We’ve taken care of the big three, so now let’s talk about the little guys. Lots of talented programs in other districts who deserve a shout out, but I tried to limit it to squads with top 5-10 potential in the state so that the post didn’t get incredibly long. I apologize in advance if classifications or state qualifying #s have been changed without me knowing. If they have, hit us up with a link and I’ll be sure to update my files.
Jenkintown (1st D1, 6th States)
Jack Miller, Jr (2) 16:26/4:42
Josh Jackson, Sr (3) 16:59/10:14/4:37
Pat Wagner, Jr 17:49
Charlie Mangan, Sr (9) 18:23/2:07
Eli Kravinski, Sr (13) 18:53
Caleb Limmer, Sr 19:03
District 1 A really excelled last year at the state championships. They had two top 11 individual finishers and their team champs, Jenkintown, placed 6th overall. This year, Jenkintown will look to duplicate the feat, returning their top 2 medalists and a solid pack behind them. They can definitely be a top 5 team in the state this upcoming season, but they will need to improve the pack and replenish the gap at the #3 spot left by the graduation of Jamail Kahn.
Meanwhile, Dock Mennonite returns their entire top 5 including defending district champion Tim Kennel. They will need to improve their back end depth if they are going to compete with Jenkintown. At the very least, they should provide good motivation for Jenkintown to keep focused this season. If things break right, they could be the team heading to Hershey hoping to crack the top 5.
Abington Heights (1st D2, 19th States)
Dan Uhranowsky, Sr (3) 16:55/4:22/1:58
Kyle Burke, Sr (1) 16:45/9:41/4:20
Ryan Siebecker, Jr (11) 18:04/10:48
Adam Traweek, Sr (18) 18:30
Ethan Mattox, Jr (9) 18:00
Thomas Kerrigan, Sr (17) 18:29
Stephen Haggerty, Jr 10:52
The boys from Abington Heights are getting a nice bit of hype right now and they deserve it. The often overlooked District 2 scene has produced its fair share of medalists and top teams, including a 6th place squad back in 2010. Abington Heights returns their top 2 runners who are coming off terrific track seasons and then bring back a good pack behind them. However, I’m not yet convinced they are the best team in their own district – Wallenpaupack returns their top 5 and could potentially add Tyler Wirth to the equation (based on literally no evidence, I think we will see him on the trails this year). I’m a big fan of the 1-2 punch for Abington Heights and honestly believe one of those top two will finish as a state medalist in the fall (currently betting on Burke), but this district will be no walkover. At least one of their 3-5 guys is going to have to make a big step forward if this team wants to break into the top 10-12 in AAA.
Dallas (1st D2, 1st States)
Jack Zardecki, Sr (2) 16:14/9:22
Josh Wyandt, Sr (19) 16:53/10:23/4:37
Adam Borton, Sr (13) 16:58/4:45/2:03
Mitchell Rome, Jr (6) 16:43/10:01
Steven Postupak, Jr (15) 17:18
Josh Jarden, Sr (16) 17:20
There will be plenty of time to talk about Dallas during the season. This is the culmination of a three (arguably four) year run of excellence that could lead to 3 straight titles. They bring basically everybody back (although shout out to Jason Culp who was a critical piece of their success) and it seems like everyone is on the rise after a strong track season. They still aren’t a lock (York Suburban looks like they will be great again), but they are certainly the favorites for a 3 peat.
Holy Reedemer (2nd D2, 10th States)
Bryce Zapusek, Jr (7) 16:47/10:26
Lucas Volpetti, Jr (9) 16:55/4:35
Scott Williams, Sr (27) 17:48/4:46
Dominic Capaci, Jr (23) 17:37/2:00
George Strish, Jr (47) 18:31/10:47
Connor Stevens, Sr 18:30/10:31
Nick Pikul, So 18:44
I’m a big fan of this Holy Redeemer squad. I think District 2 is the best individual district in in AA and they return two guys who were top 10 last year, including near state medal Bryce Zapusek. On the track, HR ran 8:02 in the 4x8 for 4th at states with a relay that appeared to include both stand out sophomores Lucas Volpetti and Dominic Capaci. Those three juniors should create a nice core to go alongside Scott Williams. I expect this team to return to the state championships for a second straight year. That being said, teams like Tunkhannock (2013 state champs), Berwick (barely lost out on the last spot to Redeemer last year) and Scranton Prep (a powerhouse) will be lurking.
Montrose (1st D2, 5th States)
Brandon Curely, Sr (2) 4:33/16:48/15:56 (3 Mile)
Max Brewer, Jr (11) 17:49/10:38
Liam Mead, Jr (8) 17:22/4:41/10:54
Jerome Washo, Sr (10) 17:31
Eric Bixby, Jr 17:48
Colin Spellman, Jr 17:51
Nick Coy, So 18:18/10:41
I was on the Montrose bandwagon big time last year. I honestly believed they could have given Winchester Thurston a run for their money if they raced perfectly and the title favorites faltered. However, Montrose had a couple missteps and had to settle for a very closely fought 5th place finish. Still a fantastic result, but perhaps leaving a sour taste in their mouth as they were just 29 points out of the medals. This year, Montrose returns four guys from that squad (although they lose perhaps their best two) who are hungry and determined to improve on last season’s result. In a perfect scenario, Brewer and Mead can step right into the spots their brothers graduated from and they can pull from one of the deepest JV squads in A to reload the back part of their varsity. I still these guys as contenders for team medals.
Elk Lake (2nd D2)
Cody Oswald, Sr (5) 16:56/50.86
Peyton Jones, Jr (6) 17:11/10:19
Brett Carney, Sr (23) 18:14
Devin Bennett, Jr (24) 19:05
Kale Decker, Jr (39) 19:55
David Lamoreaux, Jr 19:12
Elk Lake is an excellent program that has produced state championship level teams year in and year out. But they get a tough draw against Montrose. With only one spot up for grabs, Elk Lake is going to have to bring their “A” game to knock off the defending champions. Cody Oswald and Peyton Jones are great (42nd and 41st at states) and I think one of them could break out and become a medalist. They have a solid pack behind them, but will need to be better than solid to topple Montrose.
NE Bradford (1st D4, 4th States)
Zak Smith, Jr (6) 17:21
Nate Mosier, Sr (10) 17:44/10:34
Aaron Boss, Sr (34) 18:50/17:54 (3 Mile)
Tyler Devonshire, Sr 18:30/17:29 (3 Mile)
Destine Moore, Jr (15) 18:17/17:26 (3 Mile)
Dusty Cook, Jr 19:08
Northeast Bradford has owned the A District 4 classification since it was created. In 2012 they won the team title and every year since they’ve been hovering around the conversation. Last year, they took 4th overall with two state medalists. Those medalists are gone as is #4 runner Austin Senn-Bishop, but there are enough names still around to indicate Bradford will still be a tough test. Zak Smith really came on strong at the end of last season and I like his potential to jump into the top 25 this year. After that, it’s a strong group with a nice pack. I’ve seen this team win with pack running and front running before so it’s hard to doubt them, but they will need bring their “A” game to stay ahead of the hungry team behind them.
Southern Columbia (2nd D4)
Ethan Knoebel, Jr (3) 16:25/4:27y/2:00
Nicholas Kuzo, Sr (4) 17:29
Jacob Petro, Jr (13) 17:30
Reese Houseknecht, Jr (20) 17:42
Brady Reese, So (23) 18:06/10:30
Eli Yemzow, Sr (38) 19:15
Southern Columbia is a great squad that, unfortunately, had to stay home last year during state weekend. This squad had the potential to be a top 5 team last year considering they bested Jenkintown, Cranberry, Elk Lake and Penns Valley at the Foundation Invite. But a tough match up with NEB left most of the squad home besides their excellent 1-2 punch of Ethan Knoebel and Nick Kuzo. Knoebel is coming off a terrific track season and entering his junior year. That could mean he becomes a superstar. Brady Reese, a rising sophomore with big talent, is a name to watch as well. I think he could make a jump.
