With the District One and District Seven Cheat Sheets already in the books, let’s take a look at your District 3 edition. As a reminder, these are not rankings. It’s just a sheet to remind everyone what some key teams return and give some preliminary thoughts. This is to help each of you come up with your own rankings for the 51-49 team rankings that we will hopefully be throwing together as a team at the end of this month!
Carlisle (2016: 1st, 2015: 3rd)
Jack Wisner, Jr: 16:24 (24), 1:56/4:24y/10:08
Bryce Dunkelberger, Jr: 17:17 (71), 17:15/10:23
Caleb Padgett, Jr: 17:32 (107)
Jacob Morris, Jr: 10:24/17:36
Caleb Van Grouw, Jr: 17:41
Trent Balestri, Jr: 10:11/18:10
Casey Padgett, So: 10:02/19:33
Carlisle was a good team before the Affolders came along, and they will continue to be a good team after they have left. However, it’s an uphill battle for the Herd after losing varsity scorers like Kole and Fiorentino in addition to the Affolders this June. Considering this team wasn’t, on paper, incredibly deep during XC, one might think these guys are in danger of slipping out of the state qualifying picture. However, they return a strong front running presence in Jack Wisner and a ton of juniors right alongside him. They have a really nice crew of guys in the 10:00-10:20 range for 3200 with a number of potential breakout stars who are making the sophomore to junior jump (or freshman to sophomore jump for Casey Padgett). This team has a chance to make a nice run in 2017 and perhaps be back in title contention by 2018.
Lower Dauphin (2016: 2nd, 2015: 9th)
Jared Giannascoli, Sr: 16:04 (8), 15:52/2:01/4:28
Mark Walsh, So: 16:30 (29), 9:59/4:32
Josiah Helmer, Jr: 17:28 (97), 10:04/17:26
Miles Book, Jr: 18:01/4:51
Hunter Lohmann, So: 18:19
Steven Schankweiler, Sr: 2:00/4:30
Like Carlisle a year ago, Lower Dauphin got a big left from a great top 3. While they don’t graduate everyone from that core, losing Kyler Shea and Colton Cassel is a big hit to this team’s foundation. They have been consistent low sticks since their sophomore year. So now this team needs to find a way to replenish their front running while continuing to build up their depth. My guess is Mark Walsh breaks out big time. I could see this guy challenging the 16 minute barrier and competing for a top 50 spot at states as he works with Giannascoli. But after that, they need some guys to step up. Helmer is experienced and has run some nice marks, but a newcomer will have to emerge from off the radar if this team is going to stay in the state qualifying picture.
Mechanicsburg (2016: 3rd, 2015: 12th)
Morgan Cupp, Sr: 15:50 (5), 15:36/9:32/4:23
Brandan Knepper, Jr: 16:36 (32), 9:53
Michael Vigliano, Jr: 17:33 (109), 16:33/4:41
Shay Rounsville, Sr: 17:48 (129), 17:41/2:02
Enoch Marzano, So: 18:23 (193), 18:17
Julian Bosley, Jr: 18:16
Alex Knepper, So: 18:26
Mechanicsburg was one of the pleasant surprises of last season. I was super high on them coming in and this upset special came through at Big Spring, punching a ticket to states with a 3rd place finish. Two of the key pieces to that magical run are gone as Alex Tomasko and Andrew Sulon graduate, but they do have a low stick in Morgan Cupp and a top sleeper pick in Brandan Knepper. Knepper was absolutely killing it toward the end of the season and was a top 80 or so runner in AAA at states. As just a sophomore. Michael Vigliano has also shown flashes of brilliance with a 16:33 PR from Carlisle last year. That’s a nice top 3 if everything comes together, but will they have the depth needed to contend with some of these powerhouse programs. Like many teams at this stage in the game, that’s where the question marks are.
