XC: Looking Ahead to 2022 (D3 AAA)

Here is a way too early look at what we can expect for the 2022 District 3 (D3), class AAA XC season:


Top teams from 2021 looking to rebuild in 2022:

Mechanicsburg graduates 4 from their post-season squad. The class of 2022 represented the Wildcats incredibly well over their careers and it will now be up to a new group of runners to carry on the tradition and team culture. Faith Evans will provide needed senior leadership next season on what could be a young squad.

Wilson graduates Katie Dallas and Caryn Rippey and will look to reload with a strong Class of 2026. The youngsters took home the Berks County JrHS title this past fall. We could see at least 3 freshmen in the Bulldogs top 7 next season.

On the rise:

Governor Mifflin was dealt a blow in 2021 when Kaitlyn Highduch was lost to injury. She looked like an individual D3 title contender before injury. The Mustangs return everyone from their 2021 D3 team AND should get back a healthy Highduch. Watch out!

Manheim Township placed the unlucky #6 spot this past fall, but returns a solid core, including the team’s top 2 runners in Ava Shirk and Elena Barrall. They return 5 league medalists, have the LL League JV champion returning, and their middle school program won the league title.

Warwick returns 5 from their post season team, including low-stick performer Ella Hartel. Karys Carver (class of 2026) won the LL League middle school title by nearly 15 seconds and should contribute immediately. A tight pack of returnees should have Warwick looking at state qualification.

Carlisle returns all state performer Vanessa Alder and will welcome a strong freshman class. Lily Alder (class of 2026) may be the areas top newcomer in 2022. Classmate Ana Bondy should also contend for a top 5 spot on the Thundering Herds roster. With some additional upperclassmen experience returning, Carlisle could make a big jump up in the rankings next year.

Returning strong:

Dallastown graduates Lydia Tolerico, but return everyone else. This team could be positioned to stay at the top of D3 for some time as they had the strongest middle school program in the area during 2021. The Wildcats return an incredibly strong top 4 and have great depth through 8 runners that should keep them at, or near the top of the district again in 2022.

Hershey has a fantastic class of 2023, led by Brooke Preputnick, Ally Wilson, and Rachel Lyn-Sue. The Trojans always have solid depth and their returnees tend to get stronger between seasons. 4 athletes return from their 2021 state team.

Way too early rankings for 2022:

Boys Class AAA

Top teams from 2021 looking to rebuild in 2022:

York Suburban loses their top 3 and 4 of their top 5 to graduation. Cole Adams, Grant Kern, and Shea Walsh formed the top 3 trio in the district over the last 2 years. The Trojans have a strong program history and they will recover. Neil Oestereich will be the centerpiece of the rebuild. He was our “rookie of the Year” this past season.

Carlisle graduates 3 from their 2021 top 7. That said, 4 rising seniors will be back including low-stick performer Kevin Shank. Class of 2026 runner Kolbin Heberlig could contribute immediately.

Exeter Township also graduates 3 from their 2021 top 7. Jack Sahaida gives the Eagles a solid #1 performer. Rising freshman Chase Choudhry won the Berks County JrHS champs this past fall and will look to add to the team’s returning depth. The Exeter boys took home the JrHS title this season.

The graduation of Ryan Wolfe, Luke Hinegardner, and Ben McElroy ends an incredible 4 year run for the class of 2022 at Cedar Crest. This group brought home 2 district titles over their career. A returning, and hopefully healthy Jake Perhonitch will help with the rebuilding efforts.

On the rise:

Cumberland Valley guys from 2021, including front runner Jordan Tiday. Tiday was the area’s top performer at the 2021 state championships. The other 5 returners should form a relatively close pack with at least 2 of the guys looking to crack into the top 25 in the district.

Dallastown returns everyone from their 2021 D3 team. 5 seniors will be in this group next year, led by Jakob Rager and Jackson Gutekunst. Rager could be a top 5 D3 contender in 2022. Aidan Granger was one of the top freshman this past season and could contend for a district medal next fall.

Governor Mifflin had ups and downs during the 2021 season. Team #1 Zack Zerbe was unable to run at districts. The Mustangs return everyone from this year’s D3 team and should get back a healthy Zerbe next fall. Zerbe has top 10 capabilities and the other returners should form one of the tightest packs in the field. Only :58s separated their #1-#7 runners at districts this year.

Returning strong:

Hempfield will look to make it three D3 titles in a row in 2022. They return 6 of their top 7 from this season and their #8 guy was no slouch. Aidan Hodge and Joe Fahrney are back to lead the way. Hodge suffered a hip injury at states which cost him a run at the individual title. Look for him to challenge for the state title in 2022. Fahrney also looks like an early state medal bet for 2022. This could be Hempfield’s best team yet.

Manheim Township had arguably the best depth in D3 this past season. They lost to Hempfield by only 1 point at the district meet and return 5 from that team. Their #8 guy won the LL League JV champs and should slide into one of the 2 vacant top 7 positions. Luke Papadimitriou and Cole Stevens are the teams top returners, but all 5 returnees medaled at the LL League meet. Stevens was one of the top freshman in the state this past year and classmate Adam Kingston wasn’t far behind.

Way too early rankings for 2022: