2021 LL League Girl’s XC Preview

Underclassmen will reign supreme in the LL League this season. A strong group of returning sophomores and several impact freshmen will make the LL contingent making a run at states a young one. Sophomores Ava Shirk (Manheim Township) and Ella Hartel (Warwick) are the top two returnees from last year’s league championship meet. Hartel just edged Shirk at districts last fall to take the final qualifying spot for the state meet. Only 3 LL girl’s return who competed at states a season ago, a season in which the state fields were cut dramatically due to COVID. Hartel finished 33rd at states in class AAA, while Braetan Peters (sr, Annville-Cleona) medaled in class A with her 21st place finish. Cassi Clemson (jr, Annville-Cleona) finished 53rd in class A. Looking to challenge Hartel and Shirk for the individual title will be another sophomore, Ella Wolfe of Hempfield, and a trio of JP McCaskey runners. Tornado sophomores Isabella Shertzer (#4) and Gabby Thiry (#6) and junior Milana Breuninger (#5) are all top 6 returnees from last year’s league championship.

Here are the top 25 returnees from last year’s LL League Championship with associated post-season XC and 2021 track and field results, where applicable:

Freshmen could make an immediate impact on the league again this year. Manheim Township rising freshman Elena Barrall was the area’s best 7th grader 2 seasons ago, hanging with the likes of Claire Paci (so, Greencastle-Antrim) and Winter Oaster (so, Gettysburg), both of whom are amongst the favorites in their respective conferences this season. Another Manheim Township freshman, Macyn Fogleman, ran well in XC and then ran in the 5:30s for 1600m and hit 2:30 for 800m this past spring. Both will add to an already strong returning cast at Manheim Township. Conestoga Valley’s Abigail Zook, Elizabethtown’s Alison Fink, and Warwick’s Alleha Glenn are 3 other freshmen to keep an eye on this fall.

Warwick edged out JP McCaskey by 1 point last season to take home the league championship title. Not far behind were Manheim Township and Hempfield in 3rd and 4th, respectively. Those will likely be the top 4 teams again this season, but in a slightly different order. Both Warwick and McCaskey graduated their #1 performers from last season. Hempfield graduated 3 of their top 6. Manheim Township on the other hand returns their top 6 from last year and likely has the top freshmen class in the league, if not district. They are the favorites heading into the season, but expect Warwick and McCaskey to keep it close!

Pre-Season Team Rankings

Additional 2021 LL League XC Coverage:

Check out my recent interview with the Manheim Township girls here

(PS – I do a lot of live coverage on instagram and then save to IGTV. Create an account and follow along at centralparunner)

Lancaster Newspaper’s John Walk has done a nice job covering XC and has provided the following coverage already this season:

* Story about Ella Wolfe and her mother doing triathlons

* Interview with Ava Shirk

* Interview with Ella Hartel