Notes: District VI class A receives 2 team berths for the PIAA State Championships. 10 additional individual qualifiers also advance to the state meet. Penns Valley took home the district title a season ago with Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy finishing 2nd.
Pre-Season Rankings (District VI class A)
1. Penns Valley – This was the easiest #1 district ranking to hand out this season. This team is absolutely loaded. They return everyone from last season’s team that finished 5th in the state, including the return of the top 1-2 duo in the state (regardless of classification). Colton Sands (sr) and Brendan Colwell (sr) are very likely the top 2 runners in the entire state. Sands finished 2019 with a 10th place finish at the Footlocker National Championships. Colwell just missed Footlocker Nationals after placing 11th at the regional meet. In their preparation for footlocker, Sands and Colwell ran 2-mile times of 9:07 and 9:14, respectively. Since then, Sands went on to win the indoor state title over 3k in 8:31. Just this week he announced his commitment to run at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) next year. Colwell has been tearing it up in outdoor time trials this past spring and summer. He’s lowered his PRs to the following: Road mile – 4:18; 3200m – 9:10; 5000m – 14:53. Like Sands, he is one of the country’s top distance recruits. You can follow along with both in our senior journal series found here.
Penns Valley’s talent continues with senior’s Daniel Kelly and Thaddeus Smith. Kelly returns as the #4 returning performing runner from the 2019 district meet while Smith returns as the #5 performer. Simon Smith (so) and Max Fiedler (sr) round out the returning top 6 and both should compete for top 15 district finishes. This team has state title aspirations this fall!
2. Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy – SJCA graduated 3 of their top 4 from last season’s district meet, but should have enough talent and depth left in the tank to make a return trip to Hershey. Josh Herbshine (jr) leads the way and is the #3 returnee in the district. He placed 30th at last seasons PIAA Championships. He continued to improve over the winter, setting numerous indoor track PRs including a 4:41 one mile run. Improvements indoors were seen from all of the Wolves returning runners this winter. Jonah Clark (sr) lowered his 800m PR to 2:08; Asa Reynolds (jr) lowered his 800m (2:10) and 1 mile run (4:58) PRs; and Josh Hyman (so) had a strong freshman indoor season. They will have to hold off a tough challenge from Purchase Line if they are return to Hershey this season.
3. Purchase Line – Purchase Line was 5th a season ago, but return all 5 district performers. Sam Kauffman (sr) leads the way as the #7 returning runner in the district. Aaron Wright (jr) teams with Kauffman create a strong 1-2 punch. This team has the talent to challenge SJCA, but if they fail make it to states as a team look for Kauffman and Wright to make the trip as individuals.
4. Portage – The Mustangs look to move up from their 6th place finish from a year ago. They graduated the team’s #1 performer from the 2019 district meet, but still have a low-stick returning in Lane Macy (sr). He placed 18th last fall. Portage will also welcome one of the district’s top freshman in Gabe Corte. Corte and Josh Canavan (jr) could link up to provide a solid 2-3 combo.
5. West Shamokin – West Shamokin gets the nod at #5 just edging out Bellwood Antis. They return an experienced bunch with their top 3 returnees all seniors. Jeremy Shutters (sr) should contend for an individual state qualifying spot.
Individuals to watch who are not on one of these top 5 teams (Returning District VI class A rank in parentheses):
Gavin Cameron, sr – United (6)
Tucker Klotz, jr – Ligonier Valley (would be #7 returnee. Ligonier Valley competed in AA last season)
Levi Waltermire, sr – Marion Center (9)
Anthony Scott, sr – Marion Center (11)
Charlie Levander, sr – Richland (13)
Sage Carr, fr – West Branch (n/a)