Manheim Central (2016: 4th, 2015: N/A, less than 5 finishers)
David Merkey, Sr: 16;51 (45), 16:36
Carson Hepner, Jr: 17:13 (65), 10:21
Connor Sylvester, So: 18:16 (178)
Isaac Martin, So: 19:00
Luke Weaver, So: 19:19
If Mechanicsburg was a surprise, we need to invent a new word to describe Manheim Central’s rise through the ranks. After not even scoring 5 runners at districts in 2015, MC took home the 4th and final state qualifying spot over powerhouses like Cumberland Valley, Hershey and Hempfield. But they took a huge hit to their front running with 3 of their big 4 graduating. David Merkey is a solid runner (and a clutch performer), but he’s going to need some help this year if Manheim Central wants to repeat their successes of a year ago. The spotlight will shine on three rising sophomores with a lot of potential to grow in this on the rise program.
Cumberland Valley (2016: 5th, 2015: 2nd)
Andrew Brown, Sr: 16:41 (35), 16:15/9:57/4:27
Devon Heisler, Sr: 17:00 (55), 16:45/10:14
Bennett Brown, Sr: 17:21 (79), 17:16/10:14
Caleb Schultz, Sr: 16:49/1:58/4:41
Nick DeMario, Jr: 16:58
Jesse St. Cyr, So: 17:27/10:41
Matt Todd, Jr: 17:30
Even in a season where it seemed bad luck was being tossed on them at every turn, Cumberland Valley still finished the season just 2 points away from a state qualifying appearance. They lose some strong pieces to graduation, including some 16 guys Soliman and Higgins, but they return a deep core of sub 17 runners. Andrew Brown is a terrific runner who has emerged as a top runner in D3 while CV has a nice pack of options to slot in behind him. I expect this school to contend not just for a state qualifying spot this year, but also a district title.
Hershey (2016: 7th, 2015: 6th)
Andrew Sullivan, Sr: 16:12 (11), 4:21/9:35/15:52
Mike Morris, Jr: 16:20 (21)
Casey Sisco, Sr: 17:05 (58), 16:59/10:35
Raphael Abadilla, Sr: 17:25 (92), 16:32/10:13
Gavazzi Patrick, Jr: 18:02 (156), 17:29
Ethan Rogers, So: 17:26/10:31
Luke Sheppard, So: 4:48
Hershey has been knocking on the door of a state qualifying birth the past few seasons, but has not quite been able to put it together at the district meet when the pressure is on. That’s been the story for plenty of other teams in the past and plenty of those other teams ended up pulling through and punching that ticket before all was said and done. This could be the year for Hershey as their top 2 is as good as anybody’s with Andrew Sullivan and Mike Morris ready to lead the way. They also return multiple other sub 17 guys with a couple young sophomores in Rogers and Sheppard who could make noise. Things are looking fairly wide open in District 3 this year. Although it’s very crowded with great teams, few have emerged as truly elite. Hershey could be one of the breakout squads this season if everything clicks.
Hempfield (2016: 8th, 2015: 1st)
Christian Groff, Sr: 16:18 (17), 15:54/4:26
Max Lessans, Sr: 16:30 (30), 16:26/10:02
Ryan Farmer, Sr: 17:09 (63), 16:54/10:07
Justin Rittenhouse, Jr: 17:25
Grayson Dague, So: 17:49
Hempfield won district titles in 2014 and 2015 but was stunned out of the state qualifying picture during a wild 2016 championships. Despite that fact, the top tier program still qualified 3 individuals for the state championships, two of which are returning this fall. Christian Groff and Max Lessans join Ryan Farmer as sub 17 returners. However, Hempfield lost a good chunk of their elite depth to graduation in 2017. That means some JV runners like Justin Rittenhouse will need to step up into the starting five. This is a great program that peaks well and runs clutch. I’m excited to see how they cultivate the back half of their varsity squad as they look for redemption at districts.