This match up should be one of the most exciting of district week. Whichever teams wins will be a must watch at states.
Milton Area (1st D4, 14th States)
Tyler Leeser, Sr (2) 16:39/9:37/4:16/1:55
Seth Kendall, Sr (4) 17:10/2:03
Kellan Guinn-Bailey, Jr (9) 17:43/10:42
Tanner Walter, So (27) 18:13/10:29
Nick Doresky, Sr (18) 17:40/10:15
Colton Aikey, Sr (32) 18:07
Noah Stamm, Sr (58) 19:31
Colton Loreman, So 10:32
I like this Milton squad. I think they got strong experience last year building confidence on the Hershey course on two occasions. They ran the foundation meet there in September and averaged 18:10 for 13th place. When they returned in November, they finished 14th overall with an average of 18:02. That improvement curve was in line with state runner-ups York Suburban and better than some of the other top 10 teams. Tyler Leeser has made the jump from great to amazing in the past year and he will hopefully be an inspiration and motivator for the guys behind him. Seth Kendall has the potential to be a great #2 and really came on strong toward the end of the year. If he figures out the Hershey hills this year, he could be a top 40 guy and really transform this team.
Others: Loyalsock (4th D10) returns entire top 7 including Quinn Serfass (defending champ) and Ryan Sullivan (multi-time state qualifier). Will potentially have 6 seniors in top 7, but will need to develop pack. Rising sophomore Alex Reed could be one to watch. Warrior Run (6th D10) returns entire top 7 including 3 freshman and 2 sophomores. Warrior Run also had the top finisher in the Lewisburg Middle School Classic in Caden Dufrene. On the track, they placed 8th in the state running 8:04 for the 4x8 last spring. You can never count Lewisburg (2nd D10) although they lose a lot of firepower.
Penns Valley (1st D6, 9th States)
Chris Colwell, Sr (1) 16:41/10:11/4:42
Mark Bierly, Sr (2) 16:58/10:23
Sam Gray, Sr (6) 17:26/10:23/4:37
Charlie Romig, Sr (15) 17:55
Haden Stamm, Sr (26) 18:36
Everett VanHeyst, Jr (85) 20:37
I’m high on Penns Valley going into this year. It’s always tough to knock off the traditional powerhouses at the top of the A standings, but Penns Valley has been steadily climbing the latter towards elite status over the past three seasons. They cracked the top 10 last year and even got a state medalist in Chris Colwell. I think their top 3 is excellent, definitely good enough to be a top 5 team in the state. The pressure will be on the #4 and especially #5 spot. These guys are all seniors who have grown together and chased this dream. It would be cool to see that journey end with some team medals.
Others: Purchase Line returns their top two from a state qualifying team last year and is coming off a track season that included an 8:03 run in the 4x800. Micah Kurka and Alex Boring lead that squad along with rising sophomore Hunter Antisdel. Kurka was 48th at states a year ago.
Central Cambria (1st D6, 16th States)
Ohm Vyas, Jr (4) 17:07/10:38
Nate Kuntz, So (6) 17:08
Duncan Lambie, Jr (8) 17:31
Tyler Wilson, Sr (23) 17:11/10:26/4:43
Zach Brandis, So (11) 16:57/10:39
Alex Jeffers, Sr (18) 18:01
Ike Haycisak, So 18:25
Central Cambria was a fascinating team prior to the state meet last year after dominating the District 6 championships with a young core and a tight spread. However, they had trouble translating that to the state finals and finished just 16th. This year, they bring back almost everyone including two rising sophomores and two rising juniors. They have 4 guys back who were top 11 in the district last year before even starting their junior season. I want to see this pack in action before I jump though too far up my theoretical rankings, but I’m confident this squad will continue to improve. Really, I’d just like to see one of their guys break out and hit another level as a top 50 type individual. That will transform this unit into something special.
