Paul Short Mega Preview!

By Jarrett Felix

Ah yes, the Lehigh Cross Country course and I meet again. I have run this course a lot over the years, ranging from this invitational (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and now 2015) to tempos, scrimmages, workouts and long runs. Even when I'm not racing here, I find myself watching the action like I did in 2008, 2010 and 2014 (twice). My first (and only) professional freelance cross country writing was done at this meet in 2010 for PenntrackXC. And fittingly, my last cross country race of both high school and college was at Lehigh. 

Basically, When I close my eyes to sleep at night I see the place.

It's also a fast course. The 5k lay out is pretty much flat with the exception of a few downhills and some climbs around 1.5 and 2 miles. If you can push the middle, you can absolutely fly over the last 1k. Over the years, the course has produced some really quick times including, perhaps most notably for the purposes of this preview, Colin Abert's 14:55 clocking last year. Paul Springer of Unionville (the state's all time leader at 2-miles) ran 14:47 there in 2006 and, as far as I know, that's the course record. Jason Weller and Kyle Dawson also cracked 15 minutes in 2006 with Tony Russell adding his name to the list in 2013. I also think Matt McWilliams from Grove City did it back back in the day (not a type-o just a drake reference) when states was at Lehigh. 

This year, we should see a nice crop of talent aiming for their own place in the history books. One of the most surprising entries is Sewickley Academy, who continues to travel all across the nation this season. A week after the pre states meet, Griffin Mackey and Ben Clouse will lead their team against top notch AAA competition. I believe it will be the first time the duo has had a chance to truly embrace the large school challenge in PA so we should be able to get an accurate picture of how these two studs stack up.

Another small school runner likely itching for his chance to race against the big boys is North Pocono's Matt Kravitz. Kravitz had a huge day at this meet last year, cracking 15:40 and finishing top 10. He placed second to only Dominic Hockenbury last weekend at Hershey. His teammate, David Haines, also deserves a mention here. He's been dropping excellent times behind Kravitz during the squad's first couple meets. 

Other members of my current Top 50 rankings that are set to race Friday are Jason Ilgenfritz, Kevin Lapsansky, Zach Lefever, Jeff Kirshenbaum, Morgan Cupp, Liam Conway, Sean McGinnis, Seth Slavin and Jack DiCintio. 

Guys like PJ Murray, Will Aplaugh, Dan Quigley, Nate Becker, Justin Yurchak, Patrick Donahue, Matt D'Aquila, Rusty Kudjych, Dylan Smiley, Jack Carmody, John Conner, Gabriel Allgayer, Rahi Shah and Colin Wills are also expected to be involved and each has spent time in and around the list this year.

My goodness that's a lot to digest! Even for nerds like me. And believe it or not there a slew more guys who I would project into my top 100 or so that are scheduled to be involved. It's quite amazing and makes this meet (in my opinion) the deepest race we have seen all year. 

You could argue the race is lacking a little bit of firepower out front (Mackey is the only top 10 ranked runner as far as I can tell) but Mackey is a stud who may finish the season a state champ. Jeff Kirshenbaum just ran 16:11 at Pre States, the same mark as multiple gold medalist Dominic Hockenbury. He's only lost to top 10 guys in the state thus far this season (Brophy twice and Wolk). The big sleeper here for victory may be Zach Lefever. Lefever has quietly been producing impressive results for Ephrata, including a top finish at Big Spring and PTXC, all while finding his footing as a top dog in district 3. He has excellent training partners in Becker and Hartt and, unlike many of the other top runners in this field, he will be fresh after not racing last weekend. I'm very worried about the double off Hershey, even if Lehigh is an easy course, the Hershey hills tend to have a lingering affect. Just ask the last few district 3 champions.

You can make a similar case for Kevin Lapsansky, who also was a top finisher at PTXC, basically running an identical mark to Lefever. Kev was well under 16 here last year and holds state hardware from last XC season, an honor few in AAA can boast from this race. Don't be surprised if he keeps the title in Easton's hands this weekend.

District 11 has a pseudo home meet here at Lehigh considering their proximity and that could be huge for sleepers from Parkland and Freedom. Dan Quigley and Will Aplaugh were both top finishers at districts last year and have each spent time in my top 50 this fall. Will is an excellent track runner with low 4:20s speed that may benefit him at Lehigh's pancake setting, while Quigley cracked 16 minutes here in 2014. Parkland has serious team title hopes in this meet and will look for big days from their leaders Michael Geiger and Dan Kyvelos. Parkland really ran well here last year and could potentially put all their scorers well under 17 minutes. Sleeper pick from this team would be Sam Morgan. Seth Slavin is always dangerous as well as the Emmaus boys Jiandl and Paradise. 

Before I get into that team title race, I'd be silly if I didn't mention a few individuals who's track prowess could loom large at Lehigh. Sean McGinnis spent last weekend conquering Hershey hills. He may be even better utilizing his 1:55 speed on the flatlands this Friday. Eric Kersten from Pennsbury was out hard last weekend at Hershey, but couldn't quite hold on to the early pace. He now can use his own 1:55 type wheels at Lehigh and rebound well. 

Gabriel Allgayer won the White Race last year, cracking 16 minutes. He should be a favorite to win again in 2015. Yahya Soliman cracked 16 last year as well for Cumberland Valley and Liam Conway had one of the fastest freshman performances in course history here a year ago, nearly getting under the 16 minute mark as well.

