William Tennent Invitational - Meet Preview
Tyler Wirth has wasted little time making an impact on the XC scene. The Wallenpaupack junior took sixth at both PTXC9 and Paul Short, a pair of high-profile invites. Now he'll shoot for his first invitational win on Saturday, after dropping a huge PR of 15:24 at Lehigh this past Friday.
But Wirth will have company up front, even if the defending champion Rusty Kujdych of Neshaminy will not race. The George School's Jeffrey Love will race. He won at Mill Street and then his home invite before placing sixth at Council Rock. He'll get some good competition on Saturday and we'll see how he does.
Downigntown West's Tyler Rollins (PA#19) made a return to the rankings this week after a strong race at Paul Short over the weekend. Rollins and his teammate Payton Sewell both went sub-16 at Lehigh and should factor in on Saturday. Conestoga's Jake Robinson, Central Bucks West's Michael Samson, William Tennent's Sean Rahill, and Manheim Township's Evan Dorenkamp will also fight it out for high finishes.
Downingtown West sits at PA#6 and will be favored to take the team title after placing third at Paul Short this past Friday. It won't be an easy victory, as Twin Valley continues to impress after each meet. TV, led by Chase Knorr and Dylan Servis at Carlisle this past weekend, will figure into the team competition. Central Bucks West, Wallenpaupack, Bensalem, and Hatboro-Horsham should also make an impact.
The girls race figures to be very competitive on Saturday.
Coatesville's Brooke Hutton opened up her season in a big way on Saturday, running 18:23 for tenth at the Carlisle Invitational. The senior will look to keep that momentum rolling into Saturday. Her best challenge will come from PA#18 Dominique Shultz of Conestoga. PA#21 MaryGrace Rittler of Cheltenham is also in the field. She has raced just once this season (at Briarwood), but should be a factor this weekend.
Hutton, Shultz, and Rittler will make up one of the weekend's top matchups.
But the field has plenty of talent outside of those three. Neshaminy's Kaylee McCullough, Penn Charter's Emma Zwall, Conestoga's Nia Goddard, Calvary Christian's Abigail Brown, Council Rock South's Marisa Kilgarriff, Downingtown West's Reagan Flannery and the Lower Merion duo of Sarah Hurst and Eliza Keefe make up a deep group of girls aiming for top ten finishes.
The team favorites come from Central Bucks West, which boasts a pair of top ten individual threats in Piper Wilson and Julia Flood. Those two have paced the Lady Bucks this season, who enter the weekend at PA#4. West was the top PA team at PTXC9, winners at Souderton, and fourth at a loaded Foundation Invite.
Conestoga, a squad with a good shot at one of District 1's state qualifying will be another team to watch. So is Council Rock South. For both of those squads, Saturday will be a good test to see if they can crack into the top ten rankings. Meanwhile, Penn Charter is the top-ranked independent schools' team and is worth keeping an eye on.