Hey guys just figured I'd establish this real quick. EtrainCRN is not my account, it's Forrest's. I don't really want to be associated with this fight on the forum. I know he is upset with penntrack behavior and things like that but I really don't have any issues so I just don't want there to be confusion. Sure, their approach is different than mine and I would have loved to feel like they appreciated the blog and maybe gotten a chance to write for them, but that's not the case. I would not be able to do any of what I do without penntrack and I appreciate their data. I also respect Forrest as he is my friend and teammate and has given a lot to the sport.

So again, that fight is NOT ME and I don't want it to be represented that way. Sorry if that disappoints some of you but I just thought it had to be cleared up so people were not getting a different picture of me. Also I have never been offered a chance to work for Penntrack. The only chance I had was in 2010 when I did a write up for the Paul Short meet.

Thanks friends.

EDIT: On a more positive note, I have now updated my splits post to include the splits that I took for all 12 teams, still missing a lot of names to go with those splits, however.

2014 States Splits

I found an awesome video to take splits from thanks to Will Cather's facebok page. It is literally perfect so thank you to whoever filmed that video and thanks to Will for putting up a link to it. Using that video I have already gathered a lot of different split info which I will post below. I'm still missing lots of names so I need your help with that. Also I have to double check which team was wearing white and who was wearing black out of Prep and CD (I'm assuming Prep White and CD black but I don't remember) so I can get that relay's splits.

If you can help me out at all please let me know! Also, keep the names coming in for the all-time list I'm putting together! Thanks!

State College 2014
Chris Golembski 1:58.3
Kyle Adams 1:56.3
Mason Post 1:55.1
Will Cather 1:52.2

Henderson 2014
Eric Stratman 1:55.8
Seamus Collins 1:56.1
Kevin Moy 1:56.9
Steve Thompson 1:54.5

CB East 2014
Mike Donello 1:56.6
Oliver Boucher 1:55.8
Frank Brophy 1:55.4
Jake Brophy 1:55.9

Penncrest 2014
Kamat 1:56.4-
Matt Kazanjian 1:57.0-
Brendan Hanna 2:02.0-
Evan Emmanuel 1:54.5-

Pennridge 2014
Alex Masgai 1:58.8
- 1:57.7
- 2:00.7
Joe Logue 1:51.6

Seneca Valley 2014
- 1:57.0
- 1:58.4
- 2:02.4
Brett Foster 1:53.3

Boyertown 2014
Dylan Ettinger 1:55.2
- 2:01.1
- 2:02.4
Eli Mercado 1:53.1

Pennsbury 2014
Liam O’Connell 1:56.3
Sam Webb 1:58.7
-        2:02.9
Alek Sauer 1:52.9

North Penn 2014
Tom Boyle 1:58.5
Tyler Johnston 1:56.9
Joey Leconey 1:55.2
Ryan Grace 1:54.8

St. Joe’s Prep 2014
Jack Daly 1:57.6
Isiah Fisher 1:59.3
Justin Baselis 2:02.6
John Archie 1:54.1

Cedar Crest 2014
- 1:59.4
- 1:59.7
- 2:02.8
- 2:03.4

Central Dauphin 2014
Wesley Huff 1:58.8
Ben Wilson 1:56.9
Mitchell Coakley 2:00.4
Jake Notestine 2:02.6

A Few Notes

So I wanted to take this time to note a couple things.

First off, I wanted to describe the top 50 rankings I will begin putting together later this week. Basically I'll be looking at runners from the window 2004-2014 (a period during which I have plenty of raw data and accurate sources to gather times and research from). Basically anyone between the classes of 2004 and 2014 (inclusive) will be eligible for the list. That means guys who are class of 2015 and after will not be included (i.e. Kev James, Colin Abert, Zach Brehm etc.). If you would like to submit some names for consideration feel free to comment below!

The basic outline of criteria I will use for my rankings:
1) State Championships- These are the most important stat for me, more important than times or marks like that .. Relay performances and team xc titles count for state championships, but individual titles will be weighted more heavily in my mind .. National titles and Penn Relays titles will also be considered as impressive achievements but will not be as important as state titles
2) All Time Marks/PA ranking- State records and state meet records both indoors, outdoors and on the xc state course are quite important as well. Also where times rank on my All-Time list is important. If you can show excellent range across a variety of disciplines that is a boost. Again relays are considered here, but are not as important as open marks. Splits too are considered.
3) Overall dominance and consistency- The most important goal of a season is to win in XC and to win the outdoor state championship. However, runners run year round and race all the time and those performances can be important in shaping a runners historic perception. District titles, impressive battles against rivals, large margins of victory and wow type marks are very important in creating an image. Signature moments of team work, willingness to sacrifice and excelling in off events are credible sources for increasing ranking. Also having a particularly impressive kick or memorable highlight from a big time race can boost your stock in my eyes.
4) Good old fashioned subjectivity- This is not a formulaic method or anything close, at the end of the day the eye test plays a big role and some biases come into play. I will do my best to be objective but is impossible not to have my own personal opinions influence my list. I hope you can still enjoy it and have a healthy debate.

Some biases I have that I will point out now just so all cards are on the table:
I like XC better than track, I was an 800m man at heart
I ran for Upper Dublin high school, Suburban One American and District One PA
I ran for Muhlenberg College in the Centennial Conference
I began following track religiously at some point in 2008, my best knowledge window is probably 2009-2011ish, but I still consider myself very knowledgeable about 2007-2014 with somewhat knowledgeable about 2004-2007 being my reasonably unhumble diagnosis of my abilities

So hopefully that clears up the list! Submit your names because I am going to need 50! And that's a lot more than you think. I'll be researching on my own and starting to put some things down on paper. It may take a while, but we have the whole summer I suppose.

Also I just wanted to let you all know that beginning next month, I won't be leaving in PA anymore. I graduated college this year and finished my track career about 2 weeks ago running the 800 one final time. I'll be moving to Long Island, NY which will be a big change for me and hopefully won't put me too far out of the PA scoop, but you never know.

Anyway if things start to fall off it will probably be because of things like having a real job and planning out my life over the next couple years and paying bills and fun grown up stuff like that. Just to keep you guys in the loop. The parents out there who read my stuff know what I'm talking about way better than I do so yeah.

Stay Classy and hook me up with names, splits and arguments.

Talk to you chaps soon

Live Opinions on Not Live Video

Now includes:
32 analysis
4x8 analysis
1600 analysis
800 analysis

So I'm going to try and watch all the distance races on PCN and give me live reactions to the races. I missed the beginning of the AA boys 3200m, but the ending was really impressive. Hockenbury ran fantastically to dominate that field and really no one else made it close. I thought Molino was the only one that give him challenge (and I thought he'd win) but that wasn't meant to be today for Griffin. This marks three years in a row I've seen the race as a coin flip behind 2 guys (Galassi and Shearn the previous 2 years) and I've picked the wrong guy 3 times in a row! Congrats to Dominic and sorry for spelling your name wrong all those times, hopefully I've got it down now.

Top 3 runners in this race were sophomores! That's really exciting for next year. District 5 was well represented by Will Kachman out there. Major props to him for a solid PR and runner up finish. Then Will Loevner continues to excel, finishing 3rd in this meet. The top 7 runners in this race will be back next year and I expect solid marks across the board. All 7 of those guys were under 9:40. 

I watched the AAA boys 32 from the gun. Not going to lie, I thought I somehow misread the results. With 200m to go it looked like Colin Martin was the one who could put on a kick and take the win even though I knew it was Ross. What an unreal dig at such a fast pace to come down and take the title. It was unbelievable. The kid was so hungry for a victory, worked on his speed all year including an impressive 4:13c and a few nice 4x8 splits for CRN, and now he gets a well deserved state title. He didn't forget his loss a year ago and when a Martin twin came up on him he wasn't going to sit back and let him blow by for the win again. Fantastic finish and just pure guts race.

It's a big time PR for Wilson and during the last 100m he not only passed Tony for the state title, he passed him for the state meet record (a legendary record mind you) and he passed him for #3 All Time in State history (according to my research). Only Spooner and Springer are faster (and those guys could run sub 4:10 and 1:52). 

The last 100m Russell just looked completely spent. He made such a long move for home and is much harder to lead from the front then to chase someone down. Russell tried to fight him off a couple times, when he looked back and when he got to his shoulder, but once Wilson put the burst on Russell's spirit was crushed and he struggled to the line. If Russell had another race with competition throughout at Nationals he could likely run 8:55ish or better (same is certainly true for Wilson and possibly even Deluca who I will talk about shortly). Unfortunately, I've heard he is injured and done for the year. Major bummer, but a fantastic career for him. We will talk about that more later (hopefully at the end of this week, although I hesitate to make that post before Henderson's meet is done) in my all time rankings (although they will probably be 2004 and beyond rankings I have decided). 

Colin Martin quitely drops a strong PR and breaks 9 minutes. 8:59 at states gets you 3rd place ..... Wow. What a strong year for the 3200m. 9:03.19 gets you 4th! That probably wins every year besides this year and Weller's year in the last 5+ years. Fischer and Dennin both ran 9:03 when they won, Tarsnane was like 9:04ish I think. Kev James will be the top returner for next year but will have his hands full as Sam Webb finished the year on an absolute tear (he dropped down to 9:08.11 today, a huge drop from Henderson). Plus you have my boys Matt McGoey and Aaron Gebhardt hanging around who everyone is tired of me talking about. Throw in Comber and Marston and you got yourself a battle.

