2021 PIAA XC Championships Preview

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Schedule for the 11/7/21 PIAA Championships via PIAA.org:

Course Map:

Live Stream via PCNTV

Results via runhigh.com

Hershey Weather

It will be cold when the Class A girls toe the line on Saturday morning. They will kick off the day’s racing with a 9:30 start time. Expect some wet/dewy conditions early in the day before turning nice by late morning. By the time the class AAA boys take to the course it should be sunny and in the low 50s. In fact, sun should be shining all day. It looks like. A great day for states!

Class A Girls:

District 6 champion, Marion Center Area, is likely the top local team in the field for Saturday. Out of 82 competitors at their district meet, Marion Center placed 4 in the top 11 and 5 in the top 14. Annville-Cleona, the champion out of District 3, may be able to keep pace. They placed 4 girls in the top 12 in a field of 56 last Saturday.

Individually, Anna Stitzer (sr, Penns Valley; Monmouth University commit) and Lauren Shaffer (sr, Portage; Bucknell University Commit) have top 5 potential. Stitzer took home the District 6 crown in an impressive 19:07. Shaffer was 2nd in 19:45. These two know each other well and both could find themselves in the top 5 on Saturday morning. Braetan Peters (sr, Annville-Cleona) looks like a top 10 contender. She won the District 3 title in convincing fashion, running 20:10. Abigail Gehris (fr, Tulpehocken) looks like a medal contender as well. She was runner-up to Peters at the District 3 championships in 20:44.

2020 state medalists – Peters (21st), Alex Chobany (so, Portage; 22nd), Stitzer (23rd), Alexis Durn (so, Penns Valley; 24th)

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Class A Boys:

Trinity took home the District 3 title by 1 point over Tulpehocken. Both squads could challenge for a top 3 team spot on Saturday. Marion Center and Penns Valley will represent District 6. Both teams from District 6 are very young and will return everyone next year. This year’s race will serve as great experience for the years ahead as both schools have 5 underclassmen in the field.

Individually, Jasper Burd (sr, Trinity) and Moseley Driscoll (sr, York Catholic) will battle for top spots. Burd may be one of the most improved runners in class A between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He won the D3 title by 31s and placed 8th in a strong Mid-Penn field. A top 5 finish is not out of the question. Dillon Green (jr, Marion Center) and Chad Muckey (jr, Philipsburg-Osceola) will lead the way for District 6 after their 1-2 district finish a week ago.

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Class AA Girls:

Central Cambria dominated the District 6 field a week ago, scoring just 18 total points! They placed their top 5 runners in the top 7 and all 7 runners in the top 11. They should have team gold in their site as they enter the weekend.

Annaliese Niebauer (jr, Central Cambria) took home the District 6 win by over 20-seconds over runner-up Julia Dill (sr, Westmont Hilltop). Niebauer was 16th at states a year ago while Dill finished 15th. Both are looking to make a move up the state medal stand this year. Niebauer finished 35-seconds faster on the district course this year than last and could be in for a big day at Hershey. Delaney Dumm (jr, Forrest Hills) took home the LHAC title over Niebauer two weeks ago and placed 4th at the District meet. She’ll look for her first state xc medal on Saturday. Placing 3rd in District 6 was freshman Morgan Brandis (Central Cambria). She has gone under 20-minutes 4 times already this season. Stella Kuntz (sr, Central Cambria) placed 20th in the state last fall and was the 5th place finisher at District 6.

Ava Lottig (sr, Oley Valley) took home the District 3 title by 5-seconds over Katelyn Deitrick (sr, Bishop McDevitt), 19:42 to 19:47. Lottig just missed a state medal last season when she placed 27th. Look for her to contend for a top 15 spot this year. Dietrick had a breakout spring track and field season and has continued that strong running into her senior XC season. She too should contend for a top 15 finish on Saturday. Trinity’s Lila Shore may be just a freshman, but she has come up big in big time races this fall. The competition won’t scare her on Saturday and I think she comes away with a state medal. She was 3rd at the District 3 meet. At least 6 other girls have shown throuhout the season that they have what it takes to finish in the top 25 at Hershey. In order of finish from the District 3 meet, they include: Kaydence Strange (so, Eastern York), Addie Cohen (so, Wyomissing), Anna Chamberlin (sr, Boiling Springs), Angelina Hammond (so, Kennard-Dale), Claire Thomas (so, Lancaster Mennonite), and Sydney Werner (jr, Conrad Weiser). Peyton Ellis (jr, Boiling Springs) had an off day at districts, but she is a previous state medal winner and shouldn’t be counted out. Werner also appeared a bit off at Districts, but her season leading up to it shows a runner capable of a top 15 finish in the state.

PA Milesplit Preview

Class AA Boys:

The Lampeter Strasburg (LS) boys have had a great season to date. They went undefeated through their LL League Section 2 schedule (includes multiple class AAA teams) with ease. They were third behind class AAA powers Hempfield and Manheim Township at the league championships. They won the District 3 class AA title behind strong performances from their top 5, all of whom placed in the top 22. In addition, they have a legitimate low-stick in sophomore Colin Whitaker. Look for them to contend for a top 3 team finish at states. Greencastle-Antrim (GA) has been slowly closing the gap on LS and placed second to the Pioneers at districts. Their top 5 finished in the top 33 at Big Spring last Saturday. They too have a low-stick performer in Weber Long (sr). In fact, with the emergence of Hayden Parks (so), GA may end up with two low-sticks on Saturday. Look for them to challenge for a top 5 team finish. District 6 champion Central Cambria has solid depth throughout their line-up and could be looking at a top 10 finish.

Individually, 5 District 3 athletes are staring down top-5 to top-10 finishes. Weber Long (sr, GA; Wake Forest University commit) looks ready to challenge Gary Martin (sr, Archbishop Wood; University of Virginia commit) for the state title. We missed out seeing these two compete head to head last fall due to the heats format required due to COVID protocols. Long wasn’t pushed at the Mid-Penn nor District 3 championships and he may have run in the 15:30s if he was. Colin Whitaker (so, Lampeter Strasburg) could be the top underclassmen in the state of Pennsylvania. He placed 2nd to Long at District 3 last weekend and should be looking at a top 5 finish at Hershey. He’s dipped under the 16-minute mark several times this season. Matthew O’Brien (jr, Susquehannock) isn’t intimidated by anyone. Don’t be surprised to see him out front with the race leaders. He has run sub-16 multiple times this season as well and should battle for a top 5 finish. He won the YAIAA title two weeks ago. BCIAA Champion Luke Seymour was 4th in District 3. The middle-distance ace has upped his game this season over the 5k distance. He went from not qualifying for state XC last season to a top 10 contender this year. Garrett Quinan (sr, Kennard-Dale) is the 5th D3 athlete likely to place in the top 10 on Saturday. He too has had a fantastic fall, highlighted by his 15:37 performance at Paul Short. Teammate Dylan Cunningham (jr) was 11th at the D3 champs, but is a returning state medalist. Hayden Parks (so, GA) and Matthew Nawn (sr, Hanover) are two other athletes that should compete for their first state medals this weekend. The individual depth in district 3 was outstanding this season. Long (3rd), Quinan (6th), Whitaker (12th), Cunningham (20th), and O’Brien (25th) were all state medalists in 2020.

Logan Strawser (jr, Juniata) leads the District 6 contingent. He won the D6 title by :22s and looks like a state medal contender.

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Class AAA Girls:

Dallastown has had a terrific season, one they hope ends with winning a team trophy on Saturday. This team is top to bottom the best in Central PA. Dallastown saw the return of Kailey Granger at the district meet after she missed several meets with injury. An additional week on her feet should benefit her and the team. District 3 is stacked with great teams. The Wildcats took home the district title by 29 points over Hershey, 102 to 131. Mechanicsburg placed 3rd with 142 points. All three teams will challenge for top 3 team finishes. In fact, all 5 district 3 team qualifiers should be looking at top 10 finishes. State College won the D6 title (again :)) last Saturday and will look to give Central PA 4 teams in the top 5 or 6 in the state.

It is not a stretch to suggest that 10-15 CentralPARunners (see what I did there!) earn state medals in class AAA girls action. It honestly could be more. Here is a look at the top contenders:

Claire Paci (so, GA) – coming off a win at the D3 Championships, Paci looks like the area’s top contender on Saturday. She has run between 18:13 and 18:46 in all 5 invitational/chamionship races this season. While the state course is a different beast, look for her to once again dip under 19-minutes and push for a top 3 finish. She placed 4th in the state last year.

Caryn Rippey (sr, Wilson) – was state runner-up a season ago and appears to run better (relative her competition) on challenging courses. This bodes well for her at Hershey. She won the BCIAA title before finishing 4th at D3. A top 3-5 place finish is within her reach.

Katie Dallas (sr, Wilson) – the PSU commit has shown marked improvement over the 5k distance. She dropped nearly 40s off of her 2020 D3 time en route to her 2nd place finish. The 800m state runner-up looks to be a top 5-10 contender for Saturday’s race. Is it too soon to question how fast she may go on the track later this year??

Vanessa Alder (jr, Carlisle) – after watching her compete at the Mid-Penn and D3 Championships its safe to assume that you can’t rule her out after the first half of the race. I’d guess she ran the 2nd half of both races faster than anyone else in the field. If she positions herself well enough early in the race, look for a top 5-10 finish.

