Class A Team Preview


The top three teams in 2013 all have solid squads returning in 2014 that are capable of making another run at the team championship.

Following a defeat to Masterman at the PIAA Foundation meet in mid-September, champions Saegertown made a late run during the high stakes part of the season to bring the state title home. They had a front three that was the best threesome in the division and performed well at the state meet. The 2-3 combination of Brendon Barclay and Brad Amy are back to lead the title charge. Barclay and Amy received individual state medals last season. Junior Wyatt Fletcher will be asked to step up so that the champs continue having a strong top three that will be tough to beat. A boost from Garrett Johnston and Alex Barclay would help firm up their top five. The duo finished outside the top 100 at states last season and will look to improve on that mark this season.

Defending the title has proven to be harder to accomplish than chasing the champion. Can Saegertown maintain a grip on the trophy?

Masterman will have something to say about that after missing out on the title last year. Masterman were the top Class A team in the PTXC Top Ten Coaches Poll for the majority of the season. They were successful in their league and district meets, and they won the PIAA Foundation team title against Saegertown last September.

To get back in the mix, Masterman will have to make up for the graduation of four seniors, three of which were top five runners for the team. They do, however, keep top runner Julian DeGroot-Lutzner, a state medalist who will look to break into the top 7 at states. As for the squad behind him, they have three more runners under 18 minutes and two more under 18:30. Their weekly meets at the hilly Belmont Plateau course prepares them well for the demanding challenge of the Hershey course.

Can Masterman become the first district 12 team to win a cross country state title?

A team that already has a Class A title in the bank is Northeast Bradford. The 2012 champions finished in an impressive 3rd place following the graduation of two all-state runners. In 2014, the District 4 champions return with six of their top seven, including state medalist Garrett Smith. Levi Upham was a district silver medalist and a top 40 state finisher. They and Saegertown are the only two teams that have five sub 18 minute runners. Northeast Bradford may have a deeper squad behind them compared to the other teams, with two additional guys under 19:30.

Is Northeast Bradford back to being the strong force we’ve seen in years past? Can this group bring the title back with their strong core still in place?

Other teams that will look to challenge last year’s top three include Seneca, a district rival of champions Saegertown. They return their entire varsity team from last year’s 6th place state finish. They will have four sophomores on the team, including top runner Phoenix Myers. Seeing Saegertown on a regular basis could be a big advantage for them. Another district rival, West Middlesex will also be back after missing out on states the year before. David Johnson leads four sub 18 minute runners and three more sub 19 minute runners. North East will also fight for a state spot in District 10 with Gary Olsen leading the charge.

Mercyhurst Prep will be led by one of the district’s top runners, Sebastian Curtain. His team has six other runners under the 19 minute mark. A front runner can make a huge statement in the title race. Avonworth have a nice pack in their top five that can make some noise out of District 7.



2014 is shaping up to be a rematch between District 2 rivals, while a former 3 time AA champion is gearing up for a return to the medal stand.

Holy Cross emerged victorious to win the state title last season and the rematch will be on in both district and state championship races. The champions won it with three freshmen and two sophomores, with three of them winning state medals. Four of those five made up the top five of the team. The leader of that group was Tess Kearns, a 3200 meter state medalist and District 2 cross country title holder. She will be the lone senior of the team.

Rivals Elk Lake will have a very similar makeup returning in 2014: Three sophomores, two juniors, and one senior. They have two returning medalists, but their leadership will come from a junior and a sophomore. The gap last season at states between the champions and the runners up was 35 points. How much of that gap can Elk Lake close?

While Holy Cross and Elk Lake try to out duel one another, Central Cambria will look to peak at the right time to overtake them. Central Cambria finished 3rd without a senior, but they had the benefit of bringing in a young group of runners who have not blinked on the big stages thus far. Samantha Koss, Emma Wess, and Sydney Gilkey make up the spine of the team. The now sophomore trio will play a bigger role in how Central Cambria will challenge the District 2 powerhouses in Hershey. Having seven runners with personal bests under 21:30 will certainly help that mission.

West Middlesex and North East will return as the top contenders coming out of a deep District 10. West Middlesex bring back their entire team from last season, and the 2014 edition will be full of experience with three seniors and three juniors on the varsity squad. North East missed out on state qualification last season, but they have six returning runners with personal bests of 21:30 or better (only Central Cambria has more). Kate McIntosh is their leader and returning state medalist.

Laurel may still have the youngest squad in the field from last season’s 4th place finish. They achieved that feat with four freshmen, three of them finished in the top four for their team. The top six are all sophomores and juniors, with Alison Flier a returning medalist. On the other hand, Wilmington may have the most experienced team, with four of their top five runners entering their senior season. They had the best 1-5 spread in the division in 2013, and with their entire top five returning, that spread may improve, thus giving them a stronger chance at making the medal stand.