2021 PIAA District 3 AAA Boy’s Championship Preview

The closest team race of the day will likely be in boy’s class AAA where only 4 projected points separate the top 6 teams. Manheim Township and Palmyra are separated by only 0.5 pts while JP McCaskey, Shippensburg, Cumberland Valley, and Red Lion all follow close behind. All but Red Lion have a team in the 4x400m relay at the end of the meet, so it could be an exciting finish! This is the largest class AAA district in the state of Pennsylvania, so expect lower team scores. The top 5 finishers automatically qualify to states with up to 8 qualifiers possible based on performance.

Meet Schedule

Final Performance List

Using the final performance list as a guide, here are the top 6 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:

Manheim Township has one of the smaller contingents headed to Shippensburg this weekend, but each individual could score significant points for the Blue Streaks. Senior Ethan Mylin is entered in all three throwing disciplines and is expected to score in each. He is the #2 seed in Friday’s shot put competition. On Saturday morning he is the 5th seed in the javelin and in the afternoon is the 4th seed in the discus. A trio of juniors will contribute the remainder of the projected points. Travis Wilk is the 6th seed in the 100mH and is the 2nd seed in the 300mH. Tyler Stevens is the 5th seed in both the 3200m and 1600m runs. He is coming off of a 1600m PR from the LL League meet. Darren Cammauf is the 4th seed in the 400m. He too is coming off of a PR performance last weekend. Cammauf is seeded outside of the top 8 in the 200m, but could qualify into finals. The 200m field has a ton of depth this season. Manheim Township has a 4x400m relay entered and all athletes except for Cammauf will be fresh. Township is projected to score in 8/18 events.

Palmyra will be led by senior Xander Topos who is the top seed in the 300mH and is the #2 seed in the 110mH. He will also run critical legs on Palmyra’s 2nd seeded 4x400m relay and 3rd seeded 4x100m relay team. The 4x800m relay team is seeded 6th. If Palmyra performs better, or as expected in the relays, they could prove tough to beat. Other individuals looking to score for Palmyra include sprinter Anthony Mansfeld (jr, 7th seed in the 200m) and Pole Vaulter Brady Coburn (sr, tied for 4th seed). Palmyra is projected to score in 7/18 events.

JP McCaskey’s title hopes rest largely on the legs of their jump’s squad. 26 of McCaskey’s projected 38.5 points come from the jumps, with 18 of those 26 points projected to come from the long jump alone. Troy Johnson (jr) and Basir Epps (jr) are seeded 1st and 2nd in the long jump. Johnson is then seeded 5th in the triple jump while Epps is seeded 10th. Darius Frailey (sr) is seeded 5th in the triple jump and Jewleus Benner (jr) is seeded tied for 6th in the High Jump. McCaskey will look to add points in the distance events where senior Stephen Schousen is coming off a terrific performance at the LL League Championships where he PR’d in both the 3200m and 1600m runs. He is the 3rd seed in the 3200m and 4th seed in the 1600m. Alex Miller (sr) could add to McCaskey’s point total as he enters Saturday’s 800m as the 9th seed. McCaskey has a team entered in all three relays, but only the 4x100m is expected to score points (tied for 7th seed). The Tornadoes are projected to score in 6/18 events.

Shippensburg will look to do their damage in the jumps and in the long sprints. Isaiah Houser (sr) is seeded within the tp 6 in both the 400m (6th) and 200m (5th). He will also run on Shippensburg’s 4th ranked 4x400m relay team. That team will also include Travis Bigham (sr), the 7th seed in the 400m. Eli Spence (sr) is coming off a Mid-Penn championship in the 3200m and is seeded 12th in the event. He may be saving his best for the post-season. In the high jump, Dakota Arana could challenge for the title. He enters as the 3rd seed with a 6-8 clearance on the season. Jacob Cramer (sr) is the #2 seed in the triple jump. Sophomore teammate Spencer Edey is seeded 3rd in the triple jump and 4th in the long jump. Jayden Statum (jr) sits outside of the top 10, but could challenge for points in the long jump. The Greyhounds are projected to score in 6/18 events.