State College (1st D6, 7th States)
Owen Isham, Jr (3) 16:25/9:51
Sam Horn, Sr (11) 17:40/10:29
Joe Messner, Jr 17:45/10:48
Mitchell Etter, Sr 16:44/9:27/4:34
It’s hard to underestimate State College. They were a top 5 team in the state in 2013 and, when they looked fairly average at times, came through with a clutch run at states to take 7th last year. With 3 top 10 finishes in 4 years (with that non-top 10 finish at 11th), this team has proven they are force to be reckoned with. But, they took a sizable hit to graduation for a second straight season with 4 of their top 6 and two of their very good top 3 coming off the board. Owen Isham and a healthy Mitchell Etter will fill the front-running void quite nicely, but the pack will need to be strong if State College is going to hold on to a top 10 team spot at states.
Mifflin County (2nd D6)
Chayce Macknair, Jr (4) 16:41/9:33/4:23
Chase Sheaffer, So (6) 16:59
Seth Phillips, Jr (7) 16:55/1:55
Dylan Unger, Sr (15) 17:43/10:35
Garren Wolfgang, Sr (17) 17:07/1:59
State College has emerged as the power in this district, taking the mantle from Altoona. However, like all great dynasties, there is always a challenger waiting to topple them. This year, it looks like it will be Mifflin County. MC returns three sub 17 guys and two breakout stars in Chayce Macknair and Seth Phillips. Those two both qualified for states individually on the track and really impressed me. This squad is still on the younger side (top 3 are juniors and a soph), but they can’t wait around for the chance to seize the district title. The key will be seniors Unger and Wolfgang. If Wolfgang can become a consistent sub 17 guy, I think Mifflin County is going to be special.
Elk County Catholic (1st D9, 2nd States)
Ben Hoffman, So 17:15/16:17 (3 Mile)/10:00/4:43
Matt Dippold, Sr 17:20/16:13 (3 Mile)/9:53/4:38
Isaac Wortman, So 17:20/16:18 (3 Mile)
Logan Hoffman, Sr 16:56/15:49 (3 Mile)/10:26/4:40
Sam Wolfe, Sr 19:38/10:33
Jacob Carnovale, Jr 11:02/4:45
Elk County Catholic held on over the final mile in a hotly contested battle for 2nd in the state last year. Ultimately, it was a big move from their freshman Ben Hoffman that helped them hold off 4x8 powerhouse Seneca. Now Hoffman will have to make the jump from pack guy to potential #1 low stick as Zach Wortman graduates. The rest of the team’s scoring 5 will return and has the potential to be really good yet again. Maybe even state championship level good. I think each member of their top 4 has the chance to be a medalist by seasons end. Logan Hoffman has run 15:49 for 3 miles and was 28th at 2 miles at last year’s championships. He is their #4 returner. This team just needs to develop a #5 who can deliver them a strong performance and keep their score from blowing up. They have a couple interesting JV guys in Sam Wolfe and Jacob Carnovale who could be names to watch this season. I’m very high on this team for 2017.
Smethport (3rd D9)
Christian Tanner, Jr (5) 16:49/15:59 (3 Mile)/4:36/2:01
Darion Gregory, Jr (6) 17:14/10:12/4:46/16:25 (3 Mile)
Eric Szarowicz, Jr (43) 18:58
Ethan Nannen, So (48) 19:05/18:03 (3 Mile)
Smethport is a fun team. They are very young with a projected top four that includes only rising juniors and a sophomore, but they have two outstanding front runners in Tanner and Gregory. Those guys will be the 2 to beat at Districts next year as the top names graduate. Can this squad develop the back end of their line-up enough to hold off Kane and Cranberry. If they do, they could have a very similar finish to Cranberry’s 2016 team that took 8th in A.