Camy Kiser (jr, Chambersburg) – looks ready to reclaim her spot on the awards stand after placing 29th last fall. She was 14th in the state as a freshman. She was 3rd at Mid-Penns and 5th in D3. She ran her fastest Mid-Penn race this season and set a new 5k PR of 18:23 at Gettysburg. This may be the best she has ever run. She too should be looking for a top 10 finish.

Lydia Tolerico (sr, Dallastown) – she is coming off of her fastest D3 performance over her 4 year career when she placed 6th last weekend, running 18:49. In the previous 2 years she has placed 22nd in the state. The YAIAA champion should improve upon those 22nd place finishes and find herself in the top 10-15 on Saturday. She recently committed to Johns Hopkins University.

Olivia Walter (sr, Mechanicsburg) – placed 4th at Mid-Penns and 9th in D3. Ran an impressive 18:03 to place 3rd at Paul Short. Gained valuable experience on the Hershey course at PIAA Foundation where she placed 5th. She has a lot of experience on this course. Look for her to compete for a top 10-15 finish.

Nicole Dauberman (jr. Susquehannock) – has gotten better each year of high school and most recently placed 3rd in the YAIAA and 7th in D3. She has run in the high 18s to low 19s all season long. She always seem to put herself in the mix up front. She is another runner looking for a top 15 finish on Saturday.

Marlee Kwasnica (jr, State College) – won the D6 title last Saturday by 27s over classmate/teammate Amy Devan. The weekend before she finished 5th at the Mid-Penn Champs. This will be her 3rd state xc meet in as many seasons. She was 17th as a freshman and 38th last season. Look for her to get back to the podium on Saturday.

Victoria Rodriguez (fr, Dallastown) – finished a spot ahead of Dauberman at YAIAAs and a spot behind her at D3. May be the area’s top freshman. Her 19:02 at D3 was her top performance on the year and shows she is fit and ready to roll. A state medal seems very possible.

Hope McKenney (sr, Mechanicsburg) – finished with a ton of speed at D3’s last weekend to place 10th. She seems to be peaking at the right time. She has come close to a state medal in the past and could gain her first at Hershey on Saturday. Ran to a 14th place finish on this course earlier in the year at Foundation. Hope is committed to PSU.

Brooke Preputnick (jr, Hershey) – Had a rare off day at the D3 Championships, but still finished 13th overall. She was 6th at the Mid-Penn Champs. Ran 18:54 for 7th at Carlisle and 18:34 for 7th at Paul Short. Should be in position for a top 25 finish at states.

Marissa Pritchett (sr, Northeastern) – placed 11th at D3 in what may have been her best performance of the season (also ran to a 18:44 victory at the Whippets Invitational). This is her 4th PIAA State Championship meet. That experience should serve her well.

Bella Treglia (sr, Northeastern) – was 12th at D3 and will also be entering her 4th PIAA State Championship meet. She has 2 top 50 performances at states under her belt. That said, this season seems to be the best she has ever had. She should compete for a top 25 finish.

Elena Barrall (fr, Manheim Township) – will challenge Rodriguez to be the top freshman in Central PA. Has been quietly moving up our individual rankings all season. She was the LL League runner-up before finishing as the top LL performer at the D3 meet (14th). Don’t be surprised if she emerges with a state medal on Saturday.

Others to watch: Ella Wolfe (so, Hempfield), Ava Shirk (so, Manheim Township), Isabella Shertzer (so, JP McCaskey), Amy Devan (jr, State College), Grace Morningstar (jr, State College), Kylee Cubbison (sr, Mifflin County), Raihana Yameogo (sr, Mechanicsburg), Lydia Drago (fr, Governor Mifflin), Kailey Granger (jr, Dallastown)

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Class AAA Boys:

The Hempfield boys have been the area’s top team since week 1 and nothing has changed heading into Saturday. They took home the District 3 title for the 2nd year and a row last weekend. North Allegheny and LaSalle College High School may be the team favorites, but Hempfield will come ready to challenge. Manheim Township comes into states as the District 3 runner-up, falling to Hempfield by just 1 point. They have had some health related absences throughout the season, but are healthy now and look to be peaking at the right time. Could the LL League have two top 5 teams on Saturday? State College Area took home another District 6 crown and should be looking for a top 5 finish as well. The Little Lions took home the top 3 individual finishes and placed their top 5 in the top 13 of the D6 champs. York Suburban will also figure into the top 5 on Saturday. They have arguably the best 1-3 in the state and got a big performance from #4 man, Neil Oestereich (fr), at districts. If their #5 guy has a good day on Saturday they could surprise.

Like in girl’s class AAA, CentralPARunners could account for 10-15 state medals. On any given Saturday, these guys could finish in a different order than they did last weekend as so many are so closely matched. Let’s take a look at the top contenders:

Aidan Hodge (jr, Hempfield) – the Hempfield junior won everything this year except for the Carlisle Invitational. He took home the Paul Short title in 15:16 and followed that up with LL League and D3 titles. He should be able to challenge race favorite, CJ Singleton (sr, Butler; Notre Dame commit), for the state title. Hodge placed 21st in the state last year.

