Photo by Phil Grove
PIAA Class AAA
Individuals - Savchik Primed For XC Gold
The PIAA AAA state champ and two-time NXR Northeast champion Aislinn Devlin will head north to Harvard, but there are still tons of names to watch. This year, seniors could rule the season.
The clear favorite is Clara Savchik of North Allegheny. Savchik was a very close second to Devlin at states and followed it up in the spring with a near state meet record in the 3200 meters, running 10:21. She just keeps getting better with each passing season and may not be stopped in 2017.
Abington Heights' Katie Dammer is the next best finisher at states last year. She was sixth last fall at states and also ran a 1600 meter PR of 4:48 this past spring. Cocalico's Jamie Zamrin, North Penn's Ariana Gardizy, and Chambersburg's Abby Yourkavitch have all improved over the years and earned top ten finishes at states last fall.
Certainly, the door is always open for an underclassmen to challenge these talented seniors. Rising sophomores Emily Schuler of Dallastown and Reagan Underwood of Wilson should mix it up near the front of packs this fall. With an abundance of talent in AAA, the chance for a big improvement from someone else is always possible.
Teams - Oakland Catholic Loses #1, But Still May Be Team To Beat
Cardinal O'Hara put it all together on the right day, capturing the AAA team title. They return five of seven from last year's state title team, but there was a significant gap after their top six. That could leave the door open for a new champion.
Oakland Catholic spent much of last year as PA#1, but wound up second to O'Hara at states. They lose top girl Lauren Finikiotis, but they do return their two through six runners, led by Hannah Schupansky, a much-improved talent.
Finding depth will be a challenge for virtually every team for next year. However, if they can find the pieces, look for Perkiomen Valley (third in 2016), State College Area (fourth in 2016), North Penn (fifth in 2016), and Manheim Township (tenth in 2016) to battle for the top crown.
Teams like North Allegheny, Wilson, Chambersburg, Fox Chapel, and Owen J. Roberts have a healthy group of returners that could surprise some folks come November.