Gutsy running by Deluca, but you just can't run away from guys this good. I respect his ballsyness and these other guys who ran big PRs owe him a thank you for having those kind of guts and fearlessness. The 9:03 last week probably didn't help him handle that fast pace today unfortunately. 

Just watched the 4x8s which were pretty exciting. Lakeland ran some really nice legs on that relay and had a good run for 3rd. Big lead by Arzie and big close by Morgan. How about Washington? There was a lot to like about this relay. They ran hard out front, fell back, fought back to the front and then had a big time anchor to close it out. I was surprised Washington's anchor handled Andy Miller so easily at the end. That was quite impressive. I didn't catch any splits so if anyone has them, I would really appreciate it.

Interesting move by Boiling Springs to run Goodson on the #2 leg. He gave them a big lead, but they couldn't hang on against the other squads great anchors and actually ended up out of the medals in 9th.

The AAA boys race was one of the ages. Again I kind of missed splits on this one so please, if you have them, post them up! I could really use the help. Or if you have a quality video I can pick off splits off there. Watching this race on TV I tried to get some splits and went after Henderson's squad (I had 1:55 high, 1:56 low, 1:57 low, 1:54 mid). Henderson ran a really solid race, about as well as you could expect from this squad. State College was not losing today. There was just no way. But more on that later.

Watching the race, it was amazing to see CB East come through this year. Jake Brophy ran a gutsy anchor for a sophomore 2 miler. Looking positively Sam Webb like out there (which reminds me, it's time for my annual Sam Webb is gutsy rant ... how does this guy run another big time split after a super hard 32? that is unreal!). Jake sacrificed a shot at running probably 9:10ish in that 3200 race to go after a big time 4x8 title. Frank, Boucher and Donello all ran strong legs and they finally hit their true potential.

Pennridge unfortunately got the curse of me picking them to win. Nobody I picked to win, won today. I blame myself really. They ran hard but got caught in the pack and that was the kiss of death.

Unless you were State College. They got caught back in the field and looked like they were going to fall victim to the same fate as Cumberland Valley a year ago. But nope. State College was not losing this race. They trained all year for this moment. They cared only about the team and the relay. Yes they had overall team title hopes and a 4x4 that could do damage and Cather in the open but if they won the 4x8 and got the school record I don't think they cared much what happened after that. That kind of motivation and dedication is very tough to stop. Especially when you have quality guys on the back end like Post and Cather who ran big time legs. Great work by these guys. You earned it, this is something you really wanted and you went and got it. Congrats.

North Penn is a real good 4x8 team. They had another big time day. Again if splits are available, please pass them along! North Penn is an excellent 800m program and they showed it again today with an impressive 7:45 and top 4 finish.

After so many close calls, I guess it was time for Boyertown to be on the other side. They snuck into the state meet and a few finals, but today they ended up just out of the medals. This team ran awesome and swagged out with those half tights. That was pretty cool. They came up just short of a medal, but a 7:51 for this squad is unbelievable. Great work.

Big runs by all the teams to get on the medal stand. This was a great year in the 4x8. Penncrest picked a good time to put it together and they had a strong season best of 7:50. This team is another excellent 800m program. They churn out quality guys each year. And was that Matt Kazanjian running the second leg or Chris? Cuz that was a big split for one of those twins.


I'm looking to update my splits file so I need: Order of Runners competing for the 4x8, split to the tenths place if possible ... thank you so much for your help guys!

1600m race is next for me to watch so stay tuned ....

That was an impressive race by Dom P. Sebastian Curtin threw down in a big way at about 200m to go and almost surprised the field and took the win, but Perretta was just toying with the field out there, he had plenty left to turn over the kick and he looked pretty comfortable even after he finished. Gotta love the move by Curtin, however, who really showed a lot of heart going after it.

Parsons made a nice move as well but just couldn't hold off some kickers at the end. He looked like a strong and powerful runner in that field. Parsons was the top senior in the race as the top 5 will return again next year led by the soph Perretta. Nate Morgan looked tired after the 4x8, same goes for Kachman's last 800m. Throw those guys in this field fresh it might have been more than the top 5 that return.

Zach Brehm had a big time win today. It was the first in what would prove to be a couple redemption type races. Brehm showed few signs of being the 4:07 type he was only a year ago with a few suprising losses and no flashy times. Then at Districts he won the 16 in 4:16 and doubled back to take the 800 in 1:53 (while also running low 9:20s and anchoring the winning 4x8). And so Brehm was confident and poised enough to return to Ship and grab another title.

The way Brehm runs controversy will surround him. He runs up on people and sits and kicks. Belfatto certainly was not happy about how things unfolded and his reaction to Brehm and Caldwell's moves cost him precious energy for the kick. I mean these guys closed in 2 flat or faster. That's absurd. Very few can close that quickly. Caldwell is a beast as well. He is just a straight gamer and used all his speed to try and get past Brehm, but Brehm was not to be denied another state title.

Brehm now, as just a Junior, holds a 4:07 PR with 2 state titles. He probably was in 1:51 or faster shape last year and could significantly lower his 800m PR at Henderson if he so chooses. That resume would put him in good shape compared to some of the best in state history. But ... I suppose more on that later.

Abert is going to be good in the future. He just was not equipt to close in 2 flat. If I no doubt if this was a more honest pace he would have ran a strong PR. Gotta like what the D7 guys brought to the table out there. Sloan and Van Kooten had really great seasons and 4:14 for both of them is quite quick.

Domenic Perretta pulls off the double! He wins the 800 pretty easily, dominating the second lap of the race. It was very impressive. Goodson might have had a shot at him if he had kept it closer on that first lap, Goodson really closed down strong at the end. The amazing thing about this race for me was the fact that Perretta looked positively pissed after the race. He was very upset with himself for "only" running 1:54.01 and winning his second state title of the weekend. Kid has big goals so it should be interesting to watch. I'm sure he wishes he was in that AAA duel and running fast. David Fletcher, another soph, ran a solid 1:55 race for 4th with Garrett running a 1:55 of his own for 3rd. Really nice finishes to each of their seasons.

The AAA boys final was the race of the day. It was unreal. Jeff Wiseman ran this race all out. It seemed like he would follow in Ross Wilson's footsteps and get that state title he truely deserved. He made all the right moves, responded to every step Francis made, set a blistering pace for the field to match and put on a brilliant kick from 250 out. But it just has not been meant to be for Wiseman who runs an unreal 1:50, putting him roughly 6th All Time in state history ahead of a legend in Sam Bair. Wiseman has put together an extremely impressive career at 800m, but just couldn't get the win against a magnificent performance by Kyle Francis.

Ah Kyle. I had so much faith in you indoors and somehow I doubted you this outdoor season. Early in the year Francis wasn't running all that fast but I just waved that off as boredom. I knew Bensalem coached their guys well. I knew Francis was a 1:50 guy who beat Tony Russell in the 8 (one of the few guys who could do it this year). Francis was willing to sacrifice state title hopes to help his Bensalem 4x8 and perhaps that left him tired for the final at districts. It felt like that district performance was enough to leave doubt in my mind. Maybe he was tired. Maybe he was burned out. Maybe it was just Wiseman's time. A bit of a trip up in the 4x8 prelims set up a fresh Francis to battle a fresh Wiseman (not a fresh Logue which is probably worth noting). He hung around, he sat on Wiseman's shoulder and then he blasted the final 100m and put on an unreal kick. He breaks 1:50 for the first time and I believe now sits in 4th all time behind the three state record holders (might be 5th if Fowler is ahead of him). Unreal performance by Kyle Francis out there, he ran incredibly impressive and proved me wrong. The guy is a champ.

Here's the thing. Joe Logue ran hard on the anchor leg of the 4x8. I don't think you can deny that he spent the first lap trying to get caught up for his guys. He spent the whole season with the 4x8 helping those guys win a district title and even got them in the state title conversation. And all that had to have tired him out a bit. He still managed a PR in this final, his first since his sophomore season at Henderson and ran a top 20 all time mark at 1:51.45. But just like indoors, his mark is completely outshined by the two guys who finished ahead of him. Just like indoors it's Francis-Wiseman-Logue. I'm just gonna say this now, if Logue gets another shot at these two at Henderson I think he will win. He has really been strong this outdoor season but has always been racing on tired legs. Match him up fresh against Wiseman and Francis and things are going to be closer. He just needs to get out hard enough that he can use that kick against these guys. That kick is lethal.

Zach Brehm runs a very smart race for 4th. I'm sure he was tired from the 16, but here is the thing: he had to be careful not to blow up in this final. Carlisle needed those points for the team title race and his finish ended up giving them the edge over Hempfield and getting them a nice shiny trophy. I'm not sure Brehm was finishing any better than 4th after that 16, but again throw this guy in this race with fresh legs ..... I'd be very intrigued. I'd also like to see Smart go after it at Henderson. I think because his district meet was so slow, he might not have been ready for this blazing pace. I'd be interested to see him get another go at these guys and try and run fast.

Alek Sauer with a big time day! He gets 5th and will be the top returner right behind Brehm. Impressive medal performances for Garton, Smail and Cather as well. Wilhoite, Foster and Mercado made it a dog fight for the medals. Everybody was out there going for it and this race was super exciting to watch. That pack for 3rd through 11th was incredible. Fantastic effort by all these guys. They will remember their role in a race like this.

Today featured what was likely the fastest 3200m in state history and the fastest 800m in state history. Wow. Amazing day for PATF.

Live Opinions on Live Results

You can find live results as they come in on the PIAA website just by clicking through the link found one post below. As I see results I will give you my first reaction to all of them.

800 Thoughts

Some casualities to my medal predictions are in. I lost Maddox and Parsons on the AA side and Austin Cooper on the AAA side. Great seasons for all those guys, it's a shame they couldn't sneak into the final.

Heat 1 of the AA men's 16 ends up considerably slower than Heat 2 (no one under 2 in Heat 1) which allows for a relaxed day by Fletcher and Scullin in a District 4 rematch. Peretta finishes his day 1 with just a 1:57 effort (far off his PR, not far off everybody else's). Goodson was the guy right behind him ready to go.

William Maloney was one of the big surprises to get through to the finals, he went from 2:04 at Districts to 1:58.25 out there at Ship. Excellent run by him and another good sign for guys with D12 backgrounds here.

Wiseman, Francis, Logue, Smart and Cather all advance, meaning the top 5 from indoors will be back for more outdoors in the final. Eli Mercado and Alek Sauer complete strong doubles and get open PRs (Sauer goes under the 1:55 barrier) and get into the final! Big day once again from the Boyertown Bears and strong showing for Sauer of Pennsbury.

Nice bounce back by Becich who unfortunately will just be on the outside looking in. He made a great effort to get back and stay competitive down the stretch. Brett Foster has a great double for District 7 and will be going toe to toe with Wilhoite in the final to see who is the top D7 guy. They will also have to worry about surprise finalist Marcus Smail who dropped a big time 1:55 in his best performance since districts a year ago. Great race by him, he picked the right time to put it all together.

This race is going to be absurdly close tomorrow. Everyone who qualified ran within about 1.5 seconds of one another. Garton barely beat out Cooper for the last finalist spot (less than a tenth of a second) and Becich was just .06 out of 12th as well. 8 different guys ran under 1:55 in just the prelims with a 9th at 1:55.01. Get your popcorn ready for tomorrow.

4x8 Thoughts

Out of my 16 medalists in the AA and AAA 4x8, only lost 8th place Northern Potter on day one so that's pretty good I suppose.

I underestimated Lewisburg. How I overlooked them in my original predictions is beyond me. I'm glad Lakeland got through, I was worried they weren't gonna run a hot relay and that would have been problematic for me. South Williamsport just sneaks through on time after Molino loses twice last week? Interesting to development to monitor especially if you are Dominic Hockenbury.

Wyomissing and Boiling Springs looked quite vulnerable on Day 1. We will see what that means for Day 2 and open events later on today. Washington looked strong, but can somebody give me a good reason for why they won their prelim by almost 10 seconds? Even if your first three legs are running hard, as the anchor you can probably take a few meters off at the end right? I hope that doesn't come back to cost them tomorrow. Running 8:04 is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than running 8:14. Talking 2:01s vs. 2:04.5s for a team that's previous best 4x8 was 8:05 and has no one with an open PR below 2 minutes.

There is also a chance that Washington is about to run low 7:50s with this team if they can cruise to 8:04. Stay tuned.

Good signs for the District 12 boys so far. Their district results were oddly slow but already they send 3 out of the 3 teams that were trying to make the finals in the 4x8 on to the finals (Masterman and Del Val in AA and St. Joe's in AAA). St. Joe's ran a sick 7:54 which was pretty exciting to see. O'Hara didn't put an A team out I'm assuming so I don't count them as an authentic miss.

Here is the thing, teams like Bonner and Radnor really could have benefited from the state spots that Bensalem and O'Hara grabbed and then kinda toyed around with (I'm assuming that Francis didn't run on Bensalem's relay, if that is not the case I apologize). I suppose that O'Hara and Bensalem earned the right to act this way at States because of how they ran at Districts, but you kind feel bad for the teams that would have given it an all out effort that are sitting and home watching. Especially when 8 flat is the last time into the finals.

No hard effort for Brehm or Francis. That makes the open events a tad more exciting. The big benefit will be tomorrow when Carlisle is not in the finals and a relatively fresh Brehm is staring down a tired Tony Russell in the 32.

All 8 of my AAA 4x8 medalists survive and look good, but Boyertown pulls out the biggest surprise. How bout the Bears! This has been a really cool story, these guys kinda came out of no where and Eli Mercado has led them extremely well on the anchor. They drop their relay team all the way down to 7:53 today! Awesome job. Hopefully Mercado isn't too spent for the 8 trials.

1600 Thoughts
Out of my 1600 medalists, 15 of the 16 are still alive with the only omission being Gunnar Sjoreen of Conestoga who I was disappointed to see was the first name out. He got stick in a fast heat and things didn't go perfect, but he had a great season and should be proud.

Russell and Brehm both successfully complete the first step of their doubles. Russell ends up in the faster heat but 4:16 is not really an extremely hard effort for him considering he is likely in 4:07 or faster shape. Ryan Grace proves me wrong in impressive fashion with a solid 4:19. Abert and Belfatto both grab open PRs and put themselves right behind Russell and ready for tomorrow.

Cole Nissley decided to try his luck in the 16 trials (Groh did not) and Nissley's decision pays off. He is through to the finals with a 4:19 PR! Nissley knew the 32 would be loaded and figured he would give both races a shot and see what happens. I like it. Might as well enjoy your last state meet ever, especially when medals are going to be difficult to attain.

This final is going to be really exciting. Brehm is now fresh, Belfatto and Abert look great, Caldwell, Van Kooten and Reiny all looked very solid and Sloan ran a PR.

In the AA prelims, I've said it once already today and now I say it again, Kyle Gonoude winning a heat by almost 7 seconds? Look Gonoude ran a sizable PR and that's pretty cool for him to pick one up, but dropping a massive PR in the prelims when you don't really have to kind of puts you in a tricky spot for the finals.

Perretta and Curtin get through no issue. Those are probably my tentative top 2 right now considering Curtin's 4x8 is out and I thought they could be finalists with his speed on the anchor. But Parsons, Smith and even possibly Gonoude could be right there in the title conversation when the dusty clears. Morgan too if he isn't too tired from the Lakeland's final bound 4x8. Really solid final in this one as well, glad none of the big names had trouble getting through.

AAA 800m Revisited

So an excellent commenter on here pointed this out and I thought I should address it. With James Smith's injury being bad enough to hold him out from the state championships, they have completed reseeded the heats for the 800m trials. Which means the heat of death no longer exists and Jeff Wiseman, Zach Brehm etc. can breath a sigh of relief. This is a huge turn of events for guys like Brett Foster who had, in my opinion, a pretty good shot to sneak a spot to the finals, although now that the heats have been reordered he is in a bit more difficult of a spot. Joe Logue was looking real good for a second there when Smith exited his heat, which was arguably already the slower heat, but now he is in a completely different boat and probably a little disappointed. Here is a link to the PIAA website that will provide live results and has the updated heat sheets for the AAA 800m:

So I figured considering the new conditions, I probably owed you guys a new bit of analysis. If you want to read a more indepth analysis of some of the individual runners in this race, please feel free to scroll down the page to my original 800m predictions. But as for how the reseeding will affect the final, here is what I see happening now ....

Heat 1
This heat is pretty tough now. I mean the event is loaded in general so you know the heats were going to be brutal, but this is a tough turn for the guys originally in Heat 1. I think there are a solid 8 dudes in this heat who could make the finals. The 4 I see getting the Q are Smart, Cooper, Logue, and Francis. Then I have Wilhoite, Garton, Adams and Cruise being the next 4 with Andy Stewart as a sleeper to drop some time for UD (total bias here going on). This is going to be a tough road to the finals for all these gents.

Heat 2
I got Brehm, Wiseman, Cather and Graca going through with a capital Q. After that I thing the next 4 will probably be Sauer, Mercado, Foster, and Becich with Dougherty right there as well if Becich isn't quite healthy. So now we are looking at a bit of a different final then originally expected.

I think it's going to be Smart, Cooper, Logue, Francis, Wilhoite, Garton, Brehm, Wiseman, Cather, Graca, Sauer and Mercado. But with the depth and quality of runners in here that could easily fluctuate.

Based on the reasoning previously outlined by me in my other posts, here is what I have being the outcome of the new final (times and places are adjusted to account for the absence of James Smith but the outcome I expect to be roughly the same.

1. Wiseman 1:52.12
2. Smart 1:53.05
3. Francis 1:53.44
4. Logue 1:53.79
5. Cooper 1:53.82
6. Wilhoite 1:54.01
7. Brehm 1:54.14
8. Garton 1:54.53

Event by Event Predictions: AA 3200m

Last one guys! You're almost done having to listen to my rant and finally knowing my predictions.

It's fitting the last race is this AA 3200m. This race is just wacky to me. You have the top two seeds from the same school out in District 7, a name so long and obscure I don't actually know how to spell it: I'm just going to use the abbreviation WT. So WT has Will Loevner, the #2 seed, and Landin Delaney, the #1 seed. Delaney is a junior who got what has proven to be a rare victory beating Domenic Peretta and running 9:35 in the process. Loevner is just a sophomore who was a stunning indoor states qualifier in the 3k when he broke 9 minutes, and ran 9:40 for 3rd at districts. These guys have both proven this season that they are legit competitors.

However, I think they are probably outmatched. The big dogs are Griffin Molino (9:19 this year in addition to 4:12) and Dominic Hockenbury (2nd in XC at AA states and low 9:20s in the 32). I think these guys are the clear 1-2 kind of like Shearn and Galassi a year ago but perhaps even more ahead of the field. Molino would likely be my big favorite considering his PRs, but he was beat twice last weekend in the 16 and the 32.

This group will battle out with Kyle Shinn, Carter Smith, Bryce England, Brady Wilt and more. A frosh from Quaker Valley, Zach Skolnekovich, will be an intriguing name to watch on the big stage. Nate Bartos and Sean Hilverding are also sub 9:50 guys in this field who can mix it up for medals. Plus there is Will Kachman, the youngster from Bedford who flies under the radar because he is running out of District 5.

In the end here is where I am going with the predictions:
1. Griffin Molino 9:23.67
2. Dominic Hockenbury 9:25.11
3. Landin Delaney 9:33.88
4. Bryce England 9:35.17
5. Will Kachman 9:38.19
6. Kyle Shinn 9:39.91
7. Will Loevner 9:39.98
8. Brady Wilt 9:40.42

Event by Event Predictions: AAA 1600m

I kinda think that 1600m finals might be easiest to make at this point (although with James Smith out of the 800m, the first heat of the 8 now looks significantly easier than the second). It's not like there isn't a ton of awesome guys in the 16. It's just that in the other events there are a TON of awesome guys. 

So here is what the heats look like:
Heat 1
A fresh Billy Caldwell, a fresh Connor Holm and a dry Jeff Van Kooten all are projected by me to get a Q out of the first heat. Then I think last year's PA #1 Zach Brehm is also getting a big Q. That leaves a group of Barchet, Luckanitz and Hopkins with an outside shot of Wilson (doubling off 4x8 which worries me), Matt Brown, and Kolbe Short (4:26 was a solid PR and it came in rough conditions). I think this a cool group of guys and someone will take the next step to an A lister, but not sure who. I'd be surprised if Barchet isn't a finalist with the year he has had this spring. He has really been on fire, but you never know in these state prelims when kicks and closing speeds can play a factor. 

Heat 2
Colin Abert, Nate Sloan, Belfatto and Russell are my Qs out of this heat. This is a bit of a tough heat. I really like guys like Espinal, Gebhart, McDonald, Sjoreen, Grace and Nissley. Any of those guys could slip their way under 4:20. That's what makes it scary for anyone who is not in the top 4 in Heat 1. I think Heat 2 will be faster and possibly by a decent chunk. Sjoreen I think gets through out of this heat. The Stoga guys have been impressive all year and Gunnar and Marston lead the way. After Sjori things get a bit tougher for me to pick. I'm really on the Espinal bandwagon (going big with district 11 this weekend hopefully won't come back to bite me) and he's finally fresh for an open race after doubling and tripling forever. If he isn't too burned out he gets to the final. Then for me it's a toss up between Grace and McDonald. Yeah you could make arguments for the D7 kids out of heat 1 or the D3 guys but I keep coming back to these two. Basically of my irrational fear of doubling, I've got McDonald edging out Grace but it won't be hard for Grace to battle his way into the final given his achievements to date. 

So Barchet, McDonald, Sjoreen and Espinal on to the finals on time.

And now for the finals. Guys expected to be doubling in this final: Brehm, Russell, Barchet. I believe those 3 have the 3 fastest times this year out of AAA boys (maybe Caldwell is in there by a fraction of a second). So you can argue the best 3 guys in the field are also the most tired. That usually makes for a toss up result.

I expect Russell to be tired. Fresh Russell against this field would be in the drivers seat. Brehm has yet to show signs he is back in sub 4:10 shape and Tony is no doubt in sub 4:10 shape. But he is going to be tired. That 2 mile field is loaded and it's loaded with guys who won't mess around on the pace. Somebody makes that thing quick I have to believe. So in the 16 he is going to be tired. He won't be able to do his signature run hard from the front and try and blow everyone away and chase meet records. I feel that makes him beatable on this day. I'm not saying he necessarily will be beat, but I think he is going to be challenged.

Belfatto has the 4:11 speed and blasted a 4:23 to win by 7 seconds over a 4:20 guy in Matt Brown at an oddly slow District meet in Philly. Belfatto was the runner up indoors in the mile and is hungry for a little revenge on Russell after Penn. Belfatto also has strong 800m speed to try and outkick Tony coupled with a lack of fear to chase after him if he goes out hard. Brehm has the closing speed as well and has proven he has solid strength to hang around and then throw the kick down at the end.

And then of course there is Billy Caldwell. He moved up to the 1600m this year and picked the 16 over the 8 which stunned me (but turned out to be a very intelligent decision, especially considering the 4x8 didn't advance). He definitely has the closing speed, but does he have the strength? Russell still may take this bad boy out in 2:05 or faster and that is not a pace many people can hang with. Russell has been doing that all year, he's used to going out over his head and hanging on. Caldwell? Not sure that's the case.

But you know who is used to going out over his head and hanging on? Colin Abert of Easton! The king of that move the last two years at XC states. This the first time he looks healthy on the track and that's a good sign. His XC credentials indicate he is a 9:15ish 2 miler at least. I still feel the 32 is his best event but opting for the 16 over the 32 looks to be a very smart move. The 32 is absolutely loaded and Abert has already been picked to WIN the 16 by one fan and I don't think it's a crazy prediction! Abert likes to run the way Russell likes to run. If he is fresher and hangs on maybe he can surprise and win? 

And then of course there is Jeff Van Kooten and Nate Sloan. Sloan was consistently solid all year and then was upset by the up and coming Jeff Van Kooten. Here is the thing about Van Kooten: we haven't seen his best yet. I think he is the most likely guy in this field to PR. Not only that, I think Van Kooten has pretty good odds to win. Again, I'm not saying he will, but this guy has untapped potential. He is focused, under the radar and ready to surprise. 

I think a fresh Connor Holm will drop a decent chunk of time as well. He has a great kick which can come in handy at race's end and he has really impressed in recent weeks seemingly finally figuring out the somewhat difficult transition from the 8 to the 16. Holm and Caldwell are likely this year's Kevin Moy with Holm definitely being more like Moy in the way that he has dramatically dropped time (Caldwell already had a state medal indoors and outdoors and a signature moment or two on the 4x8). 

So here's the deal .... I honestly don't think Russell can pull off this double. It's nothing personal I just think this double with that 3200m field is verging on impossible. But I'm not sure who from this 16 field is ready to be a champ, I'm not sure everyone will chase any suicide pace Russell puts out. Then again, I'm not sure everyone can afford to chase Russell around the track. So since I can't pick someone to beat him ....

1. Tony Russell 4:12.98
2. Caldwell 4:14.55
3. Brehm 4:14.87
4. Van Kooten 4:14.90
5. Belfatto 4:15.60
6. Holm 4:15.79
7. Abert 4:15.82
8. Sjoreen 4:16.32

Event by Event Predictions: AA 800m

This race will play a large role in determining how good Domenic Peretta really is. He ran nearly 5 seconds faster than anyone else this past weekend at Districts. The next closest seed is at 1:57.21. But Peretta will have to deal with the 1600m and he is just a sophomore so there is some variability. But you can't decide the winner until you decide the finalists. So here we go.

Heat 1
Nick Scullin, Andrew Garrett, Tyrell Maddox, and David Fletcher are the 4 I'd pick to get the Autos to the final. Then I think it will likely be some combination of Steely, McClusick, and Parsons with Morgan and Sutton being some long shots worth mentioning. I lean towards Parsons here because of some of the XC achievements and his brother's accolades. Then it's kind of a toss up between Steely and McClusick here. When it doubt I tend to trust the D4 guys after their excellent performances a year ago.

Heat 2
Goodson, Arzie, Perretta, and Koryak. I think all these guys are really strong runners and if I had to pick a Heat to produce the state champion I would say this is the heat. But that mainly stems from Goodson and Peretta who I think are the top two in this race. Beyond these 4, I expect Hinkel, Nicosia, and Graf. The top 4 here are probably going to be well clear of this chase pack but I do like Hinkel and Nicosia to drop a decent chunk of time from districts with the right competition.

When the dust clears I see Steely, McClusick, Parsons and Hinkel joining the others on time.

In the final, it comes down to how fresh Perretta is feeling and who can rise up to challenge. Last year Curt Jewett ended up surprising a lot of people and winning the 8 after the DQ in the 16. He had fresh legs that day and that allowed him to beat a beast like Smathers who was doubling off the 16. In this race I don't know if there is a clear answer to who will be Jewett to Perretta who is playing the Smathers role perhaps.

Or maybe we should just believe that Perretta is that good. He's just a sophomore, but he is showing signs he might be Sam Havko good (4:10-1:52 both completely solo in 2009). However, I always get scared to bet high on the young guys. And I have watched Jonathan Goodson all year. I predicted Boiling Springs would be well out of it on the anchor leg on the 4x8 and a hungry Jonathan Goodson could come back with a vengenace in the open later on. There is a large gap between season bests for these two (about 4 seconds) but Goodson cut out the 16 to focus on the 8 and I appreciate that decision and I put big weight into those type of moves.

I think Koryak should have a strong race as well, he was possibly a bit discouraged at districts after taking it out hard and fading. I think Garrett should be dangerous in this race as well with no 4x8 to worry about. He is one of the few in this race who does not have to double. Same goes for Fletcher although he likely was pushed a bit more than Garrett at his district meet because he ended up second to Scullin. 

After some careful consideration here is how I see the medals being distributed:

1. Goodson 1:55.08
2. Peretta 1:55.78
3. Koryak 1:56.89
4. Garrett 1:56.95
5. Scullin 1:57.22
6. Fletcher 1:57.65
7. Maddox 1:57.68
8. Parsons 1:57.92

Event by Event Predictions: AAA 4x800m

Ah yes, my personal favorite event of any meet, the 4x8 and an exciting field to surround it with. Let's get right down to some predictions.

Heat 1
Look, District One produced 8 teams which are fantastic teams and most if not all will be running in Saturday's final. The real trick will be predicting which other teams will fill the final. District One can only send 8 teams to the finals at best which means 4 other teams are not only going to make the finals, but also compete for medals and state gold. The most obvious team is State College, the indoor state champs, and I expect them to advance without too much issue. West Chester Henderson and Pennsbury out of District 1 are two other teams that I believe are going to advance to the final. I've been on the Pbury bandwagon for a while and I think Henderson is a fantastic relay that is just starting to reach potential.

The last couple spots out of this heat are tricky. I got the last auto qual being the boys from Penncrest. I think they will get a big leg from Chris Kazanjian in the prelims (he won't run finals because of the 32) which will be a difference maker. Penncrest is consistently solid at states in the 4x8. After them it will be a dog fight between Cedar Crest, Altoona and Bensalem with Bensalem's best shot being a big day from Kyle Francis on the anchor. I'm not sure we will see Francis in an all out effort in the trials but that remains to be seen.

Heat 2
In the second heat I see Pennridge, CB East, North Penn and Carlisle getting the capital Qs. This makes the somewhat bold assumption that Carlisle's Zach Brehm will be running hard on the 4x8. There is no guarantee that will be the case this weekend considering how full his schedule is. If he is on the relay, with fresh legs in the trials he will be able to will this team into the finals.

After those teams it's a bit of a toss up. There is the Whitehall squad that I have been pushing as a sleeper pick for the finals for about a month. There is Seneca Valley, a District 7 team that has two studs on the relay. Indiana Area, who beat that Seneca Valley team in one of the biggest, who are these guys moments of the weekend. There is St. Joe's Prep, a solid team that has the potential to run well under 8 minutes in a competitive race. And there is also Cardinal O'Hara who had least has a fraction of a chance of running a loaded relay and surprisng everyone with their appearance in the finals. Plus Boyertown and Eli Mercado and Emmaus, a nice story out of District 11.

I don't expect O'Hara to load up their relay even slightly so they are out. I think Seneca is the best of the rest and gets into the final on time. After that ... it's very, very tricky. I think it's either gonna be Whitehall or St. Joe's Prep (no offense meant to the D7 champs) and I'll pick Whitehall because I feel obligated to after all my talking about them.

So that makes the 4 time qualifiers: Whitehall, Seneca, Cedar Crest and Altoona.

Now what happens in the finals? Another tricky question.

As far as I'm concerned I believe there are only 3 teams with a realistic shot at gold: Pennridge, Henderson and State College. State College is the clear favorite. They won indoor states easily, have run strong at 4x8 and 4x4 all season, and ran the fastest 4x8 of anybody this year at Penn Relays. Cather is a 1:53 guy on the anchor with Mason Post developing into a 1:55 leg with serious pop and Kyle Adams coming on very strong as of late. Golembski has experience and a 1:57 PR that makes him a nice lead off. He keeps them in contention and the rest of their legs chase. They won't have too much doubling going on the previous day although Post, Adams and Cather are all signed up for individual events in addition to the 4x4. But this team has been practicing doubling and tripling for this very occasion. The legs project to be something in the 1:58-1:55-1:55-1:53 type splits which gets you to 7:41 and change.

Henderson is a fantastic team. Thompson is a 1:54 guy with great speed. Moy ran a huge 1:55 leg at Penn and should have another chance to shine on this relay. Collins is a 1:57 guy with impressive range up to 3200m. He could end up splitting 1:55 on race day like Chris Aldrich a few years back. Eric Stratman ran a clutch 1200 leg at Penn and has 4:17-1:58 ability in the opens. He is a great relay runner who anchored this team to a state title in the DMR indoors. If you add up these legs you have a team on paper that looks like 1:54-1:54-1:56-1:56 isn't unreasonable. That puts you at 7:40 and change.

And then there is Pennridge. Somehow Pennridge finds themselves banging with the big boys in the 4x8. They beat Henderson last week at Districts. They beat SC in the prelim round at Penn Relays. They have improved substantially each week and somehow, without the big names and flashing performances, Pennridge has fought it's way into the state title conversation. It shouldn't be the case, on paper they look like a 1:58-1:57-1:57-1:52 type squad (7:44 and change) which isn't the league of the other teams. Henderson won the DM at indoor states and Penn. SC won the 4x8 at indoor states. And Pennridge? not in the medal hunt indoors. But Joey Logue has developed into a stud on the anchor leg and the other guys are confident that if they keep it close, he will get the W. And that makes running a lot easier. Take it from a guy who ran with Sam Ellison.

Those 3 are the teams I see as top 3 and I think any of the three could win, much like the Pennridge-Chambersburg-CV match up we saw a few years back.

The rest of the final is equally intriguing. North Penn is always a good 4x8 team. They are well coached and they have a great, focused squad for this meet. LeConey could be a 1:54 type anchor and Piscitelli and Grace and others add nice depth to the relay. I'm honestly not even sure if Grace runs both the relay and the 16, I'm not sure just how deep this team is. They ran 7:53 and 7:51 on back to back days, and I think they can get under 7:50 this weekend.

CB East is running a completely fresh squad. The Brophy bros sacrificed some individual glory. Jake especially with that 3200m after his indoor performance. He knows they need everyone as fresh as possible to stay competitive. Boucher and Donello are great legs as well. This team is 1:55-1:55-1:57-1:58 with room to grow. I like this team a lot and I hope they continue to roll here at states.

I think Seneca and Cedar Crest will have big weekends, I like Foster and Cruise to have nice anchor legs. I just wonder how good the other pieces can be. Altoona always shows up at the district meet. Now they just need to make me believe they can do it at states. I'm nervous about them, because I know their potential is very strong. They have a nice 1:57 average on paper as well.

Pennsbury was the 3rd place team at states a year ago. They were probably closer to 2nd than 4th when everything was said and done. They are close to the same team this year with O'Connell and Sauer being better, Webb being about the same and their 4th leg not quite being at Connor Harriman level. That's the thing, Harriman was a big set the tone guy as a senior leader and strong lead off leg (he handed off at first at states last year). We will see if Harriman blazed the trial for his younger teammates, or if they miss him on race day.

Penncrest is always solid. Always. Emmanuel and Komat have proven they are strong legs, if the other guys show up they have potential to turn heads.

And of course Carlisle. How good can this team be? They ran 7:57 last week with Brehm only running 2 flat. So they have room to drop. But how low can they go? With Brehm on the anchor, few leads will be safe, but he will be a busy boy this weekend. Carlisle's peak is likely 7:50ish, but they could also end up at 8 flat with a disinterested and tired Brehm out of it on the anchor leg with individual events looming in the not too distant future. Only time will tell on this one.

Ultimately when the dust clears here is who I got:
1. Pennridge 7:43.11
2. State College 7:43.29
3. Henderson 7:43.95
4. CB East 7:46.91
5. North Penn 7:50.18
6. Pennsbury 7:51.77
7. Penncrest 7:52.32
8. Seneca Valley 7:53.82

I'm going Pennridge for the upset! It's bold and it might be crazy, but I'm calling a huge anchor leg from Joey Logue to run down Thompson (I'm assuming he anchors but don't know) and Cather in a finish for the ages.

It's crazy, but hey what's the fun of picking all favorites?

Event by Event Predictions: AA 4x800m

Ah the AA 4x800m. Certainly on paper, without a single team under 8 minutes by seed, people may be quick to skip over this event in their prep for the state meet. However, the drama around the 4x8 should be pretty intense. The top seed coming in (Washington out of District 7) is seeded at 8:05 but there are a ton of teams (4) under 8:10 with another 7 under 8:15. The battle to get through to the finals will be especially tight because with teams like Marian Catholic, New Hope-Solebury, Lakeland, Masterman, and Northern Potter being teams with significant chances to drop times. You can never count out teams like Lewisburg, Trinity and Quaker Valley who have impressive histories at this event. Plus you have big time anchors like Goodspn and Andrew Miller as well as Griffin Molino and Mark Arzie who will step onto the track and test their skills. This race could be pretty exciting.

So let's take a quick look at which teams I think are advancing to the finals:
Heat 1
South Williamsport Q
Wyomissing Q
Windber Q
Lakeland Q
New Hope-Solebury q
Lewisburg q

Heat 2
Boiling Springs Q
Washington Q
Trinity Q
Mercyhurst Prep Q
Northern Potter q
Masterman q

This was a tough one to call because I had to pick against teams like Northeast Bradford who I really think could make noise. Same goes for Beaver Area, Mt. Carmel and Quaker Valley. Those are very solid teams. I think there is big potential for my predictions to get nice and shook up, but assuming this holds, what will happen in the finals?

The first thing I did when I was looking over my predictions was go take a look at Washington's roster. This team is the number one seed in the 4x8 but I hadn't heard of their guys before. They have D'Heaven Kelly (2:01) and Del Bredniak (2:02) as leaders of this team. Their 4x4 ran a solid 3:28 so clearly these guys have speed. DeQuay Isbell, if he is utilized on the 4x8, is a big sleeper for a big split. He has run 50.02 in the open. Quorteze Levy is a really solid 300m hurdler (38.63) who probably isn't involved in the 4x8 but certainly has the strength. Washington was 12th a year ago in the final.

Lakeland didn't run anything crazy at their district meet, but if they are running a loaded relay this weekend they could potentially really turn heads behind Mark Arzie (1:57 guy) and Nathan Morgan (4:21). Meanwhile, Wyomissing was the 2nd place squad a year ago and may have the fittest anchor in the field in Andrew Miller (1:55 already this year). They will have Kyle Shinn running the 32 which will tire him out a bit. Trinity was 3rd a year ago and is always a very good team out of district 3.

Boiling Springs has Jonathan Goodson on the anchor ready to roll and try and bring home a title. The team needs some other guys to step up with no one else under 2:08 in the open this year. South Williamsport has Griffin Molino on the anchor and he is a very capable leg, however, he will be coming off a very competitive 3200m where he will be competing for the gold. That is going to take some sting out of his legs.

Schuylkill Valley is focusing all their energies on the 4x8 with a 1:59.05 man in Clay Stabolepszy leading the charge. They were right on Wyomissing's shoulder at Districts. Northern Potter put on an impressive performance at their district meet and is a returning medalist squad from a year ago. Same can be said for Masterman.

Mercyhurst has Sebastian Curtin running a key leg for them, he's a tough miler with solid speed. New Hope Salisbury has Greg House, district champ in the 16 and Colin McClusick, a 1:58 man.

So with all this in mind, who will win? I think it is going to come down to which team has the most depth. Guys are going to be tired and although the anchors will play a big role, the race is more likely to come down to which teams can set their anchors up during the first 3 legs to take the race down.

And that's where things get tricky. A lot of these teams look similar on paper. Ultimately, predicting this race is a very difficult task for me. I think there is the most potential for change in this race out of all the races on the agenda for this weekend. Ultimately, here is my prediction

1. Wyomissing 8:02.70
2. Washington 8:04.13
3. Windber Area 8:05.62
4. Lakeland 8:06.09
5. Boiling Springs 8:06.19
6. Trinity 8:07.15
7. Schuylkill Valley 8:07.99
8. Northern Potter 8:12.88

Windber Area at 3? A little known team out of District 5 is my big time sleeper in this race. I expect them to rise to the occasion at the big dance and drop a lot of time when they finally get some solid competition. That may be a bold statement to make as sometimes a team's inexperience in fast races costs them on the big stage, but I'm banking on a big drop and a surprise upset for this squad.

This race is going to be really exciting. Get your popcorn ready for the AA 4x8 ladies and gents!

Event by Event Predictions: AAA 3200m

The 3200m features some of the best to play the game at 2 miles and will make for a historic battle. As some of you probably know I keep a list of guys who are sub 9:20 for 3200m in state history and this year the list has grown substantially. Here are the sub 9:20 guys this year (in this race alone) in no particular order:
1. Tony Russell
2. Ross Wilson
3. Dominic Deluca
4. Colin Martin
5. Sam Webb
6. Jeff Groh
7. Reiny Barchet
8. Aaron Gebhart
9. Kevin James
10. Patrick Reilly
11. Andrew Marston
12. Chris Kazanjian
13. Casey Comber
14. Matt McGoey

Brent Kennedy's PR is sub 9:20 and a few others are right on the edge of being under. A few guys (most of them wearing Henderson jerseys) broke 9:20 this year and won't be contesting this event at states because they have opted to focus on other events.

So, yeah, we get it by now, this field is absolutely loaded and it's hard to believe there have been recent years where 9:08ish got you a state title, but what does this year hold?

I expect a fast pace. We didn't see at District One because Russell doesn't really want a fast pace, nor did Ross Wilson. Sam Webb was just happy to be involved up front as he grabbed a nice PR. However, I don't expect that whole, nobody wants a fast pace thing to hold at Ship. Colin Martin and Matt McGoey took things out in about 4:31. Deluca ran 9:03 solo so I'd imagine he made things pretty quick.

So the pace will be fast. That means that if you aren't ready to run 9:10ish then you are likely going to be out of medal contention. If you aren't prepared to break 9 then you are going to have a tough time winning the state title. This is assuming the weather is solid out. If it's hot (which it definitely has been in the past) we could see some casualties. Going out too fast could really sting over the final stretch.

I'll assume the weather isn't too horrible and that means I expect the front pack going out hard to be some combination of Russell, Wilson, Deluca, Martin, James, Groh, Barchet, Reilly and Webb possibly also McGoey in there.

That's a pack of 10 guys keep in mind. Not all of them can grab medals, even if they all break 9:10. I think 8 of those guys will be your medalists but I do also believe someone like Andrew Marston could run strong and even and steal a medal from somebody who is fading hard. Chris Kazanjian is a clutch runner at state time and could possibly end up holding a medal when the dust clears. Aaron Gebhart is somebody I have always been a fan of so certainly he too could have a Marston type role, but his 1600m the day before kind of worries me when every second will count in this race. Comber has been consistently solid all year, I'm just not sure I see him breaking through and running 9:12, but again if it's hot or crappy out Comber is a factor.

It's amazing to me that guys like Knudsen and Luke Regan won't get so much of a mention in medal predictions, but these are guys that could make big drops this weekend. I think both of these guys could really shine out there even if they are overshadowed by the studs that are lining up with them.

Brent Kennedy is very good as well, it just feels that, unfortunately, his injuries have held him back a little bit too much. But if things click he has a strong PR and a great resume that could help him sneak out a medal.

Out front, I ultimately expect Tony Russell, Ross Wilson and Dominic Deluca to break free over the final 800m when things really get moving. This three have been incredibly impressive all year and I think they have the best strength and ability of the bunch. When it comes down to the finish, I think Tony Russell is taking gold. He has the speed and the strength and has been unbelievably focused this year. He is chasing history and he will be fresh besides a prelim for this race and he should be able to run pretty easy in his prelim. He has just been on a different level this year and I think he will take this win.

Ross and Dominic have looked very strong all year as well and they have clearly focused on this race and are going to give everything they can to get the title. Unfortunately, I just think it won't be enough to be an all-timer like Russell. Barchet is the wildcard here. I beat Deluca at Henderson and was right in Ross Wilson's backyard. Barchet has been running the best I have seen him over the past few weeks and although he can sometimes be up and down if we see a motivated and focused Reiny, he could potentially make this a 1-2 for Henderson. I think it's more likely he ends up somewhere in the mid-medalist pack, but there are no guarantees on that. I have flashbacks to Reiny his junior year in XC when he went on a great run to get 2nd at regionals and all american at nationals.

Kevin James and Sam Webb are a couple of my favorite runners. I don't think I've really hid that well over the year. Both of them are going to run hard and gutsy in this race, but how far up can they finish. I think James has a better ceiling than Webb because he has already run 4:14 and 1:55 at the lower distances, excellent lower distance work for him. He beat Ramsey Kerkula heads up in the 800 as a 2 miler. That's pretty sweet. Kev could end up in the 9:05ish range this weekend, although that still might only be good enough for 4th or 5th. As for Webb he had an unreal race last weekend at Districts just sticking his nose in it and hanging around. He medaled last year in the state 3200 which is pretty solid considering he was just a soph in a very impressive field. I'm not sure he can manage his performance from last weekend because it was so strong and he has had serious injury issues, but he is a tough nut to crack and should stay in the medal hunt for all 8 laps.

Colin Martin was the indoor state champ right? He now has a PR just as fast as his brother who won the state title last year right? He was in the top 5 last year in this race right? Ok just checking. Because he has suddenly fallen out of the state title talks for all of us including myself! Martin had a rough Penn Relays for sure, but that's one tough race in the midst of a fantastic season. Martin is going to hang around and be in the mix. He doesn't have the 1600 credentials many in this field do, but he has a state championship and that is something very few have. And Matt McGoey? I just have this feeling. I've had it all year. I get the feeling McGoey is going to have a big break through at states. I'm not sure it will quite be 9:03 Ryan Gil style but I have this hunch he is going to run 9:05-9:10 and be a medalist. It's just this gut feeling. NA has produced results in the 3200m at states between Gil and Steiner and Justin Taylor and Matt Jacob before them. Maybe McGoey is just next in line.

I really like how Jeff Groh focused up on the 3200m. Groh has had a really strong season at a variety of different events but he decided he doesn't want to try both the 32 and the 16 this time around, he wants to focus and go after a big time medal and maybe he is even thinking gold. He is super talented and he might be on the verge of a big breakthrough. He has been in this race just outside the medals for a couple years in a row and I expect him to be in the hunt again. Patrick Reilly is my sleeper. He had a big time race indoors and ran 9:15 earlier this year. I think he can bounce back from districts in a big way this weekend. He and Groh are both very strong 3200m guys and they will both be in the medal hunt.

