The Mid-Penn will be breaking their championship into 2 separate races this year, with class A and class AA racing together in the morning and class AAA racing in the afternoon. That said, we will break down each race separately below.
Where: Big Spring High School
When: Saturday, October 24th
Class A/AA – 10:00 am
Class AAA – 2:00 pm
Class AAA Preview:
5 of the top 10 runners from last year’s race are back this season. Weber Long, (jr Greencastle-Antrim), Brady Bigger (sr, State College), and Brayden Harris (sr, Mifflin County) are the top 3 returnees from last year’s championship. Eli Spence (sr, Shippensburg) and TJ Roden (so, Central Dauphin) are the #4 and #5 returnees respectively and will be factors for the title as well. More on Long in the class A/AA preview. Harris has run sub-16 minutes at least twice this year already and will look to dip under that mark again this weekend. He may be the favorite heading into the race Saturday. Roden ran 15:24 in what was an incredibly fast race in Virginia back in September. He placed 3rd at districts in 2019 and was the top Mid-Penn AAA finisher at that event. Spence ran with Roden in the September Virginia race and ran 15:30. Bigger placed 4th in AAA at the competitive PIAA Foundation race on September 26th.
Others that could break into this top 5 this season include Cumberland Valley’s Jordan Tiday (so), Carlisle’s Evan Peachey (sr) and Kevin Shank (so), Mechanicsburg’s Carter Paul (so), and Northern’s Reid Weber (sr). Tiday defeated TJ Roden in their week 3 match-up at Central Dauphin East, 16:36 to 16:37. Peachey and Shank provide Carlisle with two legitimate #1 runners. Peachey was 13th at Mid-Penn’s last season, but one week later finished 7th at the district meet. He is the #4 returnee from the 2019 District 3 AAA Championships. Paul picked up at least 5 regular season victories this season (from results I have received) and he placed 13th at PIAA Foundation AAA. Weber placed 9th in AAA at the Foundation Invite.
Other top performers include Chambersburg’s Brayden Boyd (sr) and Nick Monheim (jr), Hershey’s Evan Alander (sr) and Peter Barto (sr), Palmyra’s Jakolby Fackler (sr), Carlisle’s Andrew Diehl (so) and Briar Thompson (jr), and Red Land’s Matt Johnson (jr).
The team race should be very competitive. Carlisle is our pick to take home the title. They have a great 1-2 punch up front with really strong depth behind. Look for Hershey and Chambersburg to battle for the 2nd team qualifying spot into the District 3 meet. State College could challenge for a top team spot at Mid-Penn’s as well. (They compete in District 6 which does not have qualification limitations in AAA.) The Little Lions have a great 1-2 combo with Bigger and Sean Adams (jr) and also have good depth. Cumberland Valley is another program you can’t sleep on, especially with how they closed their season last year.
Class A/AA Preview:
Like Brayden Harris in AAA, Weber Long has run sub-16 minutes at least twice this year already and could go under that mark again this weekend. Long ran the fastest time amongst all Mid-Penn runners at the 2019 district meet when he placed 2nd in class AA going 15:49. He won the class AA title at PIAA Foundation this season and ran the 2nd fastest time overall for the day. He is the heavy favorite in the class A/AA race and is likely one of the top 2 runners in the state class AA.
Teammates Evan Kase and Gibran Varahrami, both seniors at Boiling Springs, have a chance at top 3 finishes. Ethan Jones (sr) and Tommy Crum (so) could also place in the top 10 for Boiling Springs. Boiling Spring is the favorite to take home the class A/AA team title.
Other athletes looking for top 5 to top 10 finishes include the Trinity trio of Jack Warner (sr), Jasper Burd (jr), and Connor Pushart (jr), Big Spring’s Blake Wenger (fr) and Trevor Richwine (jr), Middletown’s William Brown (sr), and East Pennsboro’s Elijah McKell (jr).
The battle for the 2nd team qualifying spot at Districts appears to be wide open, with numerous teams in contention.
Note – I have not seen any results for Camp Hill this season, so they have not been factored into this preview.