Conway's Owen J Roberts team seems like a logical place to start the team discussion. They were a surprise 4th at the Foundation Meet last weekend, beating top teams like CB East, O'Hara and State College among others. Now they have to prove that performance can be duplicated on a different type of course entirely. Ironically, this is the course that will be most important in deciding if they get to return to states later this fall. Van Helmond made states individually on this course in 2014 and he could really help this team with a huge run at this year's meet.

D3's Hershey is also looking to solidify themselves as a contender in a difficult district. Hershey was PA's surprise top team at PTXC thanks to a very tight pack, but has been quiet since. Meanwhile many of D3's top teams have been racing and improving around the state, leaving Hershey as a bit of an afterthought. I'm thinking they will have something to prove this weekend and possibly could have another surprise performance. 

Of course they will have their hands full. Hempfield's varsity skipped foundation last weekend after a big win at Big Spring and that may have been to help save them for this race on a flat, fast course. Cedar Crest asserted itself as a D3 contender at Big Spring as well and gets another shot at proving themselves against some local competition. And Cumberland Valley, last year's top D3 team at states and a preseason favorite, will have plenty to prove as they look to build for districts. As of now, they are far from assured another trip to states (where they usually have a permanent ticket). And hey, let's give some love to Mechanicsburg! If they throw their freshman stud in the varsity race this time around, they will be formidable in the team standings. 

As mentioned, don't overlook District 11's Parkland. They were in the preseason coach's poll for Top 10 teams and they have something of a home field advantage here with their proximity. And don't forget: Parkland beat the darlings of Pre States, Owen J Roberts, at the Centaur Invitational a few weeks back (a meet just down the road from Lehigh). 

West Chester East will be running its biggest invite since they won at Abington. They have assembled a very strong pack and a solid front runner in Moser to lead it. They have gained some traction as a sleeper pick in District 1 and they can certainly back it up with a strong run at Paul Short. Spring Ford is another sleeper D1 team that wants another shot at league rivals Owen J. 

In the White Race, keep an eye out for one of my sleeper teams right now: William Tennent. This team has been steadily improving each week and is well rested and hungry for another test. Sean Rahill, a sophomore for WT, is one of top sleepers for this meet. He had an off day at Briarwood thanks to their bus mishap, but he's likely excited about the opportunity to redeem himself and help the team shoot up the standings. 

Small schools in the fields include Sewickley Academy, who is trying to narrow the gap to the top programs in A that edged them last weekend as well as A competitors Elk Lake. South Williamsport's heir to the Molino throne, Hunter Crawley, should also be on the radar after his medalist performance last fall.

Pottsgrove, HG Prep and Bishop Shanahan will all compete this weekend, just not in the same race. These three will be vying for just one spot at states from the ultra competitive District One. The same is true for New Hope, Jenkintown and Christopher Dock who battled it out at Hershey a week ago.

So that's the preview! I'm not sure it was a "mega preview" but I had to get your attention right?

As Dumbledore says, use it well.

Updated Etrain Team Power Rankings: Week 1 (9/30)

By: Garrett Zatlin


·      Bold: Had performances that influenced a strong change in the rankings
·      (#/#): First number indicates how much the team has moved in the rankings. A plus means they have improved in the rankings. A minus means they have regressed in the rankings. The second number indicates where they were ranked the week before
·      (Wasn’t Ranked): Was not ranked the week before.
#25 Penn State Nittany Lions (-1/24)  
#24 Dartmouth Big Green (Wasn't Ranked)
-The big story at Beantown was obviously Justyn Knight and the Syracuse domination that took place. However, there are some very interesting performances to look at and Dartmouth was one of those performances. Curtis King led Big Green to the runner-up title with his 8th place finish. Their pack stuck together extremely well and put all five of their scorers in the top 20. If I'm Coach Harwick, I'm pretty proud of that tight spread. A close pack usually means consistent success so hopefully that is the case with Dartmouth. Still, I'd like to see them take down some bigger names before I continue to let them progress in the rankings. 
#23 Furman Paladins (-2/21) 
-If we're being honest here, I actually picked the Paladins to upset UVA at the Panorama Farms Invite...that turned out to be a bad decision. While UVA took the title, Oklahoma surprised the nation by defeating Furman and bumping the Paladins to 3rd place overall. The great pack running that Furman is typically known for became very segmented throughout the race. Hinkle and Lara placed 9th and 11th while Reeder and Brickell finished 19th and 20th. Fifth man Kyle Polman ended the scoring at 31st place. Clearly, there were too many gaps between the scorers and it showed in the team standings. I still have a plenty of faith and hope in this squad and I believe they will succeed. They have the talent and Coach Gary knows what he's doing. Still, you have to wonder how much they can close the gaps between in their top five.  
#22 Colorado State Rams (-3/19)
-The Rams had a disappointing 5th place finish at Roy Griak this past weekend despite Jefferson and Mock going 1-2. That's not a very encouraging sign with you think about their whole pack. However, it seems that they missing some experienced guys like Grant Fischer and Adam Hartman who were in my projected scoring five. The entire pack consisted of freshman so when you think about, a fifth place finish for the team is actually pretty solid. Still, it's unsure how much of an impact have Fischer and Hartman would have made. That uncertainty puts the Rams higher on the list, but not completely off.                                                          
#21 Oklahoma Sooners (Wasn't Ranked)
-The Sooners earn a spot on this list for upsetting Furman and placing second overall at the Panorama Farms Invite. Brandon Doughty led the Sooners with his third place finish which was relatively expected from him. However, the real x-factor that made the Sooners a contender was the excellent running from Jacob Burcham who surprised everyone by placing 4th overall. Having two low-sticks is a huge plus for a team that was typically just relying on Doughty. The rest of the pack had a decent showing by going 13th, 18th, and 22nd. There was no one who really ran up the score which can typically be a major problem for teams throughout the season. However, those last three scorers are going to need to tighten it up a bit. I'll be interested to see how that pack responds in bigger meets with larger fields. 
#20 Southern Utah Thunderbirds (Wasn't Ranked)
-I'm not at all surprised that the Thunderbirds quickly made it into the rankings. I overlooked them in my preseason rankings and I suppose I'm making up for my error now. The Thunderbirds placed 2nd overall at Roy Griak in a very deep field. Southern Utah was led by Hayden Hawks' 10th place and the rest of the pack stayed very close. The Thunderbirds took four spots throughout the 10th and 20th positions, and their fifth man ended the scoring in 28th place. I'm not surprised at all by the close-knit group that the Thunderbirds have. It's how they've succeeded without an elite low-stick (no disrespect to Hawks). The next thing I'll be watching from this team is if that pack can stay close together in a much faster race and it Hayden Hawks can become a consistent low-stick (I think he can). If all of these go right, then we could be the Thunderbirds in a much better position than 20th. 
#19 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (-1/18)      
#18 NC State Wolfpack (-1/17) 
#17 Penn Quakers (-1/16)    
#16 Michigan State Spartans (Wasn't Ranked)
-Wow. Unbelievable performance from the Spartans that not only surprised, but shocked the nation by winning Roy Griak with a 74 point score. TJ Carey and Ryan Robinson let everyone know who they were by going 7th and 8th and giving the Spartans two low-sticks. Very close behind those two was another duo Sherod Hardt and Max Benoit who placed an outstanding 13th and 14th. The only down-side of the race for Michigan State was that their fifth man (Collier) dropped all the way to 32nd. Still, the top four were extremely close and it catapulted the Spartans to get the win. Now although the Spartans got a big win, how is ranking them at 16th justified? Caleb Rhynard. That's how. One of the top runners in the NCAA did not run for the Spartans this past weekend and they still took care of business. If you replace Collier with Rhynard and assume Rhynard could place 5th (which is very realistic), the score drops to an even more impressive 47 points. That's why Michigan State gets such a great ranking. Watch out Wisconsin. You might have your hands full...
#15 Virginia Tech Hokies (0/15)  
#14 UCLA Bruins (0/14)  
#13 BYU Cougars (0/13) 
#12 Louisville Cardinals (0/12)  
#11 Michigan Wolverines (0/11)   
#10 Virginia Cavaliers (0/10)
-The Cavaliers showed why they are ranked Top 10 in the nation by winning the Panorama Farms Invite that is hosted by UVA. The men packed nearly their entire team into the top 20 and not only won the title, but made an argument that they might have some of the best depth in the nation. They took spots 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th...but they didn't stop there. The Wahoo's crammed their 6th, 7th, and 8th men into the top 20. It was a dominant display of talent. However, I've lost a lot of hope on Kyle King. He was their 6th man at PF and it looks like he just can't seem to find the spark he had in 2013. UVA may need to find a new ace if they are going to contend for the podium. There are plenty of guys that can be the low-stick, but the question of who that will be remains up in the air. 
#09 Oregon Ducks (0/9)      
#08 Oklahoma State Cowboys (0/8)
-The Cowboys started out their season at their annual Cowboy Jamboree they host each season. Although new names like Kentucky and NAU showed up, the Cowboys took care of business and grabbed the win without Fabian Clarkson and having Craig Nowak run unattached. There's not much to take away from this except that Cerake Geberkidane seems to be rounding into another top-tier talent for Coach Dave Smith and that the Cowboys will continue to be dangerous. It's just a shame that we probably won't see them race against top programs until the post-season.
#07 Iona Gaels (0/7)             
#06 Mississippi Rebels (0/6)   
#05 Villanova Wildcats (0/5)  
#04 Wisconsin Badgers (0/4) 
#03 Stanford Cardinals (-1/2)
-The big news of the week was Grant Fischer's excellent first collegiate race (he placed 2nd behind his teammate Sean McGorty*). There is a lot of speculation about whether or not Coach Milt will redshirt the freshman prodigy. If he does, it leaves the door open for Syracuse to rank ahead of them and essentially shuts down any chances of Colorado being upset (but let's be real those chances were minuscule to begin with). Until then, we will have to wait and see what happens.
*Keelan, Sweatt, Wharton, and the Rosa's did not run.  
#02 Syracuse Orange (+1/3)
-After such a dominant display at Beantown, it's hard not to place the Orange ahead of Stanford considering Stanford probably won't run a full squad for a while. Knight took the individual title in Boston with a big win over All-American Matt McClintock. Knight has shown that last season was just a fluke and that he should be considered as a top ten threat at nationals. Bennie has surprised many with his tremendous improvement (he is often left out of the spotlight thanks to Knight) and played a crucial part of Syracuse's 24 point victory after he placed 3rd. Hehir finished 4th overall while Hubbbard and Lennon placed 7th and 10th. The experienced veterans mixed with young talent moves Syracuse up in the rankings and may keep them there for a while. 
#01 Colorado Buffalos (0/1) 
Just Missed
California Golden Bears
Cornell Bears
Texas Longhorns

