The opening weekend was the first of many head to head matchups between District 6 rivals Altoona Area and State College Area.
On Saturday, the two teams met up at the Big Valley Invitational. With State College graduating some excellent talent, this meet was the first chance to showcase the athletes who will be stepping up to fill those holes. Altoona was looking to surpass State College as the best team in the district. But for the time being, State College is the top dog. Alex Milligan led the way for State College in a 7 point victory over Altoona. Keep following this rivalry, as you can expect many twists and turns on the road to Hershey! In Eastern PA, Central Bucks West were excellent in their debut at the John Sharp Invitational. They recorded a 1-5 spread of 46 seconds with their top seven breaking 18 minutes. In a season where the District 1 window is wide open, CB West ran like a team looking to take advantage of the opportunity.
Jake Brophy of Central Bucks East lived up to the high expectations for one week at least. Brophy cruised to victory at John Sharp in 16:05, over 35 seconds better than the field. Can he establish a long winning streak? Tune in to find out. Alex Fitch of Liberty won the Lions Invitational on Friday with a time of 16:20, a personal best and his first career win. It was also just the 2nd time he finished in the top five. Alex Milligan of State College held off Brad Foust of Altoona for 2nd place at Big Valley, with both runners breaking 16:30. Gabe Lamm of Whitehall was 3rd at the Lions Invite at Moravian Academy with a time of 16:30.
14 runners broke the 17 minute mark on the opening weekend in AAA, with only four of the runners being below the 12th grade.
One of the contenders for the AAA team state championship, Central Bucks East, showcased their very talented team at the John Sharp Invite on Friday afternoon. The talent shined brightly with the sunshine, as Liz Morris led her team to victory over rivals Central Bucks West. CB East had five runners under 21:15 and six runners under 22 minutes. In defeat, CB West had five runners under 22 minutes. East and West should have some good matchups this season. How close can West get to their rivals? Oakland Catholic finished 3rd at McDowell behind smaller school opposition. A close top three will be their key to success this season.
Individually, the top runners fans know and enjoy watching are at the top. Marissa Sheva of Pennridge was the only sub 19 minute performer on the weekend, running 18:53 to hold on to her John Sharp title. The 3200 meter state champion is off on the right foot. PTXC 6 will be her next test. Kelsey Potts of Mount Lebanon ran 19:04 to win in dominant fashion at California University. How long can this duo stay at or near the top? The coming weeks will give us the answer. Meanwhile, Laurel Moyer of Central Mountain repeated as Lock Haven Invite champion, freshman Brooke Hutton of Coatesville ran 19:32 to finish 2nd at her first high school cross country race at Big Valley, and Liz Morris was 2nd to Sheva at John Sharp in 19:35. Which one of these three will continue their hot start?
Nine runners ran under 20 minutes on the opening weekend, with four seniors making the list.