Others: Kane returns their entire top 6 from last year’s championships. They will need to establish a front runner (their top guy, Shaw, was just 19th overall last year), but they have a couple seniors and some young guns with potential to improve. Kane was 4th overall last year and will be hoping to plunge into that top 2 in this strong district.
Punxsutawney (1st D9, 17th States)
Owen Bartlebaugh, So (2) 17:44/10:36/4:48
Ethan Brentham, Jr (1) 17:36/10:21/4:47
Corbin Heitzenrater, So (11) 18:55
Liam Storms, Sr (15) 19:17
Ethan May, Jr (20) 19:23/11:16
Matt Wehrle, Sr 1:59/4:51
Bradford (2nd D9)
Vinnie Bizzarro, Jr (4) 17:06/2:04
Cade Hayden, Sr (5) 17:26/10:51
Logan Caruso, Sr (6) 16:55/9:52/4:29
Andrew Kraft, So (7) 17:53/10:48
J. Daniel Fedak, Jr (14) 18:53/17:48 (3 Mile)
David Allen, Jr (17) 19:36/18:14 (3 Mile)
Dominic Cary, So 19:30
Tyler Kraft, So 2:06
The District 9 AA battle should come down to two very familiar teams. Punxsutawney enters as the defending champions. They are led by individual champ Ethan Brentham and break out freshman performer Owen Bartlebaugh. Those two make for a terrific 1-2 punch. After that, the pack will need to continue to progress, but the pieces are there. It will be interesting to see if Matt Wehrle, who ran 1:59 last spring, comes out for the XC team and gives them a lift in their scoring 5.
Punxsutawney’s old rival Bradford will be ready for the challenge. They took 4th through 7th last year with three returners. They return their entire top 7 and are hungry to reclaim the district title. You have to like this pack and you certainly have to be excited about the prospect of two time XC district champ Logan Caruso returning to full health. He started to hit his stride toward the end of outdoors and could be a real challenge for the Groundhogs’ top 2.
Harbor Creek (1st D10, 4th States)
Ryan Stravaggi, Jr (2) 16:23/4:26
Aiden Weber, Jr (3) 16:26/10:03
Christian Babo, Sr (8) 16:37
Nolan Weber, So (38) 18:13
Nate Dougan, Sr (70) 17:48/10:37
Caleb Mandel, Jr 18:14/4:49
Harbor Creek was an incredibly interesting team last year. They have 3 state medalists and 4 top 50 finishers, a truly elite group of runners. However, they had to settle for 4th at states as they ran into some terrific teams at the front end and were edged out via the #5 spot against others. It could potentially be a similar story this year for the district champs. They return all 3 of those medalists (two of which were sophomores) and have a crop of potential talents to give them a lift on the back end of the scorers. I think Noal Weber could be quite strong this year. He was 38th in the loaded D10 as just a freshman and helped the team clinch their District 10 with his performance. He should really benefit from an extra year of training and experience, especially on those Hershey hills.
I think this team has all the pieces to contend for the top 5 again. They may even be better in 2017 then they were in 2016. However, they are peaking at the wrong time. District 10 AA is absolutely loaded as a ton of teams return a lot of talent. And then forecasting ahead to states, essentially all the top programs return 4 or 5 guys who are doing incredible running. Let’s see how Harbor Creek handles the pressure of repeating their championship efforts.
