PTXC 9 - Boys' Gold Race Preview
- Virtual Meet
- 2016 Individual Champion: Noah Affolder (Carlisle) - 15:58
- 2016 Team Champion: Loudoun Valley (80 points)
PTXC-8 was home to Noah Affolder's debut in a Carlisle top in what was one of 2016's most anticipated season opening 5Ks. Now PTXC-9 will feature Sam Affolder's debut in the gold of Loudoun Valley.
The younger Affolder, who made a big impression in Pennsylvania last season as a sophomore, made the move with his family to Virginia over the summer and he's joined the powerful squad, which is also the alma mater of high school sub-4 miler, Drew Hunter.
Loudoun Valley, the preseason US#1 squad, adds Affolder to a team that hopes to repeat as PTXC champs. Along with Peter Morris (the reigning Virginia 4A state champion) and Colton Bogucki (fourth in VA's 4A last fall), Affolder's new team should have no problem rolling to the win so long as all the big guns toe the line.
Can anyone challenge the LV trio up front? Yes. Neshaminy's Rusty Kujdych (PA#1) has the ability to open up his senior season and plant himself firmly on the national radar with a good race. The PIAA District 1 champ has run 15:19 for 5K and 9:04 for 3,200 meters and can certainly make a run for the win on Saturday.
Photo by Howard Anderson
Another strong PA individual to watch out for is Mechanicsburg's Morgan Cupp (PA#7). The senior was 13th at XC states last fall and is primed for a big season. He'll look to get off to a fast start Saturday. Hershey's Andrew Sullivan is another District 3 runner with his eyes on a high finish this weekend. Loyalsock's Quinn Serfass (PA Bubble) is in the field and enters as the reigning District 4 AA champ. He's once again one to keep an eye on this fall.
Penncrest's Avery Lederer (PA#17) claimed a win at the Northampton last week, narrowly defeating Central Bucks East's David Endres. Both runners return with a deeper field and it will be interesting to see how they fit in at PTXC.
Others to watch for in this field include Dallas' Jack Zardecki (PA#16; winner at Cliff Robbins last weekend), Spring Ford's Shane Ainscoe, and Couderport's Tristan Amell (16:01 at LHU last week). We could also see the XC debut of Wallenpaupack's Tyler Wirth, who ran 4:17 for 1,600 meters, but has never competed in XC before this season. The junior is on the list on entries for Saturday.
While Loudoun Valley are the heavy team favorites, the battle for top PA team will be good. PA#9 Spring Ford will look to start its season off well. The Rams have some solid depth that we should see on display. Among the other District 1 state meet hopefuls in the Gold Race are Boyertown, Central Bucks East, and Penncrest. Reigning AA PA state champs Dallas will be there, as well as D3's Hershey, Cumberland Valley, and Mechanicsburg.
Mendham from New Jersey should be in the mix. Broadneck from Maryland and Danbury from Connecticut should also bring solid teams to the line.
2016 Race Video: