Independent Schools Team Preview

Not everyone has the opportunity to participate in the PIAA State Cross Country Championships. The independent schools that are not members of the PIAA contest their own state championship the week before the PIAA title race. We will look at some of the teams who will not only make an impact in their division, but against some of the PIAA’s best!


Inter-Ac and Independent School State Champions Malvern Prep enter the new season with a great opportunity to earn big honors this season. The team returns five of their top seven from their state meet win. They also add a talented freshman who has contributed to the varsity team in the Inter-Ac as an 8th grader. The leader of the team is junior Jaxson Hoey, who had a big track season last spring and is the reigning state champion. Billy McDevitt is a solid number two, but he will be pushed for that spot by 9th grader Josh Hoey. This trio will be one of the best out there in any race they compete in. Hoey and McDevitt have performed well against teams and runners from the big schools of the Southeastern part of the state. The Friars will be a team that will give the big schools a run for their money this fall.

Friends League champions Germantown Friends look to make another run at Malvern Prep and also look to put out a better performance at the NXN Northeast Regional. During the track season, Nick Dahl emerged as one of the runners to watch entering this new season. The New Balance Outdoor Freshmen 2 mile champion impressed with a sub 9:20 2 mile and 4:23 1600 meter season best, and will be the top runner for his team. Grayson Hepp joins him at the top as the only sub 17 minute performer from last season. Six of their top seven return, and their track record over the past 6 years suggests that this team will join Malvern in challenging the top teams and performing well in the process.

For a meet that’s normally dominated by the eastern schools, Kiski and Cathedral Prep hope to change that a little bit this time around. Both teams will rely on solid pack running to challenge the Eastern teams. Mercersburg was the top non Philadelphia Area school in the meet last year, finishing 5th. Can Kiski or Cathedral Prep top that?


While the boys field appears to be a two team race for the title, the girls title race may come down to four teams.

Champions Germantown Friends are back to defend their title with five of their top seven runners from their 5 point state title win returning. As a wild card, state best 800 meter runner Sarah Walker has run a couple cross country races in her career and she can make a big impact when she toes the line. Brigit Andersson and Caitlin Harrity will lead a team that has seen big improvement over the past two seasons.

Germantown Academy came up five points short of winning the title last season. They bring back a strong top two of sophomore and Inter-Ac champion Abbe Goldstein and junior Paige Kupsky. The duo finished 2nd and 3rd at the state race, but will have to cut down on their 2 minute 1-5 spread to challenge for another title.

Springside Chestnut Hill return Jamie Costarino and teammate Terri Turner. At times in 2013, the duo were on top of their game and were very tough to beat. A strong 3-5 could put them in the mix at the top should their top two have another big season. Episcopal Academy bring back four of their top five, including Alex Holmberg and Kathering Hong, a top five finisher at the state meet. Whichever team can come away with the Inter-Ac title will be the top contender to Germantown Friends and the state title.