Running “Shorts” – 2020 LL League Boys XC

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

Cedar Crest took home the 2019 LL League and District title’s in 2019. They are loaded again this year and are the favorites to repeat as league champions. They’ll get some new competition at Districts this year as 2019 AA Champion York Suburban moves up to AAA. If the Falcons win again this year it will be their third straight title. Hempfield should provide a strong challenge to Cedar Crest. The injury bug bit them during their post-season run last year, but they return a really strong group. Hempfield should be in prime position for one of District III’s 4 team qualifiers for states. JP McCaskey may not have the depth that Cedar Crest and Hempfield have, but they have a really strong 1-4. If they can find a solid #5 they too could be in position for a team berth at states.

Donegal and Lampeter Strasburg look primed to battle it out for the Section II title this season.

Individually, Graham Thomas (sr, Penn Manor) will be looking for his first league title. He’s progressed nicely each year and ended last year 16th in the state (class AAA). He was injured for parts of the year, but once he returned to the lineup he impressed. Cedar Crest’s Tommy Bildheiser (sr) was 2nd at leagues a year ago, just edging out Thomas for the runner-up spot behind N. Lebanon’s Gage Krall (now at Lock Haven). Bildheiser dropped a sub-16 min 5k at the 2019 LVC Invite. Hempfield’s Evan Eshleman (sr) and Cedar Crest juniors Luke Hinegardner and Ryan Wolfe round out the top 5 returners. Cedar Crest’s top 3 of Bildheiser, Hinegardner, and Wolfe give them 3 low-stick performers who all have state medal potential.

Others looking to push for a spot in the top 5 include the McCaskey trio of Stephen Schousen (sr), Alex Miller (sr), and Lachlan McLane (jr). (These 3 match up really well with Cedar Crest’s top 3. That regular season meet is one to circle on your calendar.) Schousen missed leagues last season with an illness, but ran great the rest of the year. He and McLane both qualified individually for states last fall. Schousen ran a 5k time trial on the track this spring in 15:38. Miller had a great indoor season dropping a new mile PR of 4:30. Manheim Township’s Tyler Stevens (jr) had a strong spring running new PRs in solo time trials over 5k (15:52), 3200m (9:43), and 1600m (4:33). Hempfield’s Aidan Hodge was the league’s top freshman last fall and will look to make an even bigger impact as a sophomore this year. Annville-Cleona’s Jack Tshudy (sr) and Donegal’s Brock Overlander (sr) had breakout 2019 District performances and could push to crack the league’s top 10 this season.

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

AAA

10th – Cedar Crest

Top 15 returnees from the 2019 LL League Championships:

Returning state medalists from 2019 include:

AAA

16th – Graham Thomas, Penn Manor

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

Colin Whitaker, Lampeter Strasburg – Whitaker won the 2019 Iron Bridge Invitational by 37-seconds. He enters 2020 as the league’s top freshman and could push for league honors. He also ran a 4:23 1500m indoors this past winter.

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

Jake Perhonitch, Cedar Crest – finished 2nd to Whitaker at Iron Bridge.

Gunner Geib, Manheim Township – Took home the victory at PTXC11 and then placed 3rd at Iron Bridge.

Penn Manor took home the victory at Iron Bridge with Manheim Township in second. The two teams were only separated by 2 points.