The class of 2020 has officially run their course of XC courses in Pennsylvania. This class has been one of the best we have seen in Central Pennsylvania in some time. Marlee Starliper finished her illustrious career with a runner-up finish at the Footlocker National Championships. Taryn Parks became one of a select few to qualify for the Footlocker National Championship all 4 years of HS.
Here is a look at the District III XC seniors who have already committed to compete in the sport in college:
Mary Campbell, Ephrata – Mount Saint Mary’s University
Colleen Gilbert, Lampeter-Strasburg – Kutztown University
Savannah Hossfeld, Carlisle – University of Alabama
Allison Myers, Dallastown – West Chester University
Taryn Parks, Greencastle-Antrim – University of North Carolina
Emily Schuler, Dallastown – Temple University
Marlee Starliper, Northern – North Carolina State
Sophia Toti, Carlisle – Penn State University
Olivia Wilson, Hershey – Duquesne University
(I will continue to update the commitment list throughout the year)
The class of 2020 has left a lasting legacy on XC in PIAA District III. Their impact has no doubt elevated the level or performance of everyone following in their footsteps. In fact, 7 of the top 10 finishers from the District III AAA XC Championships return next season. Central PA may keep their streak of sending someone to nationals alive next year with Cedar Crest junior Gwyneth Young. Young medaled at the Footlocker Regional Meet and looks to be on pace to compete for a trip to San Diego next season. She is the area’s top XC returner for 2020. Northeastern’s Margaret Carroll (Class of 2021) and Wilson’s Caryn Rippey (Class of 2022) round out the top 3 returners in AAA and are the top 3 returners in all of District III based on time.
The freshman class (Class of 2023) came roaring into high school competition this season with multiple freshman making an impact in post-season races. Three of the top freshman this season were Chambersburg’s Camryn Kiser, Boiling Spring’s Peyton Ellis, and Dover’s Summer Hogan. Kiser would finish 14th at the AAA state meet with Hogan finishing 33rd. Ellis finished 14th at the AA state meet and is the top district 3 AA returner next season.
“All-CPAR XC Team” Honorees for 2019:
Marlee Starliper, sr Northern – Runner of the year
Taryn Parks, sr Greencastle-Antrim
Sophia Toti, sr Carlisle
Gwyneth Young, jr Cedar Crest
Margaret Carroll, jr, Northeastern
Caryn Rippey, so Wilson – Newcomer of the year
Peyton Ellis, fr Boiling Springs – Rookie of the year
Honorable Mention: Camryn Kiser, fr Chambersburg; Hope McKenney, so Mechanicsburg; Summer Hogan, fr Dover; Emily Schuler, sr Dallastown; Anna Martin, jr Warwick; Lydia Tolerico, so Dallastown; Katie Locker, sr Elizabethtown; Arielle Breuninger, jr JP McCaskey; Kiersten Lloyd, sr Red Lion; Gwendolyn Lloyd, sr Red Lion
Looking ahead to 2020 – Top Teams
(2019 district finish in parentheses)
Carlisle (1) – Graduate Sophia Toti and Savannah Hossfeld, but return 5 runners who all have sub-20 min 5k potential.
Mechanicsburg (2), Chambersburg (5), Wilson (6) – All three squads return their top 4 finishers from their 2019 teams and all have legitimate low scorers up front.
Northeastern (7) – Return their top 5 runners, including individual title contender Margaret Carroll.
Hershey (4) – Graduate senior Olivia Wilson, but return everyone else, including 5 freshman who ended the year inside the teams top 7. Hershey was likely the youngest team in District III this past season.
Northern (1 in AA) – The Polar Bears make the move to AAA in 2020. They graduate their top 2, but return significant depth, including 2 runners who placed top 10 at districts this past season.
Cumberland Valley (9) – Return their top 6 finishers from this past year’s district meet.
Cedar Crest (10) – Had some injuries down the stretch so expect them to rebound nicely in 2020. Graduate 2 from their top 7.
Donegal (3rd in AA) – Return everyone in 2020, but move to AAA.
Donegal moves to AAA in 2020.
Boiling Springs (2) – Return 3 solid performers, including early 2020 individual favorite Peyton Ellis. Will need to add some depth to contend for a return trip to states.
Wyomissing (6) – Top 7 runners all return for 2020.
Annville-Cleona (2nd in A; moves to AA in 2020) – Return 6/7 runners from 2019.
Camp Hill (1) – Return 5/7 runners from 2019. All returners have top 15 potential at districts.
Rising Freshman for 2020
Freshman traditionally have an impact on the girl’s team race, so let’s look at the top 2019 Junior High/Middle School programs:
#1 – Manheim Township – The Blue Streaks middle school program was absolutely dominant this past season. They ended the year winning the Carlisle MS Meet of Champions (MOC) with a score of 43 points, less than half that of 2nd place finisher Dallastown’s 87 points. The week before Carlisle MOC, Manheim Township won the Iron Bridge Invite (the LL League MS Championship meet) over 2nd place Warwick, 33 points to 70 points. Township also won PTXC early in the season with only 26 points. Equal parts 7th and 8th graders this past season means very good things for the Blue Streaks moving forward.
Best of the rest – Dallastown, Warwick, Cumberland Valley, and Northeastern all had strong programs this past season. Dallastown’s top runners appear to have been 7th graders, so they are a year out from making an impact at the HS level. Northeastern will be adding some additional depth to their already loaded squad next season as two 8th graders this past year finished in the top 12 at the Carlisle MOC.
Greencastle’s Claire Paci won the Carlisle MOC by nearly 10 seconds. She will be a welcome addition to the Blue Devils roster next season. Gettysburg’s Winter Oaster will also look to make varsity impact in 2020.
Warwick’s Ella Hartel and Manheim Township’s Marina Papadimitriou may be the top two rising freshman entering HS in the LL League.