Running “Shorts” – 2020 Mid-Penn Boys XC

Here are some notes for the 2020 Mid-Penn Boys XC season.

Hershey won the conference title in 2019, but their top 5 place finishers have all graduated and have committed to run in college. In fact, 6 Hershey distance runners will be running collegiately this fall. Hershey and Cumberland Valley both earned state berths last year finishing 2nd and 4th respectively at the District III AAA meet.

Greencastle-Antrim’s Weber Long (jr) is the top returning runner in the Mid-Penn and he may be the top runner in all of PIAA AA this season. He will likely battle 2019 AA State Champion Dylan Throop of General McLane and Lewisburg’s Jacob Hess for a state title this season. Long placed 3rd in the state last year. He is the #10 returning runner from the 2019 Footlocker Northeast Championships. If he can hold that position he will advance to Footlocker Nationals in San Diego.

District VI’s Brady Bigger (sr, State College) and Brayden Harris (sr, Mifflin Co) will push Long for the title.

Bigger earned his first state XC medal in 2019 finishing 20th in AAA. Don’t sleep on Harris. He was 4th in the state as a sophomore and missed Footlocker Nationals by only 2 spots that year (2018). He ran a 9:26 3200m indoors this past February. Look for him to have a big senior season.

Shippensburg’s Eli Spence (sr) has improved significantly each year. He is the #4 returnee from the 2019 Mid-Penn champs. Central Dauphin’s TJ Roden (so) is the #5 returner in the conference. He got stronger as the season went on and is the #3 returning performer from the DIstrict III meet. He was the area’s top freshman last year.

The 2020 team race is too close to call at this moment. The top teams from 2019 all graduated significant depth. 2019 champion Hershey graduated 6 of their 8 runners. Cumberland Valley graduated 3/8, Palmyra graduated 3/8, State College graduated 3/8, Shippensburg graduated 3/8, and Red Land graduated 5/8. Carlisle only loses 1 of their top 8, but its a big loss as it was last year’s conference champ, Casey Padgett. The Thundering Herd are good on depth and Coach Boardman will have them ready to roll this fall. Chambersburg only graduated 2 and returns their top 3. They should also return Nick Monheim (jr) who missed the 2019 season with injury. They should be in the mix this year. Cumberland Valley finished 8th in the conference last year, but peaked perfectly to earn the 4th and final state qualifying berth at Districts. State College has held runners out of the conference meet in the past, but if their top returnees compete they can run with the conference’s best. So, State College, Chambersburg, Carlisle, and Cumberland Valley are my “way too early” favorites.

Looking for some teams on the rise?

Boiling Springs returns their top 3, has a low stick performer in Evan Kase, and had 3 freshman in their top 7 in 2019.

Northern returns their top 4 and had one of the best MS programs in the area in 2019.

Mechanicsburg had 3 freshman in their top 5 in 2019. They too are on an upward trajectory.

Here’s a look at how Mid-Penn teams placed at state’s in 2019:

AAA

#9 State College (District VI)

#13 Hershey

#17 Cumberland Valley

AA

N/A

A

N/A

Top 15 returnees from 2019 conference meet:

Returning state medalists from 2019 include:

AAA

Brady Bigger, State College – 20th

AA

Weber Long, Greencastle-Antrim – 3rd

Potential impact freshman in 2020:

TJ Roden (Central Dauphin), Jordan Tiday (Cumberland Valley), and Carter Paul (Mechanicsburg) had fantastic freshman debuts in 2019.

Here’s a look at a few rising freshman looking to make an impact in 2020 –

Shane O’Connell, Cumberland Valley – Took home victories at both the Gettysburg Invitational and the Carlisle Meet of Champions. He should be able to come in and provide some additional depth to an Eagle’s squad looking for a return trip to states.

Henry Adams, State College – Finished 2nd at the Altoona Invitational, finishing 3 seconds ahead of Gettysburg’s Gavin Cole. Cole finished 2nd to O’Connell at Gettysburg by just 10 seconds.

Chase Nunemaker, Red Land – Won the Little Ship Invite over some quality competition.

Ari Snyder, Chambersburg – Placed 4th at the Carlisle Meet of Champions, only 8 seconds behind winner Shane O’Connell.

Chambersburg and Northern had strong middle school programs last year. The Trojans took home the victory at the Carlisle Meet rof Champions with 3 of their rising freshman in the top 13.