Team Breakdown: PIAA District 3 Girls

D3-AAA Girls - Team Breakdown

2016 was a banner year for Manheim Township, as the squad went undefeated through the District 3 Championships before taking tenth at states. But that could be just an appetizer to the kind of season we'll see this fall out of MTXC. 

Manheim Township brings back its entire top five from last season. The D3-AAA champs had a 1-5 gap of just 32 seconds at districts. Leah Sassaman, Kira Jenkins, and Ava Pasewicz led the way for this squad and they'll look to do the same this season. Cassandra Wilk and Samantha Side will also be valuable parts of that pack. MT will want to sure up the backend of its varsity squad in case someone has an off day, but look for this team to run the table in central PA this spring, similar to last fall, and try and make a run at a high finish in Hershey

There will be plenty of challengers, though, as District 3 has a nice crop of teams that should make plenty of noise on the state scene. Wilson, the 2015 district champs and 2016 runners-up, will bring a solid team to the line. While it loses Alison Willingmyre, Wilson had some talented freshmen last season with Bryn Underwood, Talia Spillerman, and Emily Velez. The best may be Reagan Underwood, who ran sparingly in XC last fall, but clocked a 10:33.05 on the track over 3200 meters during the spring, which earned her third in the state.

Chambersburg was third in 2016 and also returns a strong group of girls. Abby Yourkavitch will contend for an individual title, and Kaylee Mowery is a strong No. 2 runner. If some runners can move up in the field, Chambersburg can be a serious contender here. Carlisle grabbed the fourth state qualifying spot last year, and should be in the hunt again this year for one of the four spots. Meg Lebo was 36th at states, and she'll be one of the Herd's leaders this season.

Photo by Don Rich

Hershey was a solid team last year, but it just missed out on a spot in states. It loses Taylor Mortensen, but brings back Andrea Demko and three others this season. Hershey will try and reverse its fortune this time around. Dallastown was also in the mix for a state spot, but wound up sixth at districts last year. With Emily Schuler, one of the state's top rising sophomores, expect D'Town to contend for a team spot this fall.

Ephrata was second to Manheim Township in the L-L League and sixth at districts last year. Five of seven return and, if it can move some girls up in the field, we could see another good run from this group. Rising sophomore Mary Campbell and Nadine Eichenlaup were state qualifiers for Ephrata last fall. Another team to lookout for is JP McCaskey. It was eighth at districts last year, but six of seven are back and this is a hungry group that will have five seniors on the varsity team. Lianna Tirado and Isabella Fife make for a good 1-2 punch.