Who To Watch
Purdue Boilermakers
Kentucky Wildcats
Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Kicked Off
Eastern Michigan Eagles  (Last ranked 25)
Minnesota Gophers (Last ranked 23)
Cornell Bears (Last ranked 22)
Florida State Seminoles (Last ranked 20)

New Additions
Dartmouth Big Green
Oklahoma Sooners
Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Michigan State Spartans

Biggest Surprise of the Week
Michigan State Spartans

Team of the Week
Syracuse Orange

-Florida State gets knocked off the list after an extremely poor performance at Beantown. They placed 7th overall with their pack spread all over the place. They clearly were not prepared.
-Eastern Michigan gets bumped only because there were other teams that needed to get in the rankings. They have yet to race in a major meet, but I assume we will see them next week at Notre Dame Invite.
-Eastern Kentucky placed 6th overall at the Panorama Farms Invite, but that was because they were missing a heavy portion of their scorers. Watch for them to race a full squad soon.
-Texas is my sleeper pick right now. They cruised through the Texas A&M invite and although they don't have a star like Craig Lutz, they have a very underrated pack that could surprise a lot of people. Watch out for them.

Paul Short Prediction Contest

By Jarrett Felix
The crew and I will be doing a variety of Paul Short preview pieces in anticipation of the big day, but I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to enter into a prediction contest! The rules are outlined below.

A full list of high school entries can be found here, but also check out LXV+ for a link to the full list of high school and college entries.

So here’s the rules for the Paul Short Prediction Contest …

You are given 11 points to pick a fantasy team for this meet. Like on websites like fanduel, each runner/team has different point values and you can use your points however you like to fill your team. Here is what you will need:

Brown Race- 5 Runners, 2 Teams (can buy up to 7 Runners, 3 Teams)
White Race- 2 Runners, 1 Team (can buy up to 4 Runners, 2 Teams)

You will then be scored based on how well your team does relative to the competition. Note that you can “buy” extra runners/teams if you so choose as insurance in case somebody has an off day or to increase your chances of hitting on a sleeper. Multiple teams can have the same runners/teams on their individual squads.

Here is how each runner is valued (based on Tuesday’s lists):

Top 10 on ET Top 50: 5 points
Top 25 on ET Top 50: 3 points
Top 50 on ET Top 50: 2 points
Honorable Mention ET Top 50: 1 points
Other: 0 points

Top 5 on ET Top 10: 3 points
Top 10 on ET Top 10: 2 points
Honorable Mention on ET Top 10: 1 point
Other: 0 points

Questions? Predictions?
Comment below and I’ll help out.

My picks to show you an example:
Brown Race
Jack Carmody (0)
Eric Kersten (0)
Matt D’Aquila (0)
Zach Lefever (3)
Jeff Kirshenbaum (3)
Matt Kravitz (3)
PJ Murray (0)

Hershey (1)
Spring Ford (0)
Parkland (0)

White Race
Gabriel Allgayer (0)
Rahi Shah (0)
Colin Wills (0)
Sean Rahill (0)

Bishop Shanahan (0)
William Tennent (0)

Total Used: 10/11 Points


P.S. As an FYI, the stock exchange standings have been updated on LXV+ and I’m hoping to have another odds makers round available tonight/tomorrow if I get the time. So be on the lookout for all that good stuff.

Team Rankings: Week Four

By Jarrett Felix

Here's a little team ranking action to supplement the top 50.
1. Downingtown West
2. Central Bucks West
3. North Allegheny
4. LaSalle
5. West Chester Henderson
6. Mount Lebanon
7. State College
8. Hempfield
9. York Suburban
10. Germantown Friend's School

Props to Hershey, Owen J, Dallas, and Winchester Thurston who were among the near misses.

I've said this a variety of times already, but the top three teams seem to be quite clear cut as things stand. DT West has three of the best runners in the state and they had 8 guys break 17 at Carlisle this weekend. It's hard to argue they aren't huge favorites at this point in the season considering their wealth of talent and proven track record at Hershey and other state championship meets. 

North Allegheny wowed at Pre States and justifiably have received a lot of positive press as a result. Their top 3 has come along nicely and they too have an incredible amount of depth, with TJ Robinson among the names prepared to step up from JV if called upon. But I still think CB West is the #2. If their top five is on, there is no weak link there and they can get five in the top 50. Fortna has the ability to match up with most teams front runners and Mass is emerging as a real talent as well. Iatorola (who's name I can't spell) was also in the top 50 at states last year as a sophomore and he's been rotating through the 3-4-5 type positions. NA certainly handled LaSalle better than CBW when you compare the relative results, but at Briarwood LaSalle was on their pseudo home course and better rested. Plus it was a smaller meet with less points to go around and less front running to help give Fortna and Mass an edge. The Tigers are really good, but so are the Bees. That's not their logo it's just Matt Bee's last name so I figured I'd use it.

LaSalle's only losses have come to top 3 squads and they have a strong pack. Lebo had an under the radar strong run at Pre States and if they get a #5 a bit closer to their excellent top 4, they could be a game changer. Let's not forget about Hempfield. I missed seeing their varsity squad at states, but this team has had a long term focus from day one. I think they peak at the right moment.

Henderson and GFS will always generate buzz because of their excellent program history. They each have a real talented front runner to give them an edge in bigger races and some younger, less experienced runners rounding into form. Henderson hasn't wowed me just yet, but that may be coming sooner rather than later. I'd like to see GFS mix it up with some top flight PIAA teams, but that moment may not come until NXN. 

