A combined 986 boys and girls runners will participate in District Thee cross country championship races Saturday. The six races will be held back at Big Spring High School in the western side of Cumberland County.
Race times are as follows: Girls 1A at 10 a.m., boys 1A 10:45 a.m., girls 2A 11:30 a.m., boys 2A 12:15 p.m., girls 3A 1:15 p.m., boys 3A 2 p.m.
For those making the trip, the district will charge $10 per vehicle with two or more occupants, and $5 for a vehicle with a single occupant.
Of the many runners competing, 245 are from the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Below is a bit of an outlook as to what to expect near the front of the six races, along with a listing of the L-L runners competing in each race.
Class 1A girls, 10 a.m.:
Eleven L-L runners are competing (those from Lancaster Mennonite and Lancaster Catholic). The top 10 finishers in this race will receive medals, and 10 medals to the members of the championship team. State qualifiers will be the top two teams and 10 additional runners.
Lancaster Mennonite junior Claire Thomas had the top time of a 1A runner in last week’s league race, placing 34th in 21:14. A year ago, Thomas placed eighth as a sophomore in the District 3-2A race in what was her first year competing in the sport. She’s again the ringleaders for the Blazers and has a legit shot at a top-five finish in the District 3-1A race, which will feature York Catholic sophomore Madelyn Murphy (York-Adams 1A first place in 19:12) and Kutztown junior Lily Asplundh (24th Berks in 21:47).
L-L runners competing: Lancaster Catholic’s Allie Cellucci, Eden Lin, Maddalena Masciale-Walmer, Kirsten Resch, Giada Stellato, Kyra White and Nora Williams; Lancaster Mennonite’s Claire Hurst, Claire Thomas, Amanda Yoder and Olivia Zook.
Class 1A boys, 10:45 a.m.:
Sixteen L-L runners are set to compete (those from Annville-Cleona and Lancaster Mennonite). The top 10 finishers will receive medals, and 10 medals to the members of the championship team. State qualifiers will be the top two teams and 10 additional runners.
Annville-Cleona placed sixth as a team in last year’s District 3-2A race. The Dutchmen are now in 1A with lots of talent, led by sophomore Landon Hostetter, who had the top time of a 1A runner at last week’s league meet, finishing in 24th place in 17:28. He’ll mix it up with York Catholic junior Mitchell Bradley (York-Adams 1A first place in 17:16) and Tulpehocken runners Allen Ebersole (16th Berks in 17:23) and David Bednarczyk (18th Berks in 17:25).
L-L runners competing: Annville-Cleona’s Matt Clemson, Samuel Domencic, Andrew Dorsey, Oliver Funck, Jared Hostetter, Landon Hostetter, David Moran and Luke Tshudy.
Lancaster Mennonite’s Jared Bowman, Logan Heisey, Ethan Kanagy, Tim Kelly, Remi Mackay, Caleb Metzler, Savier Sumrall and August Stetler.
Class 2A girls, 11:30 a.m.:
Forty-two L-L runners competing. Medals will go to the top 20 finishers, and 10 medals will be awarded to the championship team. State qualifiers are the top three teams and additional 15 runners.
A few freshmen phenoms to keep an eye on here in Pequea Valley’s Aubrey Ressler (placed seventh L-L in 20:03), Donegal’s Molly Myers (ninth L-L in 20:15) and Annville-Cleona’s Mackenzie Stellmach (10th L-L, 20:16). They’ll mix it up with Wyomissing junior Addie Cohen (first place Berks in 19:07), Susquehannock senior Nicole Dauberman (first York-Adams in 19:01), Trinity sophomore Lila Shore (sixth Mid-Penn in 19:38) and Eastern York junior Kaydence Strange (second York-Adams in 19:43).
On the team side, Annville-Cleona won last year’s District 3-1A crown. But that team was led by 2021 District 3-1A champ Braetan Peters, who is now at NCAA Division I Elon (NC) University. And A-C is now up in 2A. Donegal also finished ahead of A-C at last week’s league meet. So the Tribe and the Dutchmen are the L-L’s best hopes at contending for a District 3-2A team crown.
L-L runners competing:
Annville-Cleona’s Cassi Clemson, Nadia Lezon, Madison Long, Emily Maag, Noryan Mitchell, Emilie Stefanchik, Mackenzie Stellmach and Leah Tshudy.
Columbia’s Mallory Conroy
Donegal’s Marleigh Ballard, Kathryn Fernald, Natalie Greiner, Addison Houck, Emma Myers, Molly Myers and Bailey Shoaf.
Elco’s Shawna Donough, Nina Milosevic, Loni Ogunwusi and Isabel Zwally.