General McLane (2nd D10, 6th States)
Erik Andrzejewski, Jr (4) 16:56/9:41/4:31
Nate Price, Jr (6) 16:43/9:38/4:28
Simon Zehr, Jr (23) 17:46
Nick Halmi, Jr (60) 17:56
Gotta say, General McLane made me a fan last year. They did some clutch running, took down some big scalps and ended up going on to take 6th at states. Their top two, Erik Andrzejewski and Nate Price, are rising juniors with a ton of talent. I think these two have a ton of potential (they are just stuck in a loaded class that also includes the Harbor Creek 1-2 and Jonah Powell … and that’s just in their district). If General McLane wants to repeat their incredible stretch run in 2017, they will need to find guys behind those 2 that can make an impact. Two other rising juniors in Simon Zehr and Nick Halmi will be tasked with the job.
Grove City (3rd D10)
Tyler Quinn, Sr (15) 17:34
Jonah Powell, Jr (17) 16:14/4:22/9:49/2:00
Mason Murray, So (21) 17:50
Luke Owrey, Jr (25) 17:34/10:04/4:45
Joe Somora, So 17:58
Ben Jones, Sr 4:41/10:19/18:30
Grove City is a terrific program with a long history of success. But last year the powerhouse was stunned in the District qualifiers, taking 3rd place behind General McLane and having to stay home from the state championships. The good news? The top 4 guys at districts were all returners and pretty much all had strong days for themselves at districts. Jonah Powell is a star and although he had a hiccup last year, should be back with a vengeance this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the individual district and state champion this fall considering his progress on the track and his XC credentials to date. I also like some of their up and coming talent. Luke Owrey looked very strong as a sophomore last year and Ben Jones showed consistent improvement during the spring. I’m expecting this team to rally together a redemption squad and get back to states where they have been 5th, 2nd, 5th and 2nd in the years before last.
Fairview (4th D10)
Jamison Cook, Jr (12) 16:54
Jerrod Nelson, Sr (13) 17:32/10:14/4:48
Cole Pollock, Sr (33) 17:58
Max Myers, Jr (36) 18:32
Jacob Shultz, Sr (37) 18:28
Wes Good, Jr (55) 19:01
Tim Kill, Jr (77) 18:38
I wanted to give Fairview a quick shout out. They’ve got a lot of talent coming back, a strong pack and a potential breakout star or two out front. They will have some work to do if they are going to catch any of the schools in the top 3, but we saw an upset last year so I don’t think we should count them out. If they do advance, I think we have seen enough evidence the past few years that the top schools in District 10 are top 10 teams in the state, knocking on the door of top 5 if they peak right.
Seneca (1st D10, 3rd States)
Robert Stepnowski, Sr (20) 17:46/10:35
Jake Schneider, Jr (29) 17:36/2:03
Brock Smith, So (36) 17:46/10:30
Nick Post, Sr (31) 17:38/10:31
Alex Hopson, So 19:09
Matt Zajac, So 19:16
Seneca has cemented themselves as a top 10 program in the state over the past 4 seasons. Of course, that was in large part thanks to the now graduated Myers twins who have been elite athletes since their arrival at the school. With Myers, Myers and Hanes out the door, it’s finally time for the next generation to rise to the occasion and try and keep Seneca’s title in house. It won’t be easy, but they return a crop of four guys who seem poised to carry on the legacy. Schneider likely learned a lot from his training with the 4x8 crew this past spring and is coming off a pretty nice season for himself. Stepnowski, rising sophomore Brock Smith and Nick Post all have personal bests that indicate they can be top 15-20 guys in the district this fall. But is that enough? D10 A has consistently produced top 10 teams and has had individual title contenders as well. I’d say Seneca is still among the favorites, but it’s going to be crowded at the top.
Reynolds (5th D10)
Troy Hart, So (16) 17:33/10:21
Dylan Forrester, Sr (24) 16:59/2:03
Garrett Duffy, Sr (32) 18:27
Corey Thompson, Sr (39) 18:29
Adam Wilcox, So (66) 18:36
Nick Gill, Sr (106) 18:58
This Reynolds team was very solid last year and return their core for ‘17. Troy Hart was terrific as a freshman last year. I think Dylan Forrester could be a top 10 guy this season as well. They are built a lot like Seneca with a nice pack and some strong potential, but they will need to be better than that if they want a state spot. Watch for Adam Wilcox this year as a sleeper to emerge as a key piece for this squad.
Lakeview (9th D10)
Zac Tingley, Sr (4) 16:33/10:17/1:59
Carson Kyko, So (51) 18:45
Tyler Lightcap, Sr (57) 19:28
Logan Hogue, Jr (63) 17:48/10:29
Joe Grim, Jr (65) 18:54
Zac Tingley is an excellent runner who has program changing potential. When you have a guy of his caliber leading the way and inspiring his teammates, that can left your school to the next level. He will provide the low stick potential and the rest of this top 5 will just need to fill in the pieces, racing with essentially a man advantage. The pack will have to get better (they were just 9th last year), but I think they definitely can. Keep an eye on Logan Hogue who I think may end up being one of the best #2 runners in the district.
Others: Cochranton (7th D10) returns their entire top 7 including last year’s 8th place finisher Noah Bernarding. What makes this team a must watch is the fact that their returners are all either rising sophomores or rising juniors. That could mean this team has big upside. Even with that young core, Cochranton had 4 guys under 17:45 at Sharpsville last fall. West Middlesex (2nd D10, 7th States) was a big surprise to me last year when they made states over established powers Mercyhurst and North East. They return a talented big three in Luke Mantzell and the Chlpka boys who will be sophomores and juniors respectively in 2017. Those are their only varsity returners, but they have some younger pieces like Joey Varga who could potentially add another dimension to their line up.
Freshman will likely play a big role in this district (and others). Keep in mind that West Middlesex got a huge boost from their freshman in Mantzell, who they needed to get to states. We can’t predict which freshmen will show up in 2017 (for the most part) so there’s still a lot up in the air, even for the best programs. D10 A should be a wild ride this year.
Notre Dame GP (1st Districts, 9th States)
John Koons, Jr (2) 17:02/16:04 3 Mile
Anthony Pacchioli, Sr (6) 17:05
Charlie Hohl, Sr (17) 17:49/51.51
Sheamus Hammerstone, Sr (13) 17:14/10:16/4:40
Aeron Meilinger, Sr (46) 18:38/17:16 3 Mile
Joe Gubernot, Jr (49) 18:46/11:18
Notre Dame Green Pond had a nice day at states. Their #1 runner, sophomore John Koons, took 25th overall and earned a state medal. Then, thanks to a nice team run, NDGP finished 9th overall in the team standings. Considering they bring back 6 varsity runners (including 4 top 20 finishers from districts), it’s hard not to see them as a potential top 5 team in the state. The x-factor here could be Sheamus Hammerstone. When I look at a team, I usually jump to their top 3 first and Hammerstone could be a great #3 for this school. Another interesting piece is Charlie Hohl who was a 400 meter runner during track but had one of his best races of the year at states on the Hershey hills. It’s a talented bunch.
Parkland (1st D11, 17th States)
Nicholas Bower, Jr (12) 16:37/9:54
Sam Morgan, Sr (3) 16:31/4:21/2:00
Riley Williamson, Jr (8) 1:59/4:33/16:47
Jacob Ringer, Sr (27) 17:18/1:58
Nathan Rode, Sr 17:28/10:15
Parkland knows how to make it to states. They know how to compete for district titles. And so far, they’ve developed a nice group of talent to try and continue their streak of excellence. Sam Morgan, the 3rd place finisher and top returner from districts, is an experienced winner who can lead this squad from the front. Nicholas Bower made big steps in 2016 and broke 10 minutes on the track. Riley Williamson and Jacob Ringer are both sub 2 guys. And we know this team is deep. They tend to show up with an army to XC meets. And yet, in a rare turn, Parkland doesn’t have favorite status for this year’s district championship. Let’s see if they run with a chip on their shoulder this fall.