State College had a tough day at Pre States, but I think it was a valuable learning experience on a difficult course. They had a lot of positives despite finishing 5th, including a great run from Feffer and Isham and Daubenspeck in the JV race. I haven't forgotten how strong they looked at Spiked Shoe. 

As for York Suburban, putting them in the 9 slot may be a little bold (they could still use a bit more at the 5 spot), but in a slower paced race they really dominated the AA scene. And this is the second straight year this squad has come out and run at a high level. Doubt them at your own risk. 

Etrain MVPs for the past two weeks (similar to my last edition of the rankings)
DT West: Josh Hoey
CB West: Brian Mass 
North Allegheny: Sam Blechman
LaSalle: Frank Livolsi
WC Henderson: Jack Downing
Mount Lebanon: Todd Gunzenhauser
State College: Nick Feffer
Hempfield: Coby Mattes
York Suburban: Bryce Ohl
GFS: Nick Dahl

XC Top 50 Rankings: Week 4

By Jarrett Felix
Editors note: I have not seen full results from some meets yet, so I chose not to factor those into the rankings and will save them for next week once I can properly review. Sorry for any problems this will cause.

1. Jake Brophy, CB East Senior
2. Jaxson Hoey, DT West Senior
3. Dominic Hockenbury, Lake Lehman Senior
4. Nick Dahl, GFS Junior
5. Nathan Henderson, JP McCaskey Junior
6. Josh Hoey, DT West Sophomore
7. Nick Wolk, Peters Township Senior
8. Griffin Mackey, Sewickley Academy Junior
9. Zach Skolnekovich, Quaker Valley Junior
10. Henry Sappey, DT West Senior
11. Zach Seiger, Red Land Senior
12. Jeff Kirshenbaum, Methacton Senior
13. Domenic Peretta, Beaver Falls Senior
14. Matt Kravitz, North Pocono Senior
15. Kevin Lapsansky, Easton Senior
16. Will Kachman, Bedford Senior
17. Marc Migliozzi, North Allegheny Senior
18. Alex Milligan, State College Senior
19. Zach Lefever, Ephrata Junior
20. Kent Hall, Unionville Senior
21. Kyler Shea, Lower Dauphin Junior
22. Rob Morro, O'Hara Senior
23. Spencer Smucker, Henderson Sophomore
24. Ryan James, O'Hara Junior
25. Rock Fortna, CB West Senior
26. Jacob Stupak, North Allegheny Senior
27. Dan Filler, Gettysburg Senior
28. Connor McMenamin, Souderton Junior
29. Eric Kennedy, Kiski Area Junior
30. Ben Clouse, Sewickley Academy Junior
31. Bryce Descavisch, Central Cambria Senior
32. Mike Kolor, Seneca Valley Senior
33. Brian Mass, CB West Junior
34. Lukas Marcelis, Wissahickon Senior
35. Nick Feffer, State College Junior
36. Casey Conboy, Baldwin Junior
37. Joe Previdi, Masterman Senior
38. Sam Signor, East Pennsboro Senior
39. Joe Maguire, CR South Senior
40. Liam Conway, Owen J Roberts Sophomore
41. Tucker Desko, Pennridge Senior
42. Jacob Toczko, Tunkhannock Senior
43. Seth Slavin, Pleasant Valley Junior
44. Ryan Barton, DT West Junior
45. Sam Blechman, North Allegheny Senior
46. Liam Galligan, Springfield DELCO Junior
47. Jack DiCintio, Wyomissing Senior 
48. Sean McGinnis, Phoenixville Senior
49. Morgan Cupp, Mechanicsburg Sophomore
50. Jake Ilgenfritz, Avon Grove

Honorable Mention: Grayson Hepp, Donovan Mears, Joe Westrick, Nate Becker, Mark Provenzo, Andrew Maxwell, Matt Scarpill, Sean Sullivan, Tristan Forsythe, Quincy Amabile

As usual, my thoughts ...

1. Brophy v Hoey is setting up to be an intense battle at districts/states and odds are they probably end up splitting those meets in some way because of how evenly matched they appear. People are going to point out Hoey's speed advantage over Brophy and I suppose if this was a track race that would have some validity, however it's not like Brophy is slow. He's split around 1:54 and run 8:57 with an absurd last lap. Plus he ran sub 15:10 at Lehigh twice last year. I'd bet these two push each other to sub 15 at districts (weather permitting of course). I still give the edge at states to Brophy just because of experience, but I think this could be one of the most entertaining state finals in history if health is on our side.
2. I was very impressed with Matt Kravitz this past weekend from Mount Pocono and his ranking reflects that I'd imagine. Jeff Kirshenbaum was the other big mover. Both guys really impressed me with their performances at Hershey and if they can just duplicate those times at Hershey they will have impressive career best type finishes at states. If they can drop time? They can do something special.
3. DT West officially has 4 to NA's 3 on this list. The gap between the squads is shrinking, but West is better out front and, in my opinion, deeper. That being said Migliozzi has been legit so far. Pretty sure he ran faster than Wharrey did at Pre States last year. He could potentially be a top 10 piece for AAA states which would be huge (considering as of now DTW is projected to have 3).
4. I've been saying it for years, the Hershey course is very hard, but it also takes a lot out of you. The D3 kids can attest to this from their years of running Hershey back to back. That's why I worry a bit about the guys going back to back with Hershey and Paul Short this weekend. There may be some natural fatigue, even on a fast, flat course like Lehigh. Keep an eye out for that.
5. A few notes, I haven't seen the full AJ Everhart results so I didn't include them in my rankings. They will be factored in next week as a result. But look for Ben Bumgarner to be one of the big movers as a result. If anyone has a link to the meet results, feel free to let me know. Also, it's worth reiterating that, as others have mentioned, Zach Seiger suffered (at least one) fall at Carlisle and it cost him some spots in the results. Seiger has been Mr. Consistency over the past few seasons so this is a bummer, but I'd bet he comes back with a vengeance next time out. I'm excited to see Seiger v Henderson at Districts.

