Cedar Crest (AAA) and York Suburban (AA) brought home their 2nd consecutive District III titles in 2019 and both have the returning firepower to contend again next season. Kutztown took home the A-title which was their 2nd title in 3 years. They too return most of their team in 2020.
Ben Kuhn (Wyomissing) and Jonathan Thrush (Muhlenberg) ended the year as the top two senior athletes in Central PA. Both won their respective District III title and both medaled at states. Kuhn would go on to finish 2nd in AA while Thrush finished 14th in AAA.
Kuhn and Thrush led the way for the class of 2020, but there is significant collegiate talent in the area. Here is a look at members of the 2020 class who have already committed to run in college:
Thomas Foster, Wyomissing – Cornell University
Hayden Hunt, Shippensburg – Shippensburg University
Casey Padgett, Carlisle – Duquesne University
Ryan Scicchitano, Cedar Crest – Shippensburg University
Brendon Shea, Hershey – Embry-Riddle University
Tyler Shue, Ephrata – Penn State University
Jonathan Thrush, Muhlenberg – California University of PA
Zachary Toth, Palmyra – Duquesne University
(I will continue to update the commitment list throughout the season)
The area’s top underclassman was Greencastle-Antrim sophomore Weber Long. Long would finish runner-up to Kuhn in District III and went on to finish 3rd at the AA-state meet. He and Thrush would finish 20th and 21st respectively at the Footlocker Northeast Championship meet. Long will be the #11 returner for Footlocker next season, putting him within reach of earning a national qualifying bid. Central PA’s top freshman was Central Dauphin’s TJ Roden. Roden showed electrifying closing speed and proved he could compete with the best over the 5k distance. He finished the year as the top freshman at the AAA-state meet where he placed 29th.
Roden is our CPAR Rookie of the Year.
2019 All-CPAR XC Team
Ben Kuhn, sr Wyomissing – Runner of the year
Weber Long, so Greencastle-Antrim
Jonathan Thrush, sr Muhlenberg
Gage Krall, sr Northern Lebanon
Graham Thomas, jr Penn Manor
Cole Adams, so York Suburban
Casey Padgett, sr Carlisle
Honorable Mention: TJ Roden, fr Central Dauphin; Hayden Hunt, sr Shippensburg; Thomas Foster, sr Wyomissing; Grant Kern, so York Suburban; Jack Mieszkalski, sr Hempfield; Collin Wolf, jr Kennard-Dale; Eli Spence, jr Shippensburg; Tommy Bildheiser, jr Cedar Crest; Evan Eshleman, jr Hempfield; Andrew Hirneisen, sr Gettysburg
Looking ahead to 2020 – Top Teams
(2019 district finish in parentheses)
Cedar Crest (1) – The Falcons will return the top 1-2-3 trio in District III next season. They will need to find a #5 runner for 2020, which could come from Jake Perhonitch who placed 2nd at the Iron Bridge Invite (LL League Jr High Championship Meet) this year as an 8th grader.
York Suburban (1st in AA; Move to AAA in 2020) – Lose only one runner from their top 5. Will be loaded again next year. Could immediately challenge for a top 4 finish in AAA.
Twin Valley (2) – Lose 2 of their top 3 from districts. Their junior high program won the Berks Co title with 8th grader Nate Meister winning the individual title. Good program so expect them to contend for a top 4 finish again in 2020.
Cumberland Valley (4) – Surprised at the district meet finishing 4th. They lose 2 of their top 5. Will add Shane O’Connell next season as a freshman. O’Connell won the Carlisle Meet of Champions. The Eagles had two 8th graders in the top 8 at the Carlisle Meet of Champions.
Carlisle (5) – Lose Casey Padgett, but return everyone else. Coach Ed Boardman will have his team ready to challenge for a top 4 spot next year.
Hempfield (7) – Lose 2 in their top 7, but have solid depth.
Chambersburg (8) – Lose 2 from their top 7, but should get back Nick Monheim back from injury. Monheim was a varsity runner as a freshman in 2018. The Trojans also had the best junior high program in the area this past fall and placed two 8th graders in the top 7 at the Carlisle Meet of Champions.
Palmyra (11) – Have 4 strong runners returning next season, but will need to develop some depth to challenge for a state run.
JP McCaskey (12) – Only Cedar Crest has a stronger 1-2-3 trio (based on 2019 district finish) returning in 2020 than McCaskey. If the Tornados don’t qualify as a team, look for them to qualify up to three individuals for the state meet.
Biggest news is York Suburban moving to AAA in 2020. With that, here are the top AA teams to watch out for in 2020:
Kennard-Dale (2) – Lose only one runner from their top 7 and no one from their top 5. Will likely battle York Suburban for the title.
Susquehannock (3) – Lose only one runner from their top 7 and no one from their top 5. Young squad with a lot of potential year over year improvement.
Oley Valley (5) – Lose their #1, but had the tightest 2-6 pack in 2019. Their #2 runner placed 35th and their #6 placed 44th at the district meet.
Donegal (7) – Return everyone from their 2019 team. The Indians are putting together a very nice program with strong boys and girls teams.
Kutztown (1) – Lose only 1 athlete from their top 5 and return district champion Mitchell Brett.
Fairfield (2) – Depth may be tested as they graduate 2 runners from their top 5.
York Catholic (3) – Return everyone from 2019’s team
Tulpehocken (5) – Have a young squad returning and could become even younger with the addition of two rising freshman who both placed in the top 16 at the Berks Co Jr High meet in 2019.
Freshman for 2020
Freshman don’t tend to have as much of an impact on the boy’s race as they have on the girl’s race. That said, here are the local junior high programs that had the most success in 2019:
Chambersburg – Won the Carlisle Meet of Champions by 37 points. Placed two 8th graders in the top 7.
Dallastown – Won PTXC and finished 2nd at the Carlisle Meet of Champions.
Twin Valley – Won the Berks County Junior High Championships. Nate Meister was the individual winner and will be a freshman in 2020.
Penn Manor – Won the Iron Bridge Invitational. The Comets HS program returns their top 6 from 2019, so the Jr High success should indicate improved depth for Penn Manor in 2020.
Manheim Township – Runner-up at both PTXC and Iron Bridge by 2 points or less. Gunner Geib took the individual win at PTXC and was 3rd at Iron Bridge. He will be a freshman in 2020.