2021 LL League XC Championships Preview

Follow along on twitter and Instagram @centralparunner for on-site/live coverage of the LL League Championships!


When – Tuesday, October 19

Girls Race – 4:00 PM

Boys Race – 4:45 PM

Where – Ephrata Middle School

Results will be posted here after the race.


This is the first year for the new District 3 qualifying standards. To recap, here is how to qualify for districts in the LL League:

Class AAA Girls – Top 7 teams and the top 21 individuals not on one of those teams

Class AA Girls – Top 3 teams and the top 9 individuals not on one of those teams

Class A Girls – Everyone advances

Class AAA Boys – Top 6 teams and the top 24 individuals not on one of those teams

Class AA Boys – Top 4 teams and the top 14 individuals not on one of those teams

Class A Boys – Everyone advances


Girls Preview

Manheim Township rolled through the regular season undefeated and will look to put an exclamation point on the LL League by taking home the Championship Title on Tuesday. They have a chance to put at least 5 and possibly all 7 runners in the top 25 individually. Warwick appears to be the clear cut #2 this season and will look to keep pace with Township. The next 5 teams are all really closely matched. Cedar Crest has been coming on strong of late and gets the edge over JP McCaskey for 3rd. Annville-Cleona is one of the best small schools in District 3. We currently project them to take home the class A District title in 2 weeks.

Here is how we project the team race to play out, including District 3 team qualification:

Isabella Shertzer (so, JP McCaskey) enters the championship as the individual favorite. She went undefeated in section 1 action this year. Shertzer ran a PR of 18:55 and placed 8th at the always competitive Carlisle Invitational several weeks ago. Four other sophomores figure to factor into the individual title chase – Ella Hartel (Warwick), Ava Shirk (Manheim Township), Ella Wolfe (Hempfield), and Claire Thomas (Lancaster Mennonite) should all challenge Shertzer for the title. Others in contention include Manheim Township freshman Elena Barrall, Annville-Cleona senior Braetan Peters and JP McCaskey junior Milana Breuninger. Breuninger has been inching closer and closer to teammate Shertzer as the season has progressed.

The LL League has a lot of girls very closely matched. Here is a look at 20 girls who we think could finish in the LL League top 10 (in alphabetical order – you make the call!):

Different shades of blue represent different classifications. Some dual meet results are missing from the spreadsheet.

Boys Preview

The Hempfield boys have been our #1 ranked team in District 3 class AAA all season, and rightfully so. They rolled through the LL regular season and have been consistently ranked within PA Milesplit’s top 3 teams in the state. Manheim Township and Lampeter Strasburg (LS) will try to keep it close, but look for Hempfield to claim another LL League Championship title. Township and LS should be in a close battle for league runner-up. It should be noted that LS is ranked in the top 3 in the state amongst class AA schools. It will be fun to watch both Hempfield and LS as they advance through the post-season.

Here is how we project the team race to play out, including District 3 team qualification:

Individually, there may not be a hotter runner on the season than Hempfield’s Aidan Hodge (jr). Hodge has been running lights out this season and most recently won the Paul Short Invitational in an impressive 15:16. He’s likely one of the top 3 runners in the state (class AAA) this year. The LL League is very talented out front and Hodge will have to work for the win on Tuesday. Colin Whitaker (so, Lampeter Strasburg) is one of the best underclassman in Pennsylvania. Whitaker took home the Ben Bloser title a month ago running 15:56. Caleb Hershey‘s only league defeat came at the hands of Hodge at Hempfield. He’s broken the 16-min barrier a couple of times this year already. Manheim Township’s Tyler Stevens (sr) has dealt with several health set-backs this season, but appears to be trending in the right direction as the post-season begins. He tied Graham Thomas’s (Penn Manor/Temple University) Course Record at Elizabethtown two weeks ago running 15:53.

Others looking to challenge for top 5 finishes are the Hempfield duo of Joe Fahrney (jr) and Dale Winand and the Cedar Crest duo of Ryan Wolfe (sr) and Luke Hinegardner (sr). Wolfe has been batting a knee injury, but looked good at home last Tuesday. Ben Blough (jr, JP McCaskey) has run great this year, but has missed the past couple of meets with an injury. If healthy, he will battle for a top 5 finish.

Here is a look at 14 guys who we think could finish in the LL League top 10 (in alphabetical order – you make the call!):

Different shades of blue represent different classifications. Some dual meet results are missing from the spreadsheet.