Other Meets? What Other Meets

By Jarrett Felix

For those of you interested in Carlisle/Foundation recaps, scroll down a post and check out the action. But ...

Believe it or not, there were other meets this weekend. Even if I made basically no mention of them in the past few days. But have no fear, I'll be discussing a few highlights briefly here.

For starters, at Sharpsville Zach Skolnekovich pulled out a strong victory over a field that included a few top WPIAL squads (particularly team champs Norwin) and some solid small school teams. Skolnekovich, who beat Griffin Mackey earlier this season, has been near untouchable in his few performances this season and last year as a sophomore was such a strong XC runner I even took a stab at picking him for state gold in one of my two sets of XC predictions. And guess what? If I have to pick somebody not named Dominic to win the AA title he's my first choice.

Mark Provenzo of Franklin Regional had a nice run of his own, finishing in second of PA runners. He has put together some consistent top pack performances so far in 2015, running near guys like Blechman and the Lebo pack, meaning he would have potentially been a top 10-15 guy at Foundation. He's a sleeper for a medal at stands and top 5 at WPIALs. 

Norwin, Seneca Valley (no Kolor the last two weeks), and Pitts CC (solid at Carlisle, especially through 4) are setting up for an exciting battle for the third and final state qualifying spot in the WPIAL. I was on the Norwin bandwagon in the early season and especially during last year's track season, but they have an uphill battle in store if they want to catch SV. O'Neill and Laughery look excellent so far out front, we will see how the pack develops.

In the match up between D10 A foes, Seneca got the best of Saegertown behind strong runs by the Meyers twins. However, it does look like Saegertown was missing a key contributor in Fleischer would could have made a pretty solid difference bolstering the top three for the 2013 state champs. 

At the Penncrest Invitational, Penncrest took the top two spots with Joseph Angelina and sophomore Avery Lederer leading the way. But then it was the West Chester East show as they took spots 3-8. It was a fairly small meet and it's unclear how much the squad was pushing (particularly Moser), but clearly there is a good pack here. But with the emergence of Owen J Roberts and Spring Ford up at Hershey, East is going to be in a crowded group just to crack the top 10 overall at districts. It should be mayhem at Lehigh.

Samuel Lenze took an impressive win at the Crimson Hawk Invitational, winning by roughly 30 seconds. Keep an eye for him in the WPIAL AA race. Nick Dahl continues to impress, winning his section of the pre NXN NE regional meet. Hopefully that's a preview of a potential national qualifying performance in a few months time. GFS continues to improve as a team behind him. 

Connor McMenamin added a 15:41 to his resume, rolling at Six Flags in NJ. He dominated his race and early word from DJ on my staff says that's a very impressive performance. Considering he seemingly soloed it, that's even better. Curious how he will do in his next performance vs PA boys.

The CRN Invitational featured one of my favorite teams in the state: CB West. While NA and DTW were grabbing headlines at two of the biggest invites of the year, Central Bucks took care of business without their top runner at CRN, beating North in their home invite by a comfortable margin. They added 5 of the top 8 in the JV race including winner Teagan Fortna. CB West doesn't get enough love (and when the team rankings come out, you may be surprised where I slot them).

Even without Rock out front, Brian Mass nearly grabbed the individual title, just barely being edged by Joe Maguire. For Maguire, this is an encouraging bounce back win after a tough run at Briarwood where Mass had him by a decent margin. He also bested Lukas Marcelis and Tucker Desko, a pair of top 15 talents in District One this year. 

Making a big jump back into the spotlight was CB South's Matt Scarpill. The junior finished 4th in 16:16, mixing it up with a variety of Etrain Top 50 types. Scarpill was a super talent as a freshman and after a somewhat disappointing sophomore XC season, quietly made strong improvements on the track. Now, after a slow start to the fall, Scarpill appears to be gaining steam at the right time. He could be a sleeper at Lehigh for Paul Short/Districts because he has some solid track wheels. Neshaminy's soph Rusty Kujdych also continues to improve and could potentially benefit from the move to a flat surface like Lehigh. His 3200m skills last spring were what catapulted him into the discussion of top youngsters to watch in 2015.

Hatboro Horsham has a strong resume of coaching studs and they have had a medalist at states every year for the past decade or so with the exception of 2008. They had at a top 40 finisher that year and two guys sub 16 at districts so it's not like that year was a bust. The point is Horsham knows how to produce talent and has a steak to uphold this year. Watch for Jared Bixler and Matt Allen down the stretch to potentially make a leap. 

I didn't check too carefully in the out of state results, but let me know if I missed any other PA performances. It's been a great season so far and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

And oh yeah, I will be at Paul Short live to cover the action. If you'd like to meet the man behind the blog, it's your chance. Hopefully we can get some excellent coverage and maybe some interviews or videos of some kind as well. 