Twin Valley (2016: 9th, 2015: 5th)
Chase Knorr, Sr: 16:33 (31), 9:56/4:37
Garrett Knorr, Sr: 16:55 (50), 16:37/10:01/4:39
Griffin Schlegel, So: 16:57 (51), 16:29/10:06
Dylan Servis, Jr: 17:08 (62), 16:34/10:18/4:42i
Trey Hill, Jr: 18:18 (183), 17:18/4:40/2:02i
Nick Mandis, So: 18:18
Jacob Reyher, So: 17:46
Definitely the most intriguing team on the list. Twin Valley is an excellent program that qualified for states in 2013 and 2014. After graduating all of their core, TV almost made it back to states in 2015, taking 5th. What’s been wild about this team is that, despite rarely having an elite front runner, the pack has always lifted this team to excellent results. This year is expected to be now different as they quietly return 4 sub 17 minute runners, a pack of 4:40/10:20 types and some young guys with room to grow. Don’t sleep on Twin Valley to make a run this year.
Some quick hits:
Evan Dorenkamp, Jr: 16:22/4:23y/1:58
Tim Antonacci, Sr: 17:24/10:32
Josh Long, Sr: 17:30
Jarrid McKenzie, Sr: 18:05
Riley Horton, So: 18:18
Gavin Maurer, Sr – 2:01/4:51
Ian Miller, Jr – 4:35/9:44
If Manheim Township can get Ian Miller on the cross country alongside Evan Dorenkamp, this squad will have a very formidable 1-2 punch. They return a lot of key cogs, but they were outside the top 20 overall teams in 2016. I like this team and their sleeper potential, but they won’t start the season super high in any preseason polls.
Adam Wolfe, Sr 16:32/10:08
Jake Barrett, Jr 9:53/16:54
Will Sheffield, So 16:59
Josh Rudd, Sr 10:10/17:10
Noah Bragunier, Sr 17:05/10:25
The always dangerous Cedar Crest squad loses their top dog in Jesse Cruise, but returns 3 sub 17 runners behind him. Jake Barrett had an excellent track season, clocking a 9:53 for 33200 and rising sophomore Will Sheffield is yet another member of the class of 2020 with big upside.
Wilson (4th in 2015, 6th in 2016) is always lurking as a state qualifying contender, but they’ve lost a good chunk of their front running behind super star Jake Underwood. Cocalico returns a nice core of young talent and should add back in Kreider (4:29/9:50/16:39) to the equation in 2017. He’s a real game changing presence from not just a points perspective, but also a training perspective.
York Suburban (2016: 1st, 2015: 1st)
Bryce Ohl, Sr: 16:40 (2), 4:33
Jarrett Raudenski, Jr: 16:40 (3), 4:41/2:00
Josh Kerr, Sr: 17:01 (11), 10:31
Tanner Haynes, Sr: 17:02 (13), 4:42
Scott Curry, Sr: 17:26 (24), 10:32
Andrew Paskey, Jr: 18:00 (49)
There’s not much to say here. York Suburban has won the district title in impressive fashion each of the past three seasons. They’ve been state title contenders, produced state medalists and have been close to unstoppable when everything is clicking. This year should be no different with essentially everyone back from their district title team. It’s about state gold rather than district gold for these guys. They didn’t make huge waves on the track, but that typically hasn’t been their style. The key to making the leap could be Jarrett Raudenski. If he becomes a top 10 guy as a junior like Ohl did last year, Dallas will have their hands full.
Wyomissing (2016: 2nd, 2015: 7th)
Joe Cullen, Sr: 16:35 (1), 1:53/4:13/16:30/9:33
Ben Kuhn, So: 17:18 (20), 9:55/4:38
Ryan Vargo, Jr: 17:37 (30)
Josh Diehl, Jr: 17:54 (45)
Thomas Foster, So: 18:13 (58)
Austin Keim, Sr: 19:32 (129)
Matt Driben, Sr – 17:10/9:53
Wyomissing has been another excellent program, although they’ve seen their biggest gains on the track. In 2015, they had the individual district champ and another state qualifier in Cullen, but finished just 7th with only 5 runners completing the course. This year, it looks like Wyomissing could finally have the depth they need to move from solid district contender to state powerhouse. Cullen is back and obviously an elite talent. They return two sub 10 3200 runners in Kuhn and Driben and then have two more sub 18 guys coming back in Vargo and Diehl. Hard not to like this team’s chances of returning to states. Now, it’s just a matter of how they do when they get there.
