Notes: PIAA District VI class AA receives 1 team berth to states and then 5 additional individual qualifiers. Central Cambria won the district title in 2019.
Pre-Season Rankings (District VI class AA)
1. Central Cambria – Central Cambria enters 2020 as the heavy favorites to take home another district title. In fact, they have won every district title in XC since the 2015 season. Last season, the Red Devils ended the year 5th in the state. While they graduate 2 from last season’s squad, they return terrific depth and team #1 runner Toby Cree (sr). Cree finished 4th in the district and 12th in the state in 2019 and will push Bedford’s Van May for the individual district crown this fall. The returning 4 athletes from the 2019 team had only a :21s spread at the district meet, running between 17:02 and 17:23. These 4 are all top 10 returning performers: Eli Wandel (jr, #5 returnee), Devon Morgan (so, #6), Tyler Gibson (sr, #8), and Adam Lechleintner (sr, #9). Morgan was the #5 freshman finisher at states in 2019 and should make nice strides between year 1 and 2.
Lewisburg and Central Cambria may be the top 2 team’s in the state heading into 2020. Lewisburg took home the 2019 title.
2. Somerset – The Golden Eagles were 2nd a year ago and hold onto the #2 position in our 2020 pre-season rankings. Their top 4 returnees all placed in the top 20 in 2019 and did so with only :17s separating them. Colton Walker (jr), Andrew Straka (sr), Branson Walker (jr), and Chase Brenneman (jr) will all look for top 10-15 finishes this season. While I don’t expect them to challenge Central Cambria for the team title, I would expect at least 1 of these 4 to qualify individually into states.
3. Bellefonte – Bellefonte could keep it close with Somerset for team runner-up positioning. They return everyone from last season’s 4th place team. They will be led by Austin Melius (sr). Melius is the #4 returning runner in the district after finishing 7th in 2019. He ran well indoors this past winter setting new PRs in the 800m, mile run, and 3k. He will be a state medal contender this year. Also looking to earn a trip to states will be sophomore Chase Ebeling. Ebeling is the #10 district returnee and he too set indoor PRs from 800m-3k.
Individuals to watch who are not on one of these top 3 teams (Returning District VI class AA rank in parentheses):
Van May, sr – Bedford (#1) – May finished 2nd to Juniata’s Garrett Baublitz last fall. Baublitz’s graduation (now running for the Naval Academy) puts May in the driver’s seat. May finished the year with an 11th place finish at states and a respectable 50th place finish at Footlocker Northeast Regionals. He ran indoor PRs of 9:52 for 3200m and 4:36 for the mile this winter. He will be challenged for the district title by Central Cambria’s Toby Cree (sr).
Calan Bollman, so – Chestnut Ridge (#3) – Bollman advanced states a season ago as the districts top freshman. He owns a 16:47 5k XC PR.
Jude Martyak, sr – Forest Hills (#7)