tommy Johnson, and Ethan Rogers give Hershey a very strong top 5. They will likely have the tightest pack from 1-5 in the conference this post-season. Johnson was injured during the 2019 outdoor season and will be looking to bounce back in time for XC.

State College has a strong trio in senior Ben St. Pierre and junior’s Brady Bigger and Bennett Norton. Add-in sophomore Sean Adams and the Little Lions could have 4 runners inside the top 20. They appear to be the only other team that could challenge Hershey and Palmyra for the team title.

Red Land senior Aiden Gonder will be looking for a return trip to the PIAA AAA XC Championships this fall. He is the #6 returner in the MP and #8 returner in D3AAA. He placed 10th at a stacked Carlisle Invite in 2018. He placed 8th at Mid-Penn’s outdoors at 3200m in a new PR of 9:46.99.

Carlisle junior Evan Peachey could join Padgett in the top 10, but the Thundering Herd likely lack the additional fire power up front to challenge the top 3 teams.

The top underclassman in the MP Conference is Greencastle-Antrim sophomore Weber Long. Long is the #3 returner in PIAA District III AA competition and will likely compete for his first state medal this fall. Look for him to improve upon his MP returnee rank.

Three freshman to keep an eye on include Cumberland Valley’s Jordan Tiday, Carlisle’s Kevin Shank, and Greencastle-Antrim’s Dalton Noblit. Tiday won the Carlisle MS Meet of Champions by 15-seconds over runner up Shank. Shank won the Gettysburg MS Invite before finishing 2nd to Tiday at Carlisle. Noblit finished 4th at the Carlisle MS Meet.