Updated Etrain Top 50 List: Week 2 (9/28)

By: Garrett Zatlin


·      Bold: Had performances that influenced a strong change in the rankings
·      (#/#): First number indicates how much the individual has moved in the rankings. A plus means they have improved in the rankings. A minus means they have regressed in the rankings. The second number indicates where they were ranked the week before
·      (Wasn’t Ranked): Was not ranked the week before.
50. Amos Bowen, Senior, Wyoming (-18/32)
-Bowen gets the ‘surprise of the week’ title due to his disappointing finish at Roy Griak. The man that was once ranked 32nd in our rankings, finished 52nd overall in the race. There is no doubt that this was an off day for him (which is why he barely stays on the list) but you have to think that there was something more going on there. Like Kevin Dooney, Bowen does prosper more in the post-season so if he does go off the list, he could be back on it come November.

49. Nick Tuck, Senior, Penn (0/49)

48. Jordy Williamsz, Senior, Villanova (0/48)

47. Wes Gallagher, Senior, Mississippi (0/47)

46. Jacob Burcham, Junior, Oklahoma (Wasn’t Ranked)
-Oklahoma surprised a lot of people when they beat out Furman at the Panorama Farms Invite and it seems like Burcham was a big reason for that. Burcham stepped up to finish 4th overall and get another low-stick for the Sooners. With such a deep field, you had to know that someone was going to step up. That said, Burcham wasn’t on my watch list and he showed me why that was a mistake. Hopefully he can stay consistent. I’m interested to see how he handles his next race.

45. Jake Leingang, Junior, Oregon (+1/46)

44. Michael Vennard, Sophomore, Boise State (Wasn’t Ranked)
-With teammate Andrew Rafla now gone, Boise State needed a new front-runner and it seems like they found that front-runner in Vennard. He placed 3rd overall in a very deep field full of experienced runners at Roy Griak. While it’s encouraging, I want to see how he performs in the pressure of a faster race rather than a tactical race (where the pace was above 5 minutes).

43. Dan Lennon, Senior, Syracuse (-4/39)
-I’m a big fan of Lennon, although I was hoping he could stay a little closer to his teammates at Beantown. He placed 10th overall which is still a solid performance, but I thought he could’ve been closer to Hubbard. I’m not looking too heavily into this result, but like Hubbard, I may have slightly over-ranked Lennon.

42. Sam Wharton, Junior, Stanford (+1/43)
-Did not run with team this weekend.

41. Matthew Schwartzer, Senior, Indiana (+1/42)

40. Mike O’Dowd, Senior, Iona (+1/41)

39. Joel Hubbard, Junior, Syracuse (-6/33)
-There is no doubt that Hubbard is talented. However, I think I over-ranked him a bit. He placed 7th at Beantown which is a great performance, but not for someone ranked 33rd in the nation. He’ll keep moving around the list until I can find the right spot for him.

38. Brian Barraza, Junior, Houston (-1/38)
-Nice win for him at the Texas A&M Invite. He won a fast race by four seconds and seems to be in great fitness. There wasn't any truly notable names he beat, so that's why he stays where he's at. Still, I'm eager to see him race against the some of the best in the NCAA. He could be the individual sleeper of 2015.

37. Kevin Dooney, Senior, Yale (-11/26)
-Tough race for Dooney. The Yale Bulldog placed a disappointing 16th at the Panorama Farms invite. While it was a deep field, I expected more from the senior. However, I will say that he typically prospers in the post-season so I won’t drop him completely off the list. Hopefully he can rebound.

36. George Parsons, Junior, NC State (-1/35)

35. Joe Hardy, Sophomore, Wisconsin (-6/29)

34. Brandon Doughty, Senior, Oklahoma (+2/36)
-Doughty made me look smart by placing third at the Panorama Farms Invite. It wasn’t a flashy race by any means, but it’s consistent with his ranking and continues to make him a threat for the regional race. After just missing out on NCAA’s last year, you have to think that he’s hungry to prove himself this season.

33. Fabian Clarkson, Senior, Oklahoma St. (-5/28)

32. MJ Erb, Junior, Mississippi (-1/31)

31. Grant Fisher, Freshman, Stanford (+15/46)
-My apologies Grant Fisher. I’m sorry I ever doubted you. The freshman star ran his first race at the Stanford invite unattached and crushed a fast pace to place second behind McGorty. He’s clearly in excellent shape and you have to expect him to get better as he continues to adjust to the collegiate scene. The catch is that he ran unattached and mentioned in an interview how he still has to talk with his coach about whether or not he will be redshirting this season. If I’m Coach Milt, I’m not redshirting this guy…but that’s just me.

30. Colin Bennie, Sophomore, Syracuse (+12/42)
-It’s only been two races for this guy so far this season, but he has been killing it so far. His win at Harry Groves was no fluke and it showed with his 3rd place finish at Beantown. He beat out his teammate Hehir and was close behind McClintock and Knight who are some of the best in the nation. It looks like Bennie could be the piece of the puzzle for one of the best top three in the nation.   

29. Craig Nowak, Junior, Oklahoma St. (-2/27)
-Ran unattached at the Cowboy Jamboree. Seemed to be using the race as a workout as he placed 18th overall.

28. Chris Walden, Senior, California (-5/23)
-Slightly off day for Walden who dropped to 6th overall at Roy Griak. I feel like this is a guy who thrives off a quicker pace and it doesn’t look like that tactical racing upfront played much to his advantage. He won’t get penalized too hard in the rankings, but he’ll need to step it up next meet.  

