The PIAA Foundation Invitational takes place this Saturday. The PIAA state XC course is used and many teams from across the state take the opportunity to preview it at this meet. This is a challenging course. Any time under 20-minutes is a very good time. Anything under 19:30 is a great time.
Here’s a preview of what to expect from our Central PA teams and individuals.
Girls Class A/White Race – 9AM
Annville-Cleona is our #1 ranked team in District 3 class A. They are coming off of a strong performance at Ben Bloser last weekend and will see how they stack up against some of the state’s best. 4 of the top 5 teams in the state, as ranked by PAMilesplit, will be competing, including 2 from District 6 (Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy #3 and Marion Center #4). #2 ranked Winchester Thurston and #5 ranked Our Lady of Sacred Heart are also in the field. Look for Portage to battle for a top 5 team finish this weekend as well.
Individually, look for Penns Valley’s Anna Stitzer (sr), Portage Area’s Lauren Shaffer (sr), and Annville-Cleona’s Bratan Peters to all challenge for top 5 finishes, if not the overall title. Stitzer and Shaffer just faced off this week, both breaking the course record, with Stitzer taking the win 19:14 to 19:29. Peters finished 4th at the LVC Invitational and then won her division at Ben Bloser last weekend. Braetan Peters finished 21st in the state last fall while Stitzer place 23rd.
Others with top 10 potential include: Alex Chobany (so, Portage), Lily Ryer (sr, Marion Center), Alexis Durn (jr, Penns Valley), Morgan Hess (sr, Juniata Valley), and Reagan Ryen (jr, Marion Center). Chobany had a breakout race on this course at states last year when she finished 22nd. Durn, Hess, and Ryen finished 25-26-27 at the 2020 state meet.
Girls Class AA/Blue Race – 9:45AM
4 of Milesplit’s top 5 class AA team’s in PA are competing here this weekend: #2 Danville, #3 Montour, #4 Beaver Area, #5 North Catholic. The top ranked local team competing is likely Lampeter Strasburg. The Pioneers are currently ranked #7 in our District 3 class AA rankings.
Angelina Hammond (so, Kennard-Dale) placed 6th in her division at last weekend’s Ben Bloser Invitational. In that same race, Lampeter Strasburg’s Jaclyn Martin (so) placed 8th. They will both battle for a top 20 finish on Saturday.
Girl’s Class AAA/Gold Race – 10:30AM
The top 4 teams in PAMileSplit Class AAA State Rankings are racing in this one. The top 4 are: #1 North Allegheny, #2 Pine Richland, #3 Upper Saint Clair, and #4 Mount Lebanon. Also in the field is local favorite, #7 ranked State College. This meet will be Manheim Township and Mechanicsburg’s first official invitational of the season. Look for them both to put in a good showing for District 3 teams.
State College Area’s Marlee Kwasnica (jr) and Mechanicsburg’s Olivia Walter (sr) have both already dipped under the 19-minute mark this season. Kwasnica finished runner-up at the Harry Groves Spiked Show Invitational and the Big Valley Invitational earlier this season. Look for them both to challenge for a top 5 finish. Manheim Township sophomore Ava Shirk, Mechanicsburg senior Hope McKenney, and Mifflin County senior Kylee Cubbison will also be able to keep pace with the leaders. Cubbison will be looking for her 3rd top 10 invitational finish of the season. She finished 7th at PTXC 12.2 two weekends ago and was 5th at Big Valley the weekend before that.
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