Cumberland Valley was one of my early season favorites to win the district title. Not much has changed since then. Their 400m team is loaded. They have the #1 4x400m relay by over 5 seconds and currently hold the PA #1 ranking in the event by over 4.5 seconds. Individually, seniors James Jaisingh and David Williams are the #2 and #3 seeds in the 400m. Colson Cutting (so) is the #10 seed in the 400m. Luke Noss (jr) will look to contribute to the team’s scoring in the 300mH where he is ranked 4th. In the field events, senior Wade Shomper is the 5th seed in the shot put and the 12th seed in what should be a closely contested discus final. Nick Mangold (jr) is seeded tied for 4th with 2 other competitors in the pole vault. Not running Williams and Jaisingh in the 200m seems to be strategic and sets Cumberland Valley up for a potentially massive 4x400m relay performance. The Eagles are projected to score in 5/18 events.

Other events and athletes I am excited to watch:

  • The Red Lion sprinters have been tops in the area throughout the year and enter Saturday with the top 4x100m relay time (42.75). Chambersburg has come on strong late in the season and are seeded with a 42.91. Expect a PA top 5 performance in this one.
  • Speaking of Red Lion sprinters, take a look at their individual entries with seeds for this weekend:
    • AJ Virata, sr – 10.77 (1st, 100m); 21.94 (4th, 200m)
    • Randy Fizer, sr – 11.04 (8th, 200m); 22.10 (6th, 200m)
    • LaDainian Strausbaugh, fr – 11.17 (16th, 100m)
    • Camerin Lindsey, sr – 11.28 (25th, 100m)
  • AJ Virata is also seeded 2nd in the high jump following a 6-9 clearance earlier this season.
  • The boys AAA high jump will be one of the most competitive events this weekend with 6 guys having cleared 6-6 or better. Grant Ellis (sr, James Buchanan) is the top seed with a 6-10 performance.
  • 3200m + 1600m runs: Weber Long (jr, Greencastle-Antrim) and Graham Thomas (sr, Penn Manor) are ranked 1st in the 1600m and 3200m runs, respectively. Long is seeded 2nd in the 3200m and Thomas 3rd in the 1600m. Long won the Mid-Penn 1600m title last weekend, defeating XC state champ Brady Bigger by running a 55-second final lap! Exeter Township’s Alex Holbrook (jr) ran sub 4:20 earlier this season and is seeded 2nd in the 1600m. He is also seeded 4th in the 3200m. Schousen and Stevens, mentioned earlier, are seeded in the top 5 of both distance events. Underclassmen Aidan Hodge (so, Hempfield) and Colin Whitaker (fr, Lampeter-Strasburg) will both look to make a run at the state meet in the 3200m where they are seeded 6th and 7th. Both ran 62-second final quarters in the 3200m at the LL League meet last weekend while achieving the state qualifying time. Distance running depth in District 3 is strong! 6 guys have run 4:21 or faster in the 1600 and 7 guys have run 9:28 or faster in the 3200m.
  • 4x800m – Hempfield is the top seed coming off of their 7:56 performance at the LL League meet. All 4 of their runners can rub sub-2minutes (Owen Jackson, David Jackson, Chris Titter, and Aidan Hodge). Expect a challenge to come from Cedar Crest and Twin Valley. Cedar Crest did not run their “A” team last weekend and will be anchored by the top seed in the 800m, Tommy Bildheiser (sr). Ryan Wolfe (jr) and Luke Hinegardner (jr) are both sub-2 minute 800m performers for the Falcons. Twin Valley seems focused on running a fast 4×800 as senior Noah Taylor is not running the 3200m on Friday. Their team will be fresh for the 4x800m on Saturday morning. The state’s #1 time this season is 7:52. Don’t be surprised if that goes down Saturday morning.
  • Justin Rogers (jr, Hershey) should put on a show in the pole vault. He broke the Mid-Penn Conference record last weekend, clearing 16-06.25 and took attempts at 17-01 to break the state record. The pole vault is front and center at Seth Grove Stadium so you cant miss it! He is PA#1 and US#12.
  • Penn State commit Dylan Lambrecht (sr, Northern Lebanon) is seeded 1st in the shot put and 2nd in the discus, Northern’s Jon Barrett is the top seed in the discus. Look for Lambrecht to challenge the 60-foot barrier in the shot put this weekend.
  • Penn Manor’s Kyle Murr (sr) nearly broke the 48-foot mark in the triple jump at the LL League meet. He is your top seed in that event and is currently ranked PA#2.
  • Logan Zeiders (sr, York Suburban) is the #1 seed in the 400m and #2 seed in the 200m. He will join Cumberland Valley’s James Jaisingh and David Williams in attempting to go sub-48 in the 400m on Saturday. These guys are currently ranked PA#1, #2, and #4! Also in the race is PA#10 ranked Darren Cammauf of Manheim Township. Should be a great 400m!