27. Jerrell Mock, Sophomore, Colorado St. (+7/34)
26. Jefferson Abbey, Junior, Colorado St. (+4/30)
-What a race for these two! The Colorado St. Rams duo ran an excellent tactical race at Roy Griak by sitting back and letting others do the work. They made their move around 2k to go and started to thin out the pack. Well done by these two on a hot day over some rolling hills. Now I want to see them hold onto a faster pace and see how they do with that.

25. Caleb Rhynard, Senior, Michigan St. (0/25)
-Did not race with his team this weekend.

24. Morgan Pearson, Senior, Colorado (0/24)

23. Lawrence Kipkoech, (Rs.) Freshman, Campbell (Wasn’t Ranked)
Well I have to say, props to one our twitter followers for calling me out. He was adamant about having Kipkoech in the top 50 and sure enough he was right. Kipkoech had an outstanding performance in his XC opener by placing second at the Panorama Farm Invite. He gave top-ranked Peterson a run for his money and finished only a second behind him. Look for Kipkoech to improve in the rankings as the season goes on.

22. Marc Scott, Senior, Tulsa (0/22)

21. Thomas Curtin, Senior, Virginia Tech (Wasn’t Ranked)
-Futsum redshirting opens a spot for the guy I missed in my rankings. Curtin is more of a correction pick.

20. Pierce Murphy, Senior, Colorado (0/20)

19. Joe Rosa, Senior, Stanford (0/19)
-Did not race with his team this weekend.

18. Thomas Awad, Senior, Penn (0/18)

17. Martin Hehir, Senior, Syracuse (-3/14)
-Hehir placed 4th overall behind Knight, McClintock, Bennie at Beantown. He still ran very well, but he moves back a bit considering he wasn’t closer. Maybe his teammates are just that good…

16. Ernest Kibet, Senior, Louisville (+1/17)

15. Edwin Kibichy, Junior, Louisville (+1/16)

14. Connor Winter, Senior, Colorado (+1/15)

13. Erik Peterson, Senior, Butler (0/13)
-While everyone was focused on Kyle King to take the win at Panorama Farms, Peterson sat back and did his thing. He ran an excellent race and was able to hold off a strong Lawrence Kipkoech. Great win for him over a very quality field.

12. Matt McClintock, Senior, Perdue (0/12)
-McClintock had an awesome performance at Beantown by placing second to Knight. I’m not looking too much into that loss because of how dominant Knight looked. Great running overall, but now I want to see him get a win over a big name in his region (Great Lakes) before he moves up or down in the rankings.

11. Justyn Knight, Sophomore, Syracuse (+10/21)
-Knight had an outstanding performance at Beantown where he beat out established All-Americans Martin Hehir and Matt McClintock to get the win. He’s in outstanding shape right now and this was a good indicator for what’s to come. 

10. Jim Rosa, Senior, Stanford (+1/11)
-Did not race with his team this weekend.

9. Mason Ferlic, Senior, Michigan (+1/10)

8. Sean McGorty, Junior, Stanford (+1/9)
-Won the Stanford Invite in a wicked fast time of 23:07. Great running overall and clearly he’s in shape. He essentially stays where he was last week but I’m eager to see him race the top guys in the nation.

7. Ammar Moussa, Senior, Colorado (+1/8)

6. John Mascari, Senior, Indiana State (+1/7)

5. Malachy Schrobilgen, Junior, Wisconsin (+1/6)

4. Ben Saarel, Junior, Colorado (+1/5)

3. Patrick Tiernan, Junior, Villanova (+1/4)

2. Anthony Rotich, Senior, UTEP (+1/3)

1. Edward Cheserek, Junior, Oregon (0/1)
-With Futsum now redshirting this season, is there anyone that could challenge Ches for the title? My gut says no…
Just Missed
Ben Rainero, Sophomore, Cornell
Jack Goodwin, Florida State
Cerake Geberkidane, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
Jacob Thomson, Sophomore, Kentucky

Who To Watch
-Andrew Marston, Freshman, Villanova*
-Casey Comber, Freshman, Villanova*
-Stanley Linton, Sophomore, Florida State
-Myles Smith, Sophomore, UCLA
-Frankline Tonui, Junior, Arkansas
-Trevor Hopper, Sophomore, Virginia
-Tanner Hinkle, Junior, Furman
*Both are currently running unattached. It is unclear as to whether or not they are redshirting or not.

Kicked Off
Graham Crawford, Senior, NC State (Last ranked 50)
Chartt Miller, Junior, Iona (Last ranked 44)
Kyle King, Senior, Virginia (Last ranked 40)

New Additions
Jacob Burcham, Junior, Oklahoma
Michael Vennard, Sophomore, Boise State
Lawrence Kipkoech, (Rs.) Freshman, Campbell
Thomas Curtin, Senior, Virginia Tech

Biggest Surprise of the Week
Amos Bowen, Senior, Wyoming

MVP of the Week
Justyn Knight, Sophomore, Syracuse

- It’s being reported that Futsum Zienasellassie (NAU) will be redshirting this season. That is why there were a lot of small shifts throughout the rankings. Those small shifts are simply making up for Futsum’s absence.

- Although these three didn’t run this week, Hardy, Clarkson, and Miller got moved in the rankings just because I believe I over-ranked them a bit. There is nothing truly notable there.