Lampeter-Strasburg’s Jenna Guyer, Merin Kauffman, Olivia Magagna, Keira Smecker, Abby Welchans, Jocelyn Wolff and Morgan Wright.
Manheim Central’s Taylor Bruckhart, Alexa Hoffman, Reagan Ibach, Julie Lindberg and Jenna Moffett.
Northern Lebanon’s Alyssa Marlowe.
Octorara’s Victoria Donovan, Jessica Ferrara, Analisa Griffiths, Meghan McGinnis, Elizabeth Novak and Mya Trotty.
Pequea Valley’s Abby Beiler, Aubrey Ressler and Caleigh Vincent.
Class 2A boys, 12:15 p.m.:
Thirty-four L-L runners competing. The top 20 finishers will receive medals, and 10 medals will be awarded to the championship team. State qualifiers will be the top three teams and 15 additional runners.
Last week, Colin Whitaker became the first Lampeter-Strasburg runner in 40 years to win a league cross country crown. The last to do so was Kass Howell, who won the L-L girls race in 1982. Either way, Whitaker became the first L-S boys runner to win a league cross country championship. He could make history again Saturday should he win District Three gold, something no L-S runner has achieved to this point. Whitaker was the District 3-2A runner-up a year ago, when he ran a 15:58 on the Big Spring course, thirteen seconds behind Greencastle-Antrim’s Weber Long, who is now at Wake Forest. Whitaker ran 15:49 to win the league race last week. It was the second-fastest time on the course, since McCaskey’s Nathan Henderson (now at Syracuse) ran a 15:47 at Ephrata in 2015. All that is to say Whitaker is blazing these days.
On the team side, L-S is the defending District 3-2A champ. A year ago, the Pioneers topped Greencastle-Antrim, who is now up in 3A.
Someone to cheer for: Columbia sophomore Matthew McNair. He’s one of three L-L runners competing on their own, with no teammates, on Saturday. A year ago, McNair placed 16th in the District 3-1A race, finishing in 18:36. He ran a 17:18 at last week’s league meet, the fourth 2A runner across the line after L-S runners Whitaker, Ben Devine and Parker Stoner. But McNair is competing up a class this year. An underdog running with bigger dogs.
L-L runners competing:
Columbia’s Matthew McNair
Elco’s Gabe Asper, Landen Brubaker, Wesley Doll and Chad Keller.
Lampeter-Strasburg’s Michael Colosi, Andrew Cramer, Ben Devine, Jacob McClune, Luke Smith, Parker Stoner, Colin Whitaker and Owen Witmer.
Lancaster Catholic’s John Bridgen, Grant Hall, Jack Senkowski and Alexander Sheaffer.
Northern Lebanon’s Kenneth Battistelli, Aidan Bertrand, Joseph Escobales, Luke Hentz, Josiah Kelly, Tucker Reiber, Caleb Sanders and Tyler Shunk.
Octorara’s Aristidis Gourgoulis, Jared Hodorovich, Jack Holub, David Jones, Connor Nuckols, Finley Reynolds, Lucas Thaler and Vincent Thaler.
Pequea Valley’s Cameron Beiler and Hugh Johnson.
Class 3A girls, 1:15 p.m.:
Sixty-four L-L runners competing. Medals will go to the top 20 finishers, and 10 medals awarded to the championship team. State qualifiers will be the top four teams and 20 additional runners.
The first three L-L runners across the endline in last week’s league race finished within seven seconds of each other in first-place Isabella Shertzer (McCaskey), second-place Elena Barrall (Manheim Township) and third-place Gabrielle Thiry (McCaskey). Shertzer won it in 19:26. That L-L trio will join a formidable 3A girls field where the top three Mid-Penn runners and top-two York-Adams runners all finished their respective conference races in 18:45 or faster last week.
On the team side, Manheim Township placed sixth at last year’s District 3-3A race and brought back the majority of their talent from that bunch in 2022 now looking to challenge for district gold.
L-L runners competing:
Cedar Crest’s Maggie Chernich, Sarah Durning, Audrey Fugate, Lizzie Lowe, Maddie Lowe, Eliana Schneider, Grace Tadajewski and Jillian Tobias.
Cocalico’s Nichole Ochs and Paige Reeser.
Conestoga Valley’s Belle Marie Alston, Kylee Antrim, Seana Dougherty and Abigail Phillips.
Elizabethtown’s Jordan DiRisio, Lilah Drager, Ali Fink, Skylar Gubbins, Kendall Hein, Rowan Hess and Jillian Wivell.