Milton Hershey (2016: 3rd, 2015: 5th)
Rafael Mendez, Sr: 17:01 (12), 4:40/16:53
Luis Guyton-Acevedo, Sr: 17:06 (15)
Jake Edwards, Sr: 17:27 (25), 10:46
Gary Waters, Jr: 18:14 (59), 17:33
Andrew Brammer, So: 18:36 (81), 18:11
Jonas Mendez, So: 11:03
Milton Hershey consistently surprises me as a distance program. I expect the sprint success (and they’ve had a ton of that), but this XC program has now produced two top 5 finishes in back to back years. They’ve also absolutely crushed the 4x8 on the track. Hershey returns their top 4 runners from a year ago and seems like a good bet to get back to states. There are some sneaky good teams behind them, but for now it appears the top 3 from a year ago are the favorites to hold their ground.
Trinity (2016: 4th, 2015: 2nd)
Will Bucher, Jr: 17:13 (16), 17:01/4:40
Sam Predmore, Jr: 18:26 (72), 17:52/10:55
Jason Rittman, So: 19:00
Trinity gets a mention as they are always a strong program. They were a surprising 4th last year given their historically excellent performances, but they got some vengeance on the track with an eye-popping 4x800. Losing Matt Geisler will hurt on the track and on the trails, but Will Bucher has grown a lot in the past few seasons under his tutelage. He and Sam Predmore are the only returners from this varsity squad, but those are two strong leaders that could help instill a sense of drive into the next generation at Trinity.
Big Spring (2016: 7th, 2015: 23rd)
Ishmael Kirkwood, Jr: 17:34 (28), 17:31
Connor Greene, Sr: 18:01 (50), 17:58
Jackson Penner, Sr: 18:23 (68)
Ian Ward, So: 18:29 (75), 4:56
Dain Vallie, Jr: 18:31 (78), 18:28
Brennan Flory, Sr: 18:57 (102)
Hunter Rickrode, So: 18:33
Big Spring gets a shout out for going for 23rd to 7th in the standings last year. That’s a huge jump and a big breakthrough for that program. They get a second shout out for bring back all the key pieces of that squad, including borderline state qualifier Ish Kirkwood. Lastly, you have to appreciate the fact that these guys will have home course advantage at Districts. Could they be the surprise team to break up the top 3 from 2016?
Hamburg (2016: 10th, 2015: N/A, less than 5 finishers)
Wyatt Conrad, Sr: 16:59 (9), 10:07
Levi Hayle, Jr: 17:13 (18), 10:09
Seth Boyce, Sr: 17:40 (33), 4:33/10:30
Josh Schreiner, Jr: 19:06 (107)
They return a potentially awesome top 3, but Hamburg will need to bolster their depth if they want to stay in the top 10 of this always improving district. Hamburg didn’t even have 5 finishers in 2015, but emerged as a top 10 team last year. Can they keep the magic going?
Elijah Velazquez, Sr 17:35
TJ Augustine, Sr 17:58/11:18
Liam Savarese, Sr 18:05
Nick Hartz, Sr 18:40
Raphael Forsyth, Sr 19:37
Mason Shirey, So 19:49
Vince Ferrizzi, So 4:48/19:28
Ben Reisenweaver, Sr: 1:59/4:35/16:55
Kyle Livinghouse, Sr: 4:44/18:15
Graham Haupt, So: 19:12
Delanie Heck-Hoppes, Sr: 17:32
Lucas Horrell, Sr: 18:11
Connor Boreky, So: 11:49
There’s a nice group of teams with strong returners. Oley Valley and Schuylkill Valley were two of the top groups last year but there is also ELCO, East Pennsboro and Fleetwood. East Pennsboro has been strong before and has a breakout candidate in Caeden Smith (4:40/10:06). Personally, I really like Fleetwood as a sleeper. They’ve got a nice group of returners, had excellent track results from Jalloh, Strong and Collinge and have, at least on the individual side, had success before with medalist Carl Fortna.
