Running “Shorts” – 2020 LL League Girls XC

Here are some notes for the 2020 LL League Girl’s XC season.

Hempfield took home the 2019 LL League title with pack running, and they may do it again in 2020. They had only a 0:37s spread between their #1-5 runners last fall and those 5 all return for 2020. Cedar Crest and Manheim Township both were hit with key injuries before post season last year, but if healthy, could push Hempfield this season. Donegal is the top team in section 2 and could push for a top 3 team finish at leagues. There is incredible depth in the LL League in 2020 as there were only 10 graduating seniors from last year’s top 50. Manheim Township and Hempfield may already have the best team depth in 2020 and they welcome strong freshman classes. More on that later.

Individually, Gwyneth Young (sr, Cedar Crest) will be looking to defend her title from 2019. She has already established herself as an all-time LL League great and will look to add to that legacy in her final high school season. Warwick’s Anna Martin (sr) finished her junior year with a state medal. She has seen very nice year over year improvements and will look to continue that growth this year. JP McCaskey’s Arielle Breuninger (sr) and Elizabethtown’s Madeline Quinn (sr) have both been on the brink of state medal winning performances in XC. Quinn was injured for large parts of last season and still managed to individually qualify for the state meet. Breuninger continued her strong junior year indoors where she set multiple PRs and competed in the mile run at states. Braetan Peters (jr, Annville-Cleona) had a rare off day at leagues last year, but finished her post-season run 12th in the state (class A). Look for her to bounce back at leagues this year.

Donegal moves up to AAA, and Lampeter-Strasburg moves down to AA for the 2020 and 2021 XC seasons. Annville-Cleona won their appeal to stay in A since their co-op with Lebanon Catholic has gone away with the school closing. This is big news for Annville-Cleona as they should be in prime position to advance to states as a team this year.

Here’s a look at how LL League teams performed at state’s in 2019:

AA

12th – Donegal

Top 15 returnees from the 2019 LL League Championships:

Returning state medalists from 2019 include:

AAA

7th – Gwyneth Young, Cedar Crest

16th – Anna Martin, Warwick

A

12th – Braeten Peters, Annville-Cleona

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

Ella Hartel, Warwick – Won the Penncrest Invitational individual title and placed 3rd at the Iron Bridge Invitational. She was the top 8th grade finisher at Iron Bridge last fall.

*The Iron Bridge Invite basically serves as the LL League MS/Jr High Championship Meet.

Marina Papadimitriou, Manheim Township – 9th place finish at PTXC11, 4th at Iron Bridge, and 5th at the Carlisle MS Meet of Champions.

Ella Wolfe, Hempfield – 5th place finish at Iron Bridge. Ran a 5:31 1600m as an 8th grader.

Madelyn Lowe, Cedar Crest – 6th place finish at Iron Bridge. Ran a 2:31 800m as an 8th grader.

The most dominant MS/Jr High program in Central PA (boys or girls) in 2019 was the Manheim Township girls. The 2019 Township girls had a roster split evenly of 7th and 8th graders. They took home team titles at PTXC11, Iron Bridge Invite, and the Carlisle Meet of Champions, winning each by nearly “halving” the scores of the 2nd place team. Joining Papadimitriou as potential impact freshman at Township are classmates Ava Shirk and Sabrina Hess. The future looks bright for the Blue Streaks.

Warwick also had a strong MS program last year. Joining Hartel as potential year 1 contributors for the Warriors include Sidoney Freeman and Katie Becker.