50. Patrick Anderson, So Mount Lebanon (7 AAA)
49. Brett Brady, Sr Butler (7 AAA)
Currently, spots 48 through 54 on my rankings belong to the WPIAL. These two guys got the nods for the list although there are others in the just missing category you can make a case for. Patrick Anderson was bested by teammate Bryce Brandenstein this weekend, but this was Bryce’s first finish of the year in a major invite, so he has to bolster his resume a bit more to get a spot. As for Brady, I was pretty impressed with his performance at Boardman so he got the nod over Sam Gatti (who also has just one major invite performance). I’m starting to think Brady is going to be a medalist in AAA this season which means 49 may end up way too low when all is said and done.
48. Christian Fitch, So Fox Chapel (7 AAA)
47. Josh Lewis, Jr North East (10 A)
This kid has had a killer start to the season. There are some guys who jumped up the list in the early weeks of the year (Tyler Wirth, Alex Ermold, among others) that were on my radar entering the season. Not Lewis. North East is a good program that can develop talent, but I didn’t see Lewis exploding onto the scene the way he has so far. He’s mixed it up with quality AAA guys and seemingly improved every race so far this year.
46. Christian Groff, Sr Hempfield (3 AAA)
We finally got to see some of the top D3 names in action with allowed guys like Groff to get back onto the list for the first time since the preseason. Groff was the #1 man on a very good Hempfield squad this past weekend and boasts sub 16 credentials. Lots to like about Groff’s background from his team, to his family name to his results on the track and trails.
45. LeShawn Huff, Sr New Castle (7 AA)
44. Nate Price, Jr General McLane (10 AA)
43. Alex Ermold, Jr Governor Mifflin (3 AAA)
42. Jacob McKenna, Sr Spring Ford (1 AAA)
41. Tavonne Davis, Sr Allderdice (8 AAA)
40. Owen Isham, Jr State College (6 AAA)
39. Mark Brown, Jr Greensburg Salem (7 AA)
38. David Endres, Jr CB East (1 AAA)
37. Bryce Ohl, Sr York Suburban (3 AA)
36. Carlos Shultz, So Conestoga (1 AAA)
35. Ethan Hermann, Sr Allderdice (8 AAA)
34. Peter Borger, Sr Malvern Prep (Independent)
33. Evan Dorenkamp, Jr Manheim Township (3 AAA)
32. Elias Lindgren, Sr Episcopal (Independent)
31. Jeffrey Love, Jr George School (Independent)
The Independent League really started to heat up this past weekend. Love still gets the nod as top returner status (and he’s undefeated the last two weekends), but I really like Lindgren’s race this past weekend. I was high on Elias and the rest of the Episcopal squad after a great track season where they did a strong job in the relays. Now Lindgren opens up with a big win in the 16:30s at Briarwood under tough conditions. I’m excited to see the big three of Love-Lindgren-Borger match up again. Also wouldn’t be surprised if at least one GFS runners finds his way into that mix before all is said and done.
30. Jared Giannascoli, Sr Lower Dauphin (3 AAA)
29. Jake Underwood, Sr Wilson (3 AAA)
28. Ryan Stravaggi, Jr Harbor Creek (10 AA)
27. Brendan Miller, Sr Upper Dauphin (3 A)
26. Seth Ketler, Jr Seneca Valley (7 AAA)
25. Tyler Leeser, Sr Milton (4 AA)
24. Evan Addison, Sr LaSalle (12 AAA)
23. Czar Tarr, Sr Chartiers Valley (7 AAA)
22. Jack Wisner, Jr Carlisle (3 AAA)
21. Evan Kreider, Jr Cocalico (3 AAA)
It was tough figuring out just where to place this kid after Kreider absolutely rolled through the competition at Big Spring. He probably should be even higher than 21 considering he has asserted himself as arguably the best runner in a district that took the top 4 spots in the state last fall. Then again, all of those top 4 guys are gone as are other D3 medalists like Nick Norton and Colton Cassel. I’m excited for the big meets like Foundation and Carlisle to sort out just how good this district is and, therefore, where Evan deserves to be ranked. Ironically, those races may not even include Kreider (not sure where Cocalico usually goes).
20. Ethan Koza, Sr CR North (1 AAA)
As of this latest edition of the rankings, Koza has moved to 13th among AAA runners. If the state meet actually ended up finishing exactly like my rankings, that would give North two guys in the top 15 in the state. Although this program has been good, I don’t think they’ve had a 1-2 punch that good in the last decade plus. Koza was a bit of a jack of all trades during the track season and, after coming within seconds of knocking off a top 5 guy in the state, it seems like there is little this kid can’t do.
19. Quinn Serfass, Sr Loyalsock (4 AA)
18. Jonah Powell, Jr Grove City (10 AA)
17. Sam Owori, Jr Seneca Valley (7 AAA)
16. Jack Zardecki, Sr Dallas (2 AA)
15. Joe Cullen, Sr Wyomissing (3 AA)
14. Dan McGoey, So North Allegheny (7 AAA)
13. Tyler Wirth, Jr Wallenpaupack (2 AAA)
12. Morgan Cupp, Sr Mechanicsburg (3 AAA)
11. Mitchell Etter, Sr State College (6 AAA)
10. Sam Snodgrass, Sr South Fayette (7 AA)
9. Avery Lederer, Sr Penncrest (1 AAA)
8. Isaac Davis, Sr Jersey Shore (4 AA)
7. Liam Conway, Sr Owen J Roberts (1 AAA)
6. Josh Hoey, Sr Bishop Shanahan (1 AAA)
5. Spencer Smucker, Sr Henderson (1 AAA)
4. Ryan Campbell, Sr CR North (1 AAA)
3. Tristan Forsythe, Sr Winchester Thurston (7 A)
2. Noah Beveridge, Sr Butler (7 AAA)
1. Rusty Kujdych, Sr Neshaminy (1 AAA)
The back and forth battle for the #1 spot in the state swings back to Kujdych this weekend after he picks up another major win. Beveridge, unfortunately, was a DNF this weekend so he didn’t end up mounting a counter strike. Neither of these teams was present at Foundation or Carlisle last year, so this may be the way it stays even next week. Should be exciting to have these two continue to jockey for position. That’s already two switches at the top. Not sure we had any the past two years with Affolder and Brophy leading the way.