Ultimately, I think last year was a bit of a down year for AA in District 3. It was certainly a strong district, but I suspect it will be quite a bit better in 2017 relative to the rest of the state. That’s going to make it tough for any team to contend unless they are peaking at the right time with no weak links. Let’s see which teams rise to this challenge.
Camp Hill (2016: 1st, 2015: 1st)
Matt Little, Sr: 17:57 (8)
Gus Latorre, Sr: 18:58 (17)
Weston Kemble, Jr: 19:30 (28), 11:00
Thomas Ickowski, So: 19:41 (31), 19:36
Camp Hill has been the power of A for some time now, even grabbing a state title in 2015. This might be the year they fall from their perch atop the district. Although they return a nice group, they did lose Dan Shank and Ian Gabig just one year after losing Blake Behney and Cooper Leslie. Those are four high quality stars that don’t just grow on trees. Matt Little, an experienced champion in his own right, will step into the leadership role and look to bring along the crop of newcomers to Camp Hill’s high standards of excellence.
Tulephocken (2016: 2nd, 2015: 2nd)
Jacob Cox, Sr: 18:22 (11), 17:28/10:15
Patrick Strahan, Jr: 19:20 (22)
John Cox, Sr: 19:22 (23), 19:09
Phillip Rodig, Jr: 19:44 (32)
Christopher Ackerman, Jr: 20:26 (39), 20:15
Josh Straw, So 19:53
Tulephocken has been second to Camp Hill each of the past two seasons and is likely hungry for some revenge. Jacob Cox is back to lead the charge, coming off a nice track season. After that, there’s a nice pack, but Tulephocken will likely need at least one of their runners to step up and become a low 18 minute performer if they want to grab the district title away from their rivals.
Delone Catholic (2016: 3rd, 2015: 3rd)
Adler Brininger, So: 17:50 (5), 10:38
Gabe Hall, Jr: 18:44 (14), 18:11
Shamus Keefe, Sr: 18:49 (15)
Josh Hall, Sr: 19:35 (29), 19:11
Charlie Hoerl, Sr: 19:35 (30)
Connor Phillips, Sr: 20:56 (41), 20:48
Joseph Flake, Sr: 21:11 (43)
Delone Catholic brings back everyone from their 3rd place team including breakout freshman star Adler Brininger. Delone Catholic was actually in position to grab a state qualifying spot at mile 2 of last year’s district championships, but faded a bit down the stretch. This year, I think the relatively young core of Delone Catholic will be ready for the challenges of the final mile and maybe even ready for a district title.
Kutztown (2016: 4th, 2015: 5th)
Michael Hill, Jr: 18:49 (16), 4:50/18:40
Sam Arnold, Sr: 19:08 (18), 19:02
Matt Angstadt, Sr: 19:09 (19), 18:02
Derek Hanna, So: 19:14 (20), 11:15/18:53
Zach Schell, Sr: 19:26 (27)
Alex Lanyi, Sr: 20:15 (38), 20:08
Kutztown is a dangerous team as well, returning their entire top 5 and 6 of their top 7. They had just a 37 second spread last year, easily the best in the field. However, that spread isn’t as powerful without a front runner to pull the back ahead. Michael Hill will be tasked with that job, looking to improve on a strong sophomore season. Also watch for Derek Hanna as a potential breakout performer. He will be a sophomore this fall.
York Catholic (2016: 5th, 2015: 4th)
Evan Schlosser, Sr: 17:26 (4), 17:02
Christian Gervasi, Jr: 17:56 (7)
Peter Zelis, Jr: 19:23 (24)
Luke Motter, Jr: 19:51 (34)
Ryan Corbitt, Jr: 20:04 (36), 19:46
I think Evan Scholosser has a chance to give this team an excellent low stick. He has run 17:02 and is an early favorite for a top 2 finish in the district. Christian Gervasi has also been a consistent, clutch performer in his first two seasons at York. The question becomes, what depth will this squad have? They return their pieces (mostly sophomores last year), but have only had 5 guys finish the course each of the past two seasons. That puts a lot of pressure on this group to have no weak links. If they can overcome that obstacle and all peak at the right time, they will have just as good a chance as anyone to qualify for states.