It’s been two long years, but the PIAA District 3 track and field championships are back! The format is the same with action beginning on Friday. Which teams are in contention for the title? Which events should you keep an eye on? We cover it all below.
Using the final performance list as a guide, here are the top 10 teams heading into this weekend, based on seeds from the final performance list. In other words, if everyone places as they are seeded on the performance list, this is how the meet will turn out:
This document can also be used as a real time team scoring guide.
JP McCaskey is loaded on the track, and that’s where they will need to do their damage if they are to claim the district title this weekend. From 100m-3200m they have significant point scorers. Through the 800m, they have at least 2 athletes per event that could score. Their relays are all ranked in the top 3. Arielle Breuninger (sr) will be running all 3 distance events on Saturday, starting with anchoring their #1 ranked 4x800m relay. She will then come back as the #2 seed in the 1600m (behind Margaret Carroll, sr Northeastern) and the #1 seed in the 800m. A full plate on a hot day will be quite the challenge, but Breuninger pulled off the distance quadruple last weekend at the LL League Championships. While the 3200m was on Friday, the other 3 events were contested on a condensed time schedule as the girls competed in the morning and the boys competed separately in the afternoon. Kamiah (5th seed 400m) and Kamyah (9th seed 100m; 4th seed 200m) Wright and Lucie DeSyon (4th seed 400m; 6th seed 200m), all sophomores, will be looked upon to carry JP McCaskey in the sprints and sprint relays. Sophomore Isabella Shertzer will run the 4x800m, 800m (4th seed), and 4x400m. How well these athletes do competing in multiple events on Saturday will determine whether or not they take home the team title.
Wilson’s Caryn Rippey (jr) will look to challenge Breuninger and Carroll in the distance events. She’s entered in the 3200m, 4x800m, 1600m, AND 800m. She is one of 6 girls entered as possible runners on the Bulldogs 4x800m, so we will need to see if she lines up for the relay. The Wilson 4×800 is seeded 6th, but is only 5 seconds back of #2 seed, Carlisle. Rippey is the #2 seed in the 3200m on Friday night (behind Carroll), #3 seed in the 1600m, and the #6 seed in the 800m. Teammate Katie Dallas has had a breakout junior season and is the #3 seed in the 800m. She’s also listed on the Bulldogs 4x800m and 4x400m relays. Madi Herb (sr) will be counted on to score big for Wilson this weekend. She is tied for the #2 seed in the 300mH with Warwick’s Emily Skidmore and both are less than half a second back from Manheim Central’s Malea Stoner (jr). Skidmore topped Stoner at the LL League Championships this past Saturday. Herb is seeded 13th in the 100mH. She has been dropping time all year, so expect her to be ready to go come Friday afternoon’s 100mH prelims. Sophomore’s Mia Brown (200m, 4x100m, 4x400m) and Catherine Arentz (100m, 4x100m, 4x400m) spearhead the sprint crew. While both sit outside of the top 8, they should make a strong push for finals. The 4x100m team is seeded 4th and the 4x400m team is seeded 3rd. Fiona Barry (sr) is Wilson’s top seed in the field events where she is the #2 seed in the High Jump.
Carlisle has moved up in the rankings significantly over the past 2 weeks. With some scratches from the original performance list they now find themselves ranked 3rd heading into the meet. Like JP McCaskey and Wilson before them, the Thundering Herd enter the meet with 3 strong relay squads. Their 4x800m relay is coming off a Mid-Penn Championship and are the #2 seed. They are seeded 6th in the 4x100m and have the 9th ranked 4x400m. They’ll hope to get pushed to a fast time out of the “slower” of 2 sections of the 4x400m late Saturday. Alyssa Dyson (sr) is one of the area’s top hurdlers, and she enters the weekend seeded 2nd in the 100s and 10th in the 300s. Sophie Salomone (sr) could factor into the 800 as the event’s 10th seed. Ella Boback (jr) leads the sprint crew and will look to score team points in the 200 (seeded 7th) while helping the Herd’s 4×100 and 4x400m relays. She is also the #1 seed in what should be a very competitive long jump competition as 4 athletes are within 1 inch of her season best performance. Ally Richwine (jr) will also look to contribute to the jumps as the #3 seed in the triple jump, #4 seed in the High Jump, and #8 seed in the Long Jump.
Manheim Central’s scoring will be centered around 3 athletes. Sophomore Maddie Knier is a new star in track and field. She has future Heptathlete written all over her. She’s the #1 seed in the High Jump, #2 seed in the Javelin, #6 seed in the triple jump, and #7 seed in the long jump. Oh, and she’s also pretty darn good at basketball (see here). Malea Stoner (jr) and Abbie Reed (so) will look to add scoring in the hurdles where they are the #4 and #7 seeds in the 100s and the #1 and #7 seeds in the 300s, respectively. While I don’t expect the Barons to challenge for the team title, I do think a top 5 finish is realistic, even with little depth.
While Cumberland Valley “only” projects 5th based off of the performance list, this team passes the eye test. I think they are under-ranked at 5 and they will contend for a district title. First off, they have entries in 14/18 events with multiple athletes in several that are just outside of the top 8. They could score in all 3 relays and will challenge to win both the 4×100 (seeded 5th) and the 4×400 (seeded 1st). Mia Boardman (jr) and Riley Ebersole (so) are seeded 2nd and 3rd in the 400m. Both will contribute strong legs on the Eagle’s sprint relays. With neither running the 200m, look for CV to run a FAST 4×400. This could be a strategic move on CV’s part as both Boardman and Ebersole could have scored individually in the short sprints. As it is, they will be as fresh as they have been all season for the relays. Cora Heilman (jr) is the #5 seed in the 300mH, less than 0.5s back of the top seed. Ashley Pines (so) is the #5 seed in the 800m, and should be well-rested following the 4×800 relay earlier in the day. She will also contribute on the 4×400. In the Javelin, Mikaela Wolf is seeded 5th, less than 5 inches back of the #2 seed.
Individually, I am looking forward to seeing Spring Grove freshman Laila Campbell compete in person. Like Knier, Campbell is also a basketball star (see here). Her season best track efforts include: 100m (11.97, PA #2); 200m (24.23, PA #2); and 400m (56.66, PA #8). She’ll be going for the sprints sweep on Saturday. Margaret Carroll (Northeastern) looks to keep her fantastic senior season going and is the top seed in both the 3200m and 1600m runs. In the shot put and discus, look for Governor Mifflin junior Annika Ermold and Harrisburg sophomore Erika Jackson to dual it out! Ermold is seeded 1st in the shot; Jackson is 2nd. Jackson is seeded 1st in the discus; Ermold is 2nd. South Western’s Zaiah Marshall (sr) will challenge for double gold in the long jump and triple jump where she is seeded 2nd in both events. Exeter Township’s Denee Hibbert (TJ) and Carlisle’s Boback (LJ) are the #1 seeds. 8 girls have cleared at least 11-feet in the pole vault this season. Penn Manor’s Eden Crisman (sr, PR – 12-07) and Mechanicsburg’s Annika Hummel (sr, PR – 12-00) have both cleared 12-feet.
In the end, I think the team race comes down to JP McCaskey, Wilson, and Cumberland Valley. I am really hopeful, as a fan of the sport, that it comes down to the 4×400 where they are collectively the top 3 seeds in the event and all three are ranked inside PAs Top 10 this year.