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 17-minutes is a very good time. Anything under 16:40 is a great time.
Here’s a preview of what to expect from our Central PA teams and individuals.
Boys Class A/White Race – 11:15AM
2 of PAMilesplit’s top 5 class A teams will be in this competition – #2 Cranberry and #4 Winchester Thurston. York Catholic, currently ranked #4 in our District 3 team rankings, is likely the top area team competing.
Area athletes looking for top-20 finishes includes: Moseley Driscoll (sr, York Catholic), Colin Simander (so, SJCA), Josh Canavan (sr, Portage), and Simon Smith (jr, Penns Valley).
Boys Class AA/Blue Race – 12:00PM
3 of PAMilesplit’s top 5 class AA teams are racing – #1 Grove City, #3 Northwestern Lehigh, and #4 Lampeter Strasburg (LS). LS is also ranked #1 in our District 3 team rankings. This will be a great test to see where they fall amongst the state’s best.
Individually, multiple returning state medalists from Central PA will be competing. LS sophomore Colin Whitaker dropped an impressive 15:56 time in posting the fastest time of the day at Ben Bloser last weekend. He appears to be the closest challenger to Weber Long in District 3 (AA) this season. Whitaker and Ryan Pajak of Ringgold are your pre-race favorites. Pajak finished 9th in the state last season while Whitaker placed 12th. Garrett Quinan (sr, Kenard-Dale) is another returning state medalist. He placed 6th in the state last year and is coming off a 3rd place finish at Bloser in the class A/AA division. Luke Seymour (sr, Schuylkill Valley) should also factor into a top 5 finish. The middle-distance specialist placed 5th at the Northampton Invite earlier this year and has looked strong in BCIAA action.
Others looking for a top 25 finish include: Dylan Cunningham (jr, Kennard-Dale), Parker Stoner (jr, LS), Chase Ebeling (jr, Bellefonte), Adrian Ella (sr, LS), Ben Devine (jr, LS), and Luka Vranich (sr, LS).
Boys Class AAA/Gold Race – 12:45PM
3 of PAMilesplit’s top 10 teams in the state will be competing in Hershey this weekend – #1 North Allegheny, #4 Downingtown East, and #10 State College. State College has another strong team in place this season. They once again are showing impressive depth and had 4 guys under 17-minutes earlier this week at Mifflin County. This meet will feature several of our top ranked teams in District 3 – #4 Manheim Township, #5 York Suburban, and #8 Mechanicsburg. Central York is my sleeper team to keep an eye on this weekend.
The individual race may be much more compelling for local competitors than the team race. The York Suburban duo of Cole Adams (sr) and Grant Kern (sr) are coming off strong performances from Ben Bloser last week. Adams took home the class AAA title in 15:57. He’s the #2 returner from last year’s state meet (placed 7th in 2020) and looks to be in great form. He separated from the field at Bloser over the last mile to win by 15-seconds. Grant Kern ran 16:12 to finish 2nd in that race. Kern placed 11th in the state last fall. TJ Roden (jr, Central Dauphin) won the LVC invite, running 15:48 and then placed 4th at Ben Bloser in 16:25. He finished 19th in the state last year. Manheim Township’s Tyler Stevens (sr) has dealt with his share of set-backs this season, most recently suffering an ankle sprain. That said, he bounced back to post a 15:56 time at Hempfield on Tuesday. He was 20th in the state last season and was runner-up at Foundation.
Others with top 25 potential include: Carter Paul (jr, Mechanicsburg), Charles Endres (sr, State College), Nick Sloff (jr, State College), Trent Dinant (sr, State College), Ben Love (sr, Hollidaysburg), Chris Love (sr, Hollidaysburg), Christian Henry (so, Central York), and Shea Walsh (sr, York Suburban). Endres, Sloff, and Dinant placed 1-3-4 at the Northampton Invite while Ben Love and Chris Love finished 5-6. Henry placed 5th at the LVC Invite.
Follow along on Twitter and Instagram @centralparunner for updates from Hershey!