I am a big fan of so many but I can only pick 8. And here is what I got.
1. Tony Russell 8:58.11
2. Ross Wilson 9:00.67
3. Dominic Deluca 9:01.00
4. Colin Martin 9:03.77
5. Matt McGoey 9:05.98
6. Kevin James 9:07.15
7. Reiny Barchet 9:09.27
8. Sam Webb 9:10.16

Event by Event Predictions: AA 1600m

This event was perhaps the most intriguing of all the events I will discuss. Maybe it doesn't have the biggest names or the fastest times, but certainly has had plenty of compelling plot-lines. Last year the AA 1600m ended up becoming something of a snooze fest as a Curt Jewett DQ left Smathers in command to run away with the race for a second straight year. This year both Griffin Molino (4:12) and Dominic Hockenbury have opted for the 3200m (and only the 32) which leaves the door open for the youngster Domenic Peretta to take center stage and grab a state title. Peretta ran 4:19 and 1:52 a week ago and now finds himself as the favorite in both events. Smathers and Havko (4:12 and 4:10 PRs respectively) come to mind as the league he could end up in when the dust clears at states and he is only a sophomore! It's unbelievable the corner this runner has turned in the past week.

But the race around him will truly be exciting as well as the battle to qualify for the finals in the 1600m will be tight. There are lots of strong runners with fairly similar PRs and abilities that will toe the line for the prelims, but only 12 can advance on to Saturday's final and take a shot at a state medal. Here is who I expect to be in the top 8 of each heat.

Heat 1
Morgan, Simon Smith, Gonoude and Parsons are my Qs with Trimble, Kachman, Sweet and Cole being the ones to sweat it out and see who got through to the next round. I am expecting something around a 50-50 split for time qualifiers to get through and I like Trimble's chances. Sweet could sneak through as well. Both of those guys had surprisingly rough times getting into the finals last year, so with an extra year of experience they will be better prepared for the heats.

Heat 2
Curtin, Peretta, Wilt and Vella are my Qs with Degroot-Lutzner, Carter Smith, Thrush and Sutton being my guys to round out the top 8. Degroot-Lutzner from Masterman has been on my radar for a while in the AA landscape and I like his potential to surprise. Thrush is a cool story here as just a freshman, but this is a tough stage for a freshman to handle for sure. I'd be impressed if he gets through, but he has the most potential to drop time arguably out of the group. That's what makes his name an interesting one to scan for in results.

Ultimately my projected final would include Lutzner, Trimble, Kachman and Sweet getting through on time with the Qs. There could easily be a few shake ups there, but that's my best bet.

So now we look at the final. The first thing to note is that a lot of these names are likely going to be pulling double duty with the 4x8. Nate Morgan from Lakeland would have the 4x8 beforehand if his team chooses to go after it. They have two very strong legs in Morgan and Arzie but ran just 8:35ish in qualifying. Not sure what their plan is, but I'm guessing they can put together a team that competes for a spot in the final. That puts Morgan on the line with tired legs.

Then you have others like Lutzner for Masterman who could conceivably make the final as well. Same can be said for Sebastian Curtin and Mercyhurst. That puts some tired legs in the final.

Surprisingly (or surprisingly to me anyway), Gonoude decided to do only the 1600m and skip the 32 which is the opposite of what I expected. That could provide a nice leg up on guys like Kachman and Wilt (and Carter Smith or England if they were to make the final). Peretta will have 1600 and 800 prelims under his belt, but the 16 will be his first final.

So what will happen in the final? I think this is certainly Peretta's race to lose given his achievements, particularly at 800m. With guys like Molino, Hockenbury and Goodson dropping out, the door is even a bit wider for him to glide through and take state gold. He is just a sophomore which is always a cause for concern when analyzing someone's state title potential, but he has been doubling and tripling impressively all year and beating a variety of different opponents. He will be tough to stop and I think he will really turn heads with the fastest 1600m time of the weekend.

Behind him the race for 2nd gets pretty tight. Curtin is probably the favorite after his 5th place finish a year ago, but I really like the way Simon Smith has been running for Towanda. He pulled an upset victory over Griffin Molino last weekend and if there is a guy who I think could upset Peretta here it is likely him. Tyler Vella was also in last year's final and his experience could help as he tries to go for a top 5 spot. The district 4 guys tend to show up at the AA state meet. Pay attention to those names.

Nathan Morgan had a very nice performance at his district meet, but I think Lakeland is getting into that 4x8 final. If they don't, Morgan is up in the pack for 2nd. If they do, he might slip a ways and fall on the edge of medal contention. Jake Parsons from Maplewood is a nice contender to watch for. He and is brother will be at states together and have had solid XC careers in A. He is one of the few seniors at the top of this field and that should play a nice role in a successful race. He is definitely a name to remember for a top 5 spot.

Brady Wilt and Kachman will have their hands full after the 32. How the heck Sam Williams could do the 32, 4x8 and 16 and do all of them well is beyond me. He was probably the only one I have seen do them all solid. Very, very rarely does someone come back from the 32 and over achieve in the 16. I could see one of these guys sneaking a low medal, but I'd be very impressed by anything better than that.

Overall here is what I think the final results will show:
1. Peretta 4:12.75
2. Smith 4:19.24
3. Curtin 4:20.15
4. Parsons 4:21.80
5. Morgan 4:23.74
6. Gonoude 4:24.11
7. Vella 4:24.29
8. Lutzner 4:26.33

Event By Event States Predictions: AAA 800m

Heat sheets are up on line and available through the following link: Enjoy! There are lots of interesting dynamics to each of these races and hopefully I can do each justice with their own individual posts over the coming days. Hope everyone is healthy and happy.

So here we go with perhaps the most exciting event of the whole entire weekend: the AAA boys 800m. This event is impressively stacked from top to bottom, perhaps the deepest field we have ever seen. And naturally, that means there is going to be one qualifying heat that is absolute death. Heat 2 features Zach Brehm (defending state champ), Kyle Francis (indoor state champ), Jeff Wiseman (D1 Champ 2 years in a row), Will Cather (anchor of state champ 4x8), and Nick Smart (800 leg of national champion DMR). Throw in Austin Cooper and Dave Garton who both are 1:54-1:53 types with Eli Mercado who is an indoor state medalist and you have an incredible list of competitors. Also in the field are guys like Alek Sauer and Andy Stewart. Joe Sullivan, the "slowest" seed, is a 1:56 guy. I just named 11 guys. Even if they all run 1:52, at best 8 of them will be in Saturday's final.

All that being said, Heat 1 is no cake walk. James Smith, Joey Logue, Elias Graca, Dylin Wilhoite and Brett Foster have all proven they are in the stud category with Jarrod Cruise, Billy Dougherty and Kyle Adams also lurking and ready to surprise their way into the finals. Mike Becich of NA is coming back from injury but he lurks as a deep sleeper for the final out of the lower seeds. He has his work cut out for him in this kind of field.

Realistically, a big name or two are going out. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see Brehm miss the final because he will be running the 4x8 and the 16 trials beforehand. Cather may struggle to make the finals if he has to run hard in the 4x8 trials, same goes for Adams. Wiseman missed the finals last year so who knows maybe he will be the unlucky one to slip through the cracks. Ultimately, here is how I see the top 8 in each heat playing out.

Heat 1
Logue, Smith, Foster and Wilhoite get the 4 capital qs while Graca, Cruise, Becich and Adams file in behind. I'm always worried about people who are doubling making the finals. Things need to be fast in this heat in order for any time qualifiers to come out. I think they are probably most likely to get 1, but it's definitely possible they get zero. I think Graca will slide in, but it's no guarantee.

Heat 2
Wiseman, Smart, Garton and Cooper are my capital qs and then I think it will probably be Cather, Francis, Brehm and Mercado although I'm not confident at all about this group. Top 4 times out of this heat will likely be 1:53ish which is very quick for a state prelim.That should be enough to drag at least 3 of the time qualifiers along. Mercado/Graca would be my pick for the 12th qualifier, but I'm going with Graca because I think he has an easier heat, has a better PR, and is probably a slightly more fun story. He's just a junior who has made significant drops in time in the last few weeks. Props to Mercado though. He has done a phenomenal job with Boyertown's relay and if he wasn't doubling, we would probably be having a different conversation. Big fans of both guys accomplishments to date.

I like what Sauer has done the last two weeks and I certainly am rooting for anyone wearing the Upper Dublin jersey, but this heat might just be a bit above these two guys heads at this point in their career. However, don't count them completely out. Stewart will be completely fresh this time out and that may prove to be very important. Sauer beat guys like Garton and Mercado last weekend even on tired legs so if his 4x8 prelim is reasonable he may be fresh enough to make the finals this year.

So ultimately here is my final: Logue, Wiseman, Smith, Smart, Foster, Cather, Wilhoite, Cooper, Graca, Francis, Brehm and Garton.

In the finals you will have lots of guys with tired legs. There is definitely a chance that Francis bags the 4x8 and goes after another Gold, which makes things a bit more complicated as well. Smith will also be very fresh headed into the finals and has quietly put together a very nice year at 800m. Plus he isn't in the heat of death like Wiseman is. Smart's fresh too going into the final, but again that heat of death thing is looming.

The way I see it Wiseman, Smith, Logue, Smart, Brehm and maybe Francis are the guys who can win the title. A fresh and ready Kyle Francis could win a state title, just not sure we will see that guy at states. If anyone else outside of this group wins I'll be pleasantly surprised. I love a good upset.