Ephrata’s Katie Brass, Sara Brass, Madison Kimmel, Megan Martin, Ella Pfautz and Kayla Reidenbaugh.
Garden Spot’s Julia Hoover.
Hempfield’s Leah Forry, Callie Herr, Ashley Page, Norah Rynier, Roz Scott, Molly Siebert and Ella Wolfe.
JP McCaskey’s Milana Breuninger, Anya Frey, Tessa Locke, Isabella Shertzer, Morgan Stauffer, Gabrielle Thiry and Kamiah Wright.
Manheim Township’s Kaila Atteberry, Elena Barrall, Macyn Fogleman, Ella Himelfarb, Lexie Kauffman, Riley McGahren, Marina Papadimitriou and Ava Shirk.
Penn Manor’s Alyssa Eby and Bethany Hetrick.
Solanco’s Emma Baxter, Daria Neaves, Olivia Singleton and Christine Wagner.
Warwick’s Katie Becker, Sidoney Freeman, Ella Hartel, Emma Johnsen, Leah Richie, Grace Rudder, Lily Sell and Kenzee Wiker.
Class 3A boys, 2 p.m.:
Seventy-eight L-L runners competing. Medals will be awarded to the top 20 finishers will receive medals, and 10 medals will be awarded to the championship team. State qualifiers will be the top five teams and 25 additional runners.
The last L-L runner to win back-to-back District Three gold medals was Annville-Cleona’s Braetan Peters, who did so at the girls 1A level each of the last two years (she’s now competing at NCAA Division I Elon University in North Carolina). The last L-L boys runner to accomplish the feat was Conestoga Valley’s Vince McNally (2006, 2007), who had followed Manheim Township’s Craig Miller (2004, 2005).
It’s worth keeping in mind as Hempfield boys senior Aidan Hodge will be looking to pull off the feat, as he enters as the defending District 3-3A individual champion. No Hempfield runner has before won two district cross country crowns.
He’ll be challenged by Susquehannock senior Matthew O’Brien (last year’s District 3-2A champ who is fresh off winning the York-Adams League crown in a blazing time of 15:36) and Central Dauphin senior Timothy Roden (who placed fourth 12 seconds behind Hodge at last year’s district race and just recently won the Mid-Penn crown in 15:52).
On the team side, the Black Knights are the defending District 3-3A team champ. Manheim Township will likely again challenge Hempfield for the team crown. Hempfield beat the Blue Streaks in the regular season to capture the L-L Section One crown. Ditto for the league championship meet. However, Manheim Township finished 11 points ahead of Hempfield at the PIAA Foundation XC Invitational in Hershey on Sept. 24.
L-L runners competing:
Cedar Crest’s Ben Causak, Anthony Figueroa, Travir Furmanski, Viseth Meng, Jake Perhonitch, Kyle Rauchut, Owen Sparks and Max Wauhop
Conestoga Valley’s Joey Castronova, Timothy Gitonga, Micah Kao, Carson Miller and Josh Yoder.
Donegal’s Cadel Barber, John Hinkle and John Spackman.
Elizabethtown’s Dante Checco, Jaysen Conrad, Ethan Cronin, Dalton Fink, Jackson Kay, Bradley Kreider, Nicholas Mascia and Jack Myers.
Ephrata’s Miles Campbell, Tristan Hart, Cayden Landis and Jack Martin.
Garden Spot’s Alan Krock, Gavin Reimers and Josiah Smucker.
Hempfield’s Joseph Fahrney, Sam Freedman, Aidan Hodge, Isaiah Hollinger, Emerson Long, Sam Meyer and Christopher Titter.
JP McCaskey’s Seth Carter, Henry Clapper, Derek Kendig, Tyran London, Carlos Medina, Sam Richard and Max Wiggins.
Lebanon’s Tyler Long, Brendon Shaak, Gavin Sheetz and Ramon Urena Batista.
Manheim Central’s Carter Bruckhart and Cameron Evans.
Manheim Township’s Breven Baublitz, Dylan DelVecchio, Gunner Geib, Adam Kingston, Luke Papadimitriou, Ethan Peffley, Cole Stevens and Aaron Wood.
Penn Manor’s Chase Bearden, Aidan Gerlach, Jack Hightower, Kaleb Kabakjian, Donovan Landis, Jack Steele, Carter Vinson and Tristen Weaver.
Solanco’s Isaac Esh, James Hartigan, Anthony Solis-Morales and Wyatt Tomison.
Warwick’s Jordan Barge, Rhys Craver, Jake Forgione, Cooper Hollinger, Summit Smoker, Lincoln Weaver and Troy Weidler.