When: Saturday, October 30 – 12:15PM
Where: Big Spring High School
150 runners, representing 18 scoring teams and the top individuals from each of the respective leagues, will step to the line at Big Spring on Saturday for the boys District 3 Class AA Championship. The top 3 teams and top 15 individuals not on one of those qualifying teams will qualify for the state championships.
The race for the 3 team state qualifying berths has seemed straightforward for most of the season. That said, with potentially ugly weather conditions projected for Saturday, nothing is a sure thing. Lampeter Strasburg, Greencastle-Antrim, and Susquehannock have been the top 3 teams in our District 3 rankings for the majority of the season. Heading to the final week of prep before districts we still see these 3 at the top of the field.
Lampeter Strasburg (LS) is one of the top 3 class AA teams in the state per PA Milesplit. They have a terrific #1 runner in sophomore Colin Whitaker and have a really strong #2-6 in Ben Devine (sr), Adrian Ella (jr), Parker Stoner (jr), Luka Vranich (sr), and David Pritchard (sr). Team #7 Luke Smith (so) will be counted on to displace many teams #4 and #5 runners. Whitaker gives LS an individual title contender. Devine, Stoner, and Elia all look like potential top 15 finishers and Luka Vranich wont be too far behind. Their top 6 could all place in the top 25. While Greencastle may have closed the gap, LS is still the favorite to bring home the district tile.
Greencastle-Antrim is best positioned to challenge LS. Their #1-4 match up incredibly well with the Pioneers. They are led by Weber Long (sr) who will be looking to repeat as district champion. His best race of the year may have been his most recent as he won the Mid-Penn Conference title in convincing fashion, going sub 15:50. The Wake Forest commit looks to be coming on strong late in the season. The Blue Devils may actually hold a lead over LS through each of the teams first 4 finishers. Hayden Parks (so), Dalton Noblit (jr), and Caden Hudson (jr) could all finish inside the top 15 (just like LS’s #2-4). Greencastle will look to Joel Amstutz (fr) and Kyle Baker (jr) to try to keep pace with LS’s #5.
Susquehannock appears to be on an island as the #3 ranked team entering the district championships. I am not sure they can close the gap with the two ranked ahead of them, but they do appear to be significantly clear of other challengers for the 3rd team qualifying spot to states. Matthew O’Brien (jr) leads the way for the Warriors. He won the YAIAA individual title and has looked great throughout the entire season. He won’t be afraid to push the pace on Saturday and he should challenge for the individual title. Senior Nathaniel Coggins joins O’Brien in giving Susquehannock a viable 1-2 punch. He should challenge for a top 10 finish. Look for a minimal spread between Susquehannock’s #3-7 runners. Darian Byrd (sr), Andrew Hetzer (so), Michael Snyder (jr), Ian Rosul (so), and Grant Hartman (jr) round out a deep roster.
Wyomissing, Kennard-Dale, and Annville-Cleona should be in a close battle for 4th place and if one of the teams ahead of them slips up then could find themselves heading to Hershey.
Here are our full District 3 Class AA team scoring projections:
The individual race for the class AA title should be awesome! There looks to be at least 5 state medalists in this grouping. Look for Weber Long, Colin Whitaker, Matthew O’Brien, Garret Quinan (sr, Kennard-Dale), and Luke Seymour (sr, Schuylkill Valley) to form a lead pack. All but Seymour were state medalists last year and all look ready to contend for top 10 finishes in class AA this year. Long (Mid-Penn), O’Brien (YAIAA), and Seymour (BCIAA) all won their respective league championships. Whitaker took home the Ben Bloser title earlier in the year (on this same district course), running 15:56. Quinan popped a 15:37 at Paul Short, finishing 1-second ahead of Seymour. Weber Long is our favorite, but look for a very competitive race out front.
While those mentioned above are our top 5, here is a look at our next 20 ranked individuals, in alphabetical order (Who else do you think wins one of the 15 class AA district medals?):