Manhattan Invitational - Boys' Meet Preview
The field are set for Saturday's Manhattan Invitational and the they are loaded per usual. Plenty of big names will come from throughout the country to try their hand at Van Cortland Park's 4K course. It should present a good challenge for a few top-ranked PA teams and individuals making the trip to the Bronx.
PA#2 LaSalle College leads the PA's teams in NY. Two weeks ago, LaSalle ran a terrific race at Carlisle and a strong performance on Saturday could jet this squad to the top spot in the state. Evan Addison's individual win at Carlisle proved that he has the ability to hang with top flight runners and look for him to put himself in the mix near the front. The depth after that is also strong, headed by sophomores Vincent Twomey and Ethan Maher.
PA#8 Downingtown West returns this week, hoping to improve on last week's performance, where it took third at the Tennent Invitational. Look for the duo of Payton Sewell and Tyler Rollins for West. A pair of bubble teams, Bishop Shanahan and West Chester Henderson will also look for strong races ahead of the postseason. Phoenixville Area is another team that could make some noise on Saturday.
Individually, PA#1 Rusty Kujdych of Neshaminy is also in the field. He's hit up big meets all throughout PA during his senior season, but he'll go out-of-state and will look to challenge for the win.
PA#6 Josh Hoey of Bishop Shanahan will be worth watching for after a big 15:16 run at Paul Short. He's probably more of an 800m/mile guy, so the drop down in distance could benefit him. Phoenixville's Carlos Shultz has had a great start to his sophomore season, and he'll look to keep it going Saturday. Shultz went 15:21 at Paul Short, so look for the Conestoga transfer to be up there.
West Chester Henderson's Spencer Smucker has been quiet for the first part of this season, but he'll be worth keeping an eye on as well. Along with the aforementioned Addison, Pennsylvania should have a nice group represented near the front pack.
Kujdych is PA's best chance for the title on paper, but Dalton Hengst of McDonogh (MD), who out-dueled him at Paul Short with a 14:57, is the overall favorite. Mason Gatewood (Saint Anthony's, NY), Silas Derfel (Ithaca, NY), Charles Hicks (Bolles, FL), Brian Hill (Christian Brothers Academy, NJ), and Geoff Howles (Fayetteville-Manlius, NY) are among the others with legitimate claims to the top spot on Saturday.
PA#6 Boyertown will be one of the favorites in the Varsity C race. MileSplit NY's Kyle Brazeil predicts that Boyertown will be in the mix along with a trio of New York stalwarts Lowell, Iona Prep, and Pearl River. Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy is also in the C race.
In the Varsity B race, look for Taylor Allderdice. The District 8 favorites will get one last invite in before their district meet next week. The duo of Tavonne Davis and Ethan Hermann have proven to be one of the state's better 1-2 punches. Reading is also entered in B.
Upper Dublin takes on the Varsity A race. Ben Brugger will lead the Cardinals into Saturday and should have a shot at a high finish there. Saint Joseph's Prep, a squad looking to get District 12's second state qualifying spot this year, is the only PA squad in the Varsity E race. Roman Catholic (Varsity F) and South Western (Varsity G) are also making the trek to the Bronx.