I'm not sure exactly how I see this playing out, but I do think Francis, Smith and Wiseman will make the pace fast in the early going. Logue will just have to sit in and be patient. Joey Logue has had a fantastic career down at Pennridge. He ran 1:51 in a perfect race at Henderson back as a sophomore and spent a lot of his years sacrificing individual glory for the 4x4 and the 4x8, including this season. If Logue was fresh for the open 8 he would be my pick to win. As is, I think he is going to run an unreal anchor leg on the 4x8 and that puts him at risk to look like Connor Manley in the final.

I think the fast pace out front is going to put Smart just a bit too far out of it to take the gold. That being said, I really like his chances as a kicker in this event. If he can hang on long enough, then he could jump by Wiseman, Francis and/or Smith on the home straight and take gold.

Brehm could certainly do this as well. He ran a PR of 1:53 last weekend on the quadruple after the 32, 4x8 and 16. But I anticipate him running very hard in both the 4x8 and the 16 over the course of the weekend. Plus he will have a very difficult prelim in the 8 under his legs. He is the defending champ and he doubled well last year after a gutsy relay split, but his schedule is awfully full. When Palmisano tried this triple at states he ran 1:51, won the 16 in 4:13 and then had very little mental energy left for the open 8. He sat at the back of the field and kicked down third place in a field that lacked depth. This field is significantly better than that field and I think that leaves Brehm in the middle of the pack somewhere and out of contention the final straight.

Ultimately, I think this race is coming down to Wiseman and James Smith. Wiseman was my pick to win a year ago, but he didn't make it to finals. That's worrisome, especially considering how much more difficult his prelim is in comparison to Smith's. I think Wiseman is just the more talented guy out of the two and has 48 400m speed in the open which is hard to stop. I think Smith makes this thing closer than most expect, but ultimately Wiseman strides away with the gold.

Things should play out pretty tight behind this group. I think Smart is getting into the top 3 on the last straightaway and catches Francis as things start to slow. Cooper and Wilhoite are a couple of guys who should contender for the top 5 because they are fresher than the majority of the field. I really think Wilhoite will have a strong day. Placing Logue and Brehm will be the trickiest part of my predicting. Let's face it, either of those guys could pop off a 1:52 type mark and be right in the mix for gold, but it's also possible that their busy schedules make them pretty tired and the fast early pace puts them too far out of contention to be motivated to use their impressive kicks to their advantage. And how will Cather handle the weekend? He ran really well at District 6 champs, but if he already has state gold around his neck will he settle in the 8 final? Or will he run hard like Alec Kunzweiler who finished second 2 years back? What if SC loses the 4x8? A motivated Cather could be scary in this group. I see he and Logue both just being too tired to make noise in this field, but both have doubled well at various points during the season, including last week and could prove me wrong.

I left Dave Garton off my medal stand which hurt a bit. I like the running this guy has done and he has a lot of experience at states. He is hungry to finally get in the final and on the podium ever since he first burst on the state stage as a sophomore. (Fun fact, the 2012 final featured freshman Zach Brehm, soph Jeff Wiseman and soph Dave Garton ... this year's AAA field has 0 freshman or sophomores who have even qualified for the event). Brett Foster from Seneca Valley has had a really nice season as well. He seems to have the 4x8-8 double down pretty well. But how fast can Foster's legs carry him? I think he is one of the top guys in his heat and should advance to the finals, but after what will likely be 3 hard 800ms in his legs, his medal chances may be significantly slimmer. Graca is one of the few younger guys with potential to make the final. He and Brehm are the only two juniors I have slotted for the final. Graca will gain valuable experience this year and if he can rise to the moment he will get himself another big PR. If not, he will back next year ready to contend.

Here is how I see them crossing the line:
1. Wiseman 1:51.89
2. Smith 1:52.66
3. Smart 1:53.33
4. Francis 1:53.77
5. Cooper 1:53.99
6. Wilhoite 1:54.22
7. Logue 1:54.62
8. Brehm 1:54.89

District One

For the rest of the Districts, feel free to see below, but I figured this deserved it's own separate post to avoid risk of overcrowding.

Malik Jones 47.06? Dude flies. That is an impressive district record for him.

Alrighty now let's break this down event by event.

Tony Russell began the day with a big win for the Henderson clan. He ran 9:07 to handle Ross Wilson (9:11) and a surprising challenge by Sam Webb (big time 9:11 PR). You guys are probably tired of hearing me talk about how big of a Sam Webb fan I am so I will save you. Really pumped to see this unfold. Kazanjian runs 9:17 for an impressive 4th in this kind of field. He can go even faster next weekend if things are quick (which it certainly looks like will be the case). Comber, Barchet and Marston get 9:17ish marks unsurprisingly and Alexander Balla gets the impressive 8th spot with a 9:24 for Quakertown. Strong day for him and a nice win over guys like Kardish, Willig and Perlman. Arita had a strong showing for 11th and Knapp had a nice mark getting down to 9:32. I like Knapp as a big time XC performer next year. Possibly top 5 guy in the state if he fits well into Kelly's system.

This race says interesting things about next weekend. Barchet probably benefits from not having the 1600m trials before the 32 (but he still may run both). Marston also ought to benefit from being a bit fresher. Russell looks awesome right now and is great shape to take the down the state meet record at 32. And oh yeah, another two guys sub 9:20 this year with PRs for Comber and Marston? You could break 9:20 and not break the top 20 next week ....

Every race this weekend was probably going to have that one lucky guy who is at the SQS and can't quite break the top 8. In the 4x8 that guy was Radnor. 7:59 and they are left home while teams running 8:05 are in easily. It's a tough pill to swallow. Out front the racing was impressive. Pennridge gets the W with a big run by Logue as they beat out West Chester Henderson 7:48.18 to 7:49.84. Henderson should be a bit fresher next week without a brutal prelim and with their 4x8 guys completely fresh. Perhaps this is the year Henderson's bad luck finally ends in the 4x8. In recent years they have had a fall, a questionable DQ, a dropped baton and they also ran into a 7:33 and 7:40 squad in there.

CB East runs 7:51 and North Penn runs 7:51 for third and fourth. Pennsbury ends up 5th running 7:53. That's a good sign seeing as a few of those teams were in the prelim of death yesterday (Henderson, Pennsbury, Bensalem and North Penn ran 7:53 yesterday). That's good practice for what they will likely see at states. North Penn always comes up clutch in this relay and at states they will be dangerous. Bensalem gets through to states but will Francis run next weekend? That remains to be seen. Penncrest I feel is going to drop a lot of time in the coming weeks, but they won't hit their true potential if they have Chris trying to do the 4x8 and the 32 (not sure if that was the case today). I gotta imagine CRN just ran out of gas in the 4x8 with one or maybe two legs trying to double back from the 32 (Wilson and Arita). Losing a 1:57 leg is tough to handle.

Russell pulls off the double and that's a big first step. Not sure when the last time someone won both was. Billy Caldwell comes in second, likely after he was able to relax on the anchor of DT East's surprising miss of states. With Caldwell now fresh and completely focused on the 16, he will be extremely dangerous on the kick at states. If Russell let's things go slow (which he probably won't but he will be tired) Caldwell is maybe, just maybe, someone who can break up Russell's historic double attempt. Barchet continues to impress, taking a solid 3rd in this event. If he focuses on the 32 I think he will see his best results, but he might as well go after both, he is running the best I have seen him run possibly ever. If he does scratch he lets James Hare in who was this races unfortunate SQS runner who missed states. Gunnar Sjoreen had a strong 4:19 race and Ryan Grace and Connor Holm had solid doubles to run 4:20. Colin McDonald continues to be consistently strong. Tough race for Paul Power and Eric Diestelow. I think Power does big things at 3200m next year, he just had a tough year because of Spring Ford's 4x8 potential. He will be a strong XC guy. Diestelow had possibly his best season of running ever and certainly his best track season. I see him taking strong steps in XC and hopefully does well moving up to the 32 next year. Pat Hopkins follows in Curtis Watro's footsteps and finally has his big break! He is on to states next week.

Jeff Wiseman will now be the favorite at states in the open 8 next week and Joe LeConey (impressive double for him) earns the title of bad luck Brian running 1:56.85 and failing to advance. Eli Mercado once again sneaks the Boyertown Bears into states and 8th place. Wiseman was fresh and ready to take down the W over Logue who is having a very strong season. I don't think Logue can win the state title with the 4x8 in his legs, but he is still a favorite to be in the mix and take down a top 3ish spot. Austin Cooper made a huge statement running a big PR of 1:53.94. His focus paid off big time as he was always committed to this race first and foremost.

Francis will have an interesting decision to make with the 4x8. Doubling is going to take away from his ability to compete with the best. I like the Pennsbury squad. Sauer has been consistently improving and finds himself as the top returner in the district at 800m. The #2 returner is a surprise in Andy Stewart of Upper Dublin who gets a huge PR down to 1:56.29. Garton is going to be dangerous next week, I expect him to bounce back well if he can handle the rounds. He has a lot of experience at states and I think that will come in handy.

Andrew Garrett of Delco got a big win in the 800m, running 1:57.50 to beat out Colin McClusick (1:58). Garrett won the 1600m as well (4:38) but may opt out of that event in favor of the open 8 leaving the door open for Greg House (4:43). Sean Stovall of Springfield qualified for states with a 10:06 mark in the 3200 while New Hope-Solebury won the 4x8 in 8:22.