So new league meets are happening every day to the point where, by the time you leave this, it will already likely be outdated. But, hey, I figured I would give it a go anyway. This is the list as of Wednesday at 9:12 AM. Exactly that time. Not a minute more or a minute less. Got it?
I should also mention this will be the last Top 50 list until after the state meet is finished up. From this point forward it will be purely predictions. Next week is district prediction week and the following week will be state prediction week. Then I get married. So it’s a busy time. For those of you who like fantasy drafts, be on the look-out for another edition of the state XC draft.
We will be running it back in the same anonymous format we used last year so you can sign up starting today if you would like. More information on that to come when we get closer to the big day. The state meet, not the wedding. Should I be calling something not the wedding the big day? Probably not. Let’s just keep this between us.
50. Owen Isham, Jr State College (6 AAA)
49. Chayce Macknair, Jr Mifflin County (6 AAA)
I like both of these guys ability to peak at the right time. Expect them to be close by one another the next couple weeks. That could be good news for Macknair as Isham was a top 50 finisher in the state a year ago.
48. Ben Hoyer, Sr Wissahickon (1 AAA)
47. Brett Brady, Sr Butler (7 AAA)
46. Zack Forney, Sr Ridley (1 AAA)
Seems like Forney should be higher on this list. Either he should be higher or Lederer should be lower I suppose considering they have been next to one another. Really rooting for Forney to make it to his first XC state meet. He’s earned it with an awesome, consistent season.
45. Bryce Ohl, Sr York Suburban (3 AAA)
44. Jack Wisner, Jr Carlisle (3 AAA)
43. Dylan Servis, Jr Twin Valley (3 AAA)
This guy is long overdue for a shout on the list. If he had popped a bigger result at Carlisle, he would have probably carved out a nice spot weekly spot for himself in the 30s. Really strong runner on a good team. Those types are always dangerous. When’s the last time Twin Valley had a state medalist in XC? Might be November, 2017 …
42. Ethan Hermann, Sr Allderdice (8 AAA)
41. Evan Kreider, Jr Cocalico (3 AAA)
40. Andrew Foster, Jr Ephrata (3 AAA)
Big last two races from Foster. He nearly knocked off Groff and race awesome in the champion’s race at Carlisle. Ephrata has had a Top 50 finisher in the state each of the past three seasons. Foster could definitely keep that streak going for another couple years.
39. Payton Sewall, Jr DT West (1 AAA)
38. Jason Cornelison, Jr Cheltenham (1 AAA)
37. Tavonne Davis, Sr Allderdice (8 AAA)
36. Quinn Serfass, Sr Loyalsock (4 AA)
35. Alex Ermold, Jr Governor Mifflin (3 AAA)
34. Vincent Twomey, So LaSalle (12 AAA)
33. Michael Samson, Sr CB West (1 AAA)
32. Patrick Anderson, So Mount Lebanon (7 AAA)
I can’t think of a proper adjective to decide how huge Anderson’s race this past weekend was. His run at Coopers was transformative for Lebo. If he duplicates that or, dare I say, continues to improve at this rate, he is going to do big things. He was knocking on the door of Dan McGoey, a guy who has spent some time in the top 10 of my rankings. Lebo needs a front runner like him to win the state title (which they definitely could win). Hopefully, he drags Costentino and Brandenstein up with him. Then things are really looking up. On the flip, I’d like to see him duplicate this once more to slot him in state medal position.
31. Jacob McKenna, Sr Spring Ford (1 AAA)
30. Peter Borger, Sr Malvern Prep (Independent)
29. Andrew Healey, So Holy Cross (2 A)
28. Seth Ketler, Jr Seneca Valley (7 AAA)
27. Jack Miller, Jr Jenkintown (1 A)
This isn’t about Miller, but I want to say this about the Jenkintown team. They are really good. Like this is a strong A squad that we should probably talk about more in the state title mix. I know they didn’t topple Thurston or Penns Valley at Foundation, but those teams have at least a tiny bit of questions surrounding them. Ultimately, the title race may come down to which frosh rise to the moment. Two frosh in the top 5 for all three of those teams. Elk CC two sophs of importance. Montrose the deepest and oldest, but is that enough? Shout out to A! It’s going to be a fun championship.
