2019 PIAA AAA State XC Championship Preview


D3 Top Medal Contenders

7 District III boys earned state medals in AAA in 2018. That number will be difficult to replicate this season. That said, there are still a number of individuals with a chance to end up on the medal stand. Jonathan Thrush (sr, Muhlenberg) has been one of the areas most consistent performers all season. He won the D3AAA title a week ago and should contend for a top 20 finish this weekend. Penn Manor’s Graham Thomas (jr) has bounced back in a big way after an early season injury. He was 3rd at the LL League meet and then finished 2nd at D3AAAs. Look for him to have another great meet on Saturday. One of the breakout newcomers this season has been Central Dauphin freshman TJ Roden. He has great closing speed and has shown he can run fast times in a variety of conditions and off of a variety of opening paces. If he runs like he did at districts, then he could battle for a top 25 finish. While Cedar Crest’s Tommy Bildheiser (jr) had a rare off-day last weekend (finishing 18th), he has been one of the best runners in the area all season. Look for him to bounce back and contend for a top 25 finish.

  • Out of District VI (Mid-Penn members State College and Mifflin Co): State College teammates Brady Bigger (jr) and Ben St. Pierre (sr) went 1-2 at the District VI Championships. They, along with D6AAA 3rd place finisher Brayden Harris (jr, Mifflin Co), should all compete for top-25 finishes.)

Others to watch: Shippensburg’s Hayden Hunt (sr) and Eli Spence (jr); Hempfield’s Jack Mieszkalski (sr) and Evan Eshleman (jr). Carlisle’s Evan Peachey (jr) and Cedar Crest’s Luke Hinegardner (so) have been moving up the rankings over the past two weeks, so keep an eye on them.

Team Race

Cedar Crest has spent the entire season ranked #1 in our District III rankings and they didn’t disappoint with their District III Championship performance from a week ago. They have top 3 potential. LaSalle College and Downingtown West appear to be the favorites heading into the weekend. Hershey defeated State College at Mid-Penn’s before both squads went their separate ways (State College won the District VI title). Both are likely top 10 teams that could push for a top 5 finish. Twin Valley should also compete for a spot in the top 10. Cumberland Valley was the surprise of the day for me at Districts when they earned the 4th and final team spot for states. Look for them to compete for a top 15 finish.


D3 Top Medal Contenders

There is a loaded contingent of District III girl’s heading into the state meet. Sophia Toti (sr, Carlisle) and Gwenyth Young (jr, Cedar Crest) will likely pace this group at states. Both Toti and Young should contend for a top 3 finish this weekend. If they have a great day they could contend for the win. Northeastern’s Margaret Carroll (jr) was 3rd at D3AAA and has put together a season suggesting a top 10-15 finish is within her reach. Wilson’s Caryn Rippey enters her first state meet with a strong medal chance. The sophomore has risen to each challenge she has faced in her first high school cross country season. Look for her to battle for a top 15 finish. Also in contention for a top 15-25 finish will be Dallastown’s Emily Schuler (sr), Mechanicsburg’s Hope McKenney (so), Dover freshman Summer Hogan, Elizabethtown senior Katie Locker, and Chambersburg freshman Camryn Kiser.

  • Out of District VI – State College freshman Marlee Kwasnica won the District VI title last weekend and should factor into the medal hunt. Kylee Cubbison (so) of Mifflin Co and State College’s Jordan Reed (jr) and Lizzie Gilpatrick (sr) should also battle for top 25 finishes.

Team Race

State College appears to have the area’s best chance of finishing amongst the top 3 teams on Saturday. They dominated the District VI meet and won the Mid-Penn Conference a couple of weeks earlier. Carlisle, Dallastown, Mechanicsburg, and Hershey should all challenge for top 10 finishes. It’s a shame District III was only allotted 4 team spots this season as I believe Chambersburg, Northeastern, and Wilson would have also challenged for top 10 finishes.