2021 Mid-Penn Girl’s XC Preview

The 2020 Mid-Penn Conference title was split by classification to better manage the COVID year district qualifying standards. The class AAA team title was won by State College, with Mechanicsburg taking 2nd and Hershey 3rd. In class AA, the team from Bishop McDevitt took home the title with Boiling Springs finishing in the runner-up position. In class A, Camp Hill edged out Newport and Susquenita for the title.

As we head into 2021, expect familiar teams to rise back to the top. State College lost the most to graduation as 2 of their top 3 runners from last season have moved onto Division 1 programs (Jordan Reed to Davidson College and Karsyn Kane to Appalachian State). That said, the Little Lions have 3 potential low-sticks returning in Marlee Kwasnica (jr), Amy Devan (jr), and Grace Morningstar (jr). Filling out the remainder of their roster will be their challenge, but State College traditionally has great depth. Mechanicsburg returns 5 of their top 6, including 4 potential top 15 place finishers in Hope McKenney (sr), Olivia Walter (sr), Raihana Yameogo (sr), and Faith Evans (jr). McKenney and Walter could both compete for a top 5 finish. Hershey returns everyone in 2021. There may not be a hungrier team in all of District 3 than Hershey. If you recall, Hershey advanced to Districts only to learn that the school needed to shut down that week due to COVID protocols, thus ending their season early. Emma Taylor (sr) and Brooke Preputnick (jr) return as the #4 and #5 ranked performers from the 2020 championship. Only 49-seconds separated Hershey’s #3-6 runners at Mid-Penn’s in 2020. Other teams looking to challenge for a top 3 finish include Cumberland Valley, Chambersburg, and Carlisle. Lower Dauphin and Palmyra could also make some noise this season. Bishop McDevitt and Boiling Springs look to return as the top 2 teams in class AA.

The individual race has become much more interesting with the news that North Carolina 4A (large school classification) XC runner-up Vanessa Alder (jr) has transferred to Carlisle. She owns a sub 18-min XC PR and ran 4:57.98 and 10.11.74 for the 1600m and 3000m this past spring. Claire Paci (so, Greencastle-Antrim) is the returning champion, taking home the win as a freshman a year ago and defeating the field by 16-seconds. She had a fantastic track and field season as well, running PRs of 5:04 and 10:44 for the 1600m and 3200m runs. She brought home 3 state medals as a freshman, capturing 4th at the state XC championships in the fall and then 4th in the 3200m and 8th in the 1600m at the spring PIAA State Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Kwasnica, McKenney, and Chambersburg’s Camryn Kiser (jr) join Paci and Alder as our early season favorites. Others with top 5 potential include Mifflin County’s Kylee Cubbison (sr), Hershey’s Preputnick and Taylor, Boiling Springs Peyton Ellis (jr), Mechanicsburg’s Walter and Yameogo, and Northern’s Allie Engle (sr). Ellis was the District 3 class AA champion in 2020.

Check out my interview with CLaire Paci and Camryn Kiser here.

(Interesting note: Marlee Kwasnica recently placed 2nd in a national age group triathlon championship. Congrats Marlee!)

Here is a look at the top 25 returnees from the 2020 Mid-Penn Conference Championships, with their 2021 track and field season bests, where applicable:

*I have minimal information on rising freshman in the MidPenn Conference and have not included them in the analysis.

Pre-Season Team Rankings:

(More in depth team by team analysis to follow in the District 3 previews later this month).