26. Brendan O’Toole, Sr North Penn (1 AAA)
25. Brandan Knepper, Jr Mechanicsburg (3 AAA)
Very high on this kid. Last year, the Mid Penn was absolutely loaded. This year it’s weaker certainly, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with and Knepper was 3rd in this league. He, Cupp and really the whole Mechanicsburg squad have had a strong, consistent improvement curve. I’m in.
24. Riley Williamson, Jr Parkland (11 AAA)
23. Jake Underwood, Sr Wilson (3 AAA)
22. Christian Groff, Sr Hempfield (3 AAA)
If you are looking for someone to upset Cupp at District 3 (or at least give him a good race), I would think these are the top two guys on the list. I lean towards Underwood actually having the better result at the district meet, but Groff posting his 15:40 at Paul Short turned my head.
21. Jonah Powell, Jr Grove City (10 AA)
20. Jack Zardecki, Sr Dallas (2 AA)
He’s got one of the fastest times in the state for AA runners. Holds two XC state medals. Is a part of the reigning XC team champs. Rolled through a strong field yesterday. When should we start hyping Zardecki for a potential individual state title in AA? Apparently, right now.
19. Brendan Miller, Sr Upper Dauphin (3 A)
18. Sam Owori, Jr Seneca Valley (7 AAA)
Big race this weekend. Second at Coopers ahead of McGoey and Snodgrass and only behind Beveridge is big time. If this is a sign of things to come, Owori will likely finish the year Top 5 in the state. The battle for top junior at states should be fun.
17. Avery Lederer, Sr Penncrest (1 AAA)
Lederer is the biggest mystery to me among the current crop of top guys. He didn’t race Foundation, Carlisle, or Paul Short. He did quite well at PTXC (#3 PA behind only Rusty and Tyler Wirth), he was strong last year and he’s beaten everyone he’s faced in recent weeks. Districts will be very interesting. I think he pops a big time, something like Matt D’Aquila’s performance last year for a similarly hopeful Lower Merion state bid.
16. Dan McGoey, So North Allegheny (7 AAA)
15. Sam Snodgrass, Sr South Fayette (7 AAA)
Two head to head races decided by less than a second. Seems like these guys may belong with one another on the list.
14. Mitchell Etter, Sr State College (6 AAA)
13. Ethan Koza, Sr CR North (1 AAA)
12. Evan Addison, Sr LaSalle (12 AAA)
11. Tristan Forsythe, Sr Winchester Thurston (7 A)
10. Spencer Smucker, Sr Henderson (1 AAA)
9. Ryan Campbell, Sr CR North (1 AAA)
8. Tyler Wirth, Jr Wallenpaupack (2 AAA)
7. Carlos Shultz, So Phoenixville (1 AAA)
6. Morgan Cupp, Sr Mechanicsburg (3 AAA)
5. Josh Hoey, Sr Bishop Shanahan (1 AAA)
4. Liam Conway, Sr Owen J Roberts (1 AAA)
I don’t feel like I have a great read on this tier. It’s pretty loaded up through the top 20 guys on the list which means the top 15 or so spots at AAA states will be absolute madness. I’m not looking forward to those state predictions (who am I kidding, of course I am).
3. Isaac Davis, Sr Jersey Shore (4 AA)
2. Noah Beveridge, Sr Butler (7 AAA)
1. Rusty Kujdych, Sr Neshaminy (1 AAA)
Three really impressive performances from this past weekend. These guys are clearly elite as they put all-time type marks on their respective courses. Davis is the only PA guy to (indirectly) top Kujdych this season. Beveridge is a seasoned, prime time performer. Rusty is absurd. He’s putting together one of the best seasons we’ve seen from a non-reigning state champ (I count Affolder as a reigning state champ). We’ve been spoiled by Russell, Brophy, Affolder the last five years. These kind of talents don’t come along every year. But apparently they do because Rusty is putting up times that get him into the conversation with those guys.
And yet, I think the AAA state champ predictions will be fairly evenly distributed between Beveridge and Kujdych (with possibly a few other names getting thrown in there). Maybe I’m overestimating people’s preferences, but it’s just the vibe I get from the readership.
I guess we will see …