Cole Adams (sr, York Suburban) – finished 3rd at the D3 championships. Adams is the #2 returner from last year’s state championships where he placed 6th overall. He runs well on the Hershey course and took home the PIAA Foundation title earlier this fall. He also was victorious at the Ben Bloser Invitational. Look for him to challenge for a top 3-5 place finish.

Ray Bondy (sr, Carlisle) – one of the biggest surprises of the fall, Carlisle’s Bondy was runner-up at both the Mid-Penn and D3 championships. He likely ran the fastest final mile at the D3 meet, passing at least 7 runners over that stretch. This will be the most difficult course he has run on this season, but if previous season results are any indicator, he could be in for a big day.

TJ Roden (jr, Central Dauphin) – was 5th at Mid-Penns and then 4th at D3. Has good experience on the Hershey course, placing 19th in the state last fall and 7th at Foundation this season. Roden has some of the best speed amongst all runners in the field. Look for him to run a fast final kilometer on Saturday. He looks to be peaking at the right time and could challenge for a top 10 finish.

Grant Kern (sr, York Suburban) – is coming off a solid 6th place finish at the D3 meet. He was 10th in D3 last season before placing 11th in the state. Like his teammate Adams, Kern runs well at Hershey. He placed 9th at Foundation this year. York Suburban has a strong history at states and Kern will be ready to roll on Saturday. He will contend for a top 10 finish.

Tyler Stevens (sr, Manheim Township) – pericarditis and a sprained ankle slowed his season. He was leading Foundation at 3k before rolling that already injured ankle. That said, he now appears to be healthy and is coming off of a 7th place finish at D3. He was “only” 15th at the D3 meet in 2020 before placing 20th at states. He has some of the fastest track times in the entire field. Will be looking for a top 10 finish.

Dillan O’Shell (sr, Hershey) – another breakout star this season, O’Shell has put together an impressive senior campaign. He was 9th in the Mid-Penn before running arguably his best race of the year at the D3 Championships when he placed 5th. This will be his first race on the Parkview course. He’s yet another of our area athletes who could place top 10 with a good day.

Cole Perry (sr, Northeastern) – crossed 4th at YAIAAs and was then 9th at D3. Won the Whippets Invitational earlier in the year in a PR of 15:50. Last season placed 15th in the state. Perry has a ton of experience as this will be his 3rd season in a row competing at the state meet. He’s another athlete that could push for a top 10 finish this year.

Jordan Tiday (jr, Cumberland Valley) – ran to a 7th place finish at Mid-Penns and then placed 8th at D3 Champs. Seems to be running better late in the season. Placed 13th in the state as a sophomore and will be looking to finish within the top 15 again this season.

Caleb Hershey (sr, Lebanon) -is experiencing a breakout season, similar to Bondy and O’Shell mentioned before him. He placed 3rd at the LL League Championships before finishing 11th at D3. He has a couple of sub-16 minute performances on the year. Look for him to run well on the difficult Hershey course.

Joe Fahrney (jr, Hempfield) – placed 10th at the D3 champs after finishing 5th in the LL League. Popped a 15:45 at Paul Short. Fahrney isnt afraid to go out hard. Don’t be surprised to see him running alongside teammate Hodge early in the race. Hempfield will be looking for a big day out of Fahrney as they look to challenge North Allegheny and LaSalle for the team title.

Alex Holbrook (sr, Exeter Township) – was the runner-up at BCIAAs before finishing 18th at the D3 meet. Don’t be fooled by his finish at districts as he raced sick. He’s healthy heading into Saturday and will be looking to claim his first state medal. Holbrook committed to the University of Pittsburgh earlier this week!

Charles Endres (sr, State College) – took home the D6 title last weekend over two of his teammates. Placed 6th at the Mid-Penn Champs, running 16:28.This will be his 3rd state championship meet. Ran 17:04 on this course at Foundation earlier this year.

Trent Dinant (sr, State College) -was runner-up at the D6 champs to Endres, but has traded places with him as State College’s #1 throughout the year. Placed 4th at the Mid-Penn Champs. Ran 16:58 at Foundation in late September.

Ryan Wolfe (sr, Cedar Crest) – placed 33rd in the state last season. Battled through some injuries this season, but has put together a string of strong races. Don’t be surprised if the senior goes out on a high note Saturday.

Others to watch: Jakob Rager (jr, Dallastown), Cohen Manges (jr, Mechanicsburg), Carter Paul (jr, Mechanicsburg), Shernel Singh (jr, South Western), Luke Hinegardner (sr, Cedar Crest), Tony Tzolov (sr, State College)

PA Milesplit Preview