Southern Lehigh (2nd D11, 18th States)
Colin Cramer, Sr (17) 17:00/9:33/4:36
Raahi Klar-Chaudhari, Sr (16) 16:58/10:29
Thomas Matsumura, Sr (7) 16:44/9:39/4:23
Corey Welsh, Jr (9) 16:47/10:01/4:44
Alex Fillman, Jr (36) 17:55/2:03
Southern Lehigh has emerged as a potential top 10 team in the state. They absolutely stunned me at districts last year with a really impressive bit of pack running. Since then, they’ve continued to put on a show with strong results from Colin Cramer and Thomas Matsumura on the track. That 1-2 punch makes this team dangerous on not just the district level, but also the state level. Lehigh reminds me a bit of the Freedom teams that rose up in District 11 in recent years, riding a nice pack with some talented individuals to a position where they could challenge the best in district and contend for a top 10 spot. Hopefully everyone stays healthy and continues to improve.
Masterman (1st D12, 15th States)
Dan Bici, Sr (2) 17:36/10:01/4:30
Stephen Njiru, Jr (5) 18:53/10:30
Isaac Colon, Sr 19:05/10:28
Noah Bradley, So (11) 19:15
Darren Chen, Sr (9) 19:24
David Lawrence, Sr (4) 18:58/4:55
Masterman is typically dominant on the D12 A stage and with a group of 6 coming back from their state line up, it seems likely they will take gold yet again. But the bigger goal for this squad should be to contend on a state level. Their top 3 is coming along well as Bici had a monster track season while Nijiru and Colon impressed me as well. David Lawerence was a top 4 guy in the district last year so he can clearly be a contributor on a good team. That’s plenty of pieces for Masterman to make a run and get back into the top 10 teams in the state.
LaSalle (1st D12, 5th States)
Vincent Twomey, So (7) 16:59/4:29
Ethan Maher, So (15) 17:18/10:09
Evan Addison, Sr (1) 16:18/4:17y/1:54/9:24/8:46
Sean Egan, Sr 17:38/9:50
Jack Seiberlich, Jr 18:04/4:35y
Matthew Zilligen, Jr 18:00/4:28y
O’Hara (2nd D12, 13th States)
Jack Becker, Sr (12) 16:51/10:04
Tom McNicholas, Sr (27) 17:43/10:09
Josh Hayes, Jr 17:55
Derek Sacks, Sr 18:04/4:48y
LaSalle and O’Hara could be on this list even if you didn’t know any of their returners. The coaching and the sustained excellence have given them the benefit of the doubt. However, both teams will be fighting up-hill battles in 2017. LaSalle lost a ton of seniors including consistent varsity performers like Brendan Price and Stephen Paul. In fact, their only two returners from the 5k at states are rising sophomores. However, they have Evan Addison, defending district champion, to lead the charge and provide a low stick while up and comers Matthew Zilligen and Jack Seiberlich could factor into the varsity equation. LaSalle was pretty darn deep last year and even if most of their core are gone, I trust them to restock.
O’Hara has been one of the best teams in the state for almost a decade, but this year could finally be the one where they take a step back. They graduated arguably their best four runners from 2016 and are running out of links to the O’Hara squads that posted 5 straight top 3 finishes at states from 2010 to 2014. Jack Becker had a strong season last year when he got the chance to be a consistent part of the varsity squad and I like the track season McNicholas put together. But they will need some JV guys to step up like others have before them and make mini leaps to get toward elite status. On this team, it seems very possible. We’ve seen guys like Rob Morro and Gavin Inglis make big leaps to become top 30 types at states and O’Hara has posted 22 top 50 finishers at states since joining the PIAA in 2008 (21 of those have come since 2010) and 14 top 25 finishers (all since 2010). Let’s see if they can build on their legacy and surprise me with a huge 2017 season and a return to the state’s top 10.