Team Breakdown: PIAA District 3 Boys

Photo by Ethan Rissell

D3-AAA Boys - Team Breakdown

What a year 2016 was for the District 3 boys. The Affolder brothers' entrance into the district ignited D3 into arguably the state's best. Carlisle turned into one of the state's best and others like Mechanicsburg, Lower Dauphin, and Manheim Central seemed to get better as a result.

But 2016 was also a very senior-heavy year for D3 and after graduations, the district will have a much different look and as we sit here in August, it's going to be a wide open race for the AAA title.

We'll start with Carlisle. The Herd lose its top three with the graduations of XC state champ Noah Affolder and 1600 meter state champ Isaac Kole, as well as the transfer of Sam Affolder to Loudon Valley (Va.). Jack Wisner, Bryce Dunkelberger, and Caleb Padgett return from the 2016 state runners-up. This is a strong program and getting into the top four is still certainly in the cards for Carlisle despite those losses.

Lower Dauphin loses two from its 2016 "Big Three," as well as two others from varsity. Jared Giannascoli is a returning state medalist and will be one to watch this fall, but the rest of the team will need to catch up if the 2016 D3-AAA second place team finishers want a return trip to Hershey.

Mechanicsburg Area was third at districts and 11th at states last fall. It will be without Alex Tomasko and Andrew Sulon this season, but it returns Morgan Cupp, who was 13th individually at states. Mechanicsburg will need to add depth, but look for this team to make some noise in D3 this season as it looks for another berth in the state meet.

Cumberland Valley was just two points off a states spot in D3 as a team last fall. CV loses its two individual state qualifiers last year in Yahya Soliman and Josh Higgins, but brings back some solid talent. Cumberland Valley also does a good job of developing runners and it won't want to experience the same heartbreak as 2016, so look for CV to be in the mix. Andrew Brown will likely lead CV this season.

Another team to watch for is Hershey. Andrew Sullivan and Mike Morris are two very strong returners that led this team to a seventh place finish at districts last season. Twin Valley returns its top three from last fall. The ninth place squad in District 3 from last season has plenty of potential and if it can get runners like Chase Knorr, Garrett Knorr and Griffin Schlegel to move up in the field.

Photo by Dan Beck

Hempfield had a strong start to its season, but wound up eighth in D3 last fall, missing out on states. State medalist Nick Norton graduates, but Hempfield, the 2015 district champs, return Christian Groff and Max Lessans. If they can shake off 2016, this team will be in the mix again this season. Manheim Central, the surprise team from last year that grabbed the fourth state qualifying spot, lose some firepower like the other teams, but you can't count this team out this fall. 

Cedar Crest, which was tenth last year will be without Jesse Cruise, but it could contend if someone breakouts this season. Wilson, like CV, was just off a state qualifying spot last year. They typically have a strong team and could contend this season.