Boys' Indoor States Distance Preview: Busy Day For Affolders; Hoey in the 8; 3K Is Wide Open

Josh Hoey (Bishop Shanahan) / Photo by Steven Pisano

Boys' 800 Meters Preview

The 800 meters on Saturday will be one of the day's more intriguing events. The state's top three half milers are all entered, but two will have earlier events and just one will come in fresh.

Bishop Shanahan's Josh Hoey is the fresh one. Hoey, who transferred to Shanahan from Downingtown West over the summer, was second to his brother Jaxson in the mile a year ago at indoor states. This season, he has run a PA#2 1:54.50 at the Hispanic Games and a PA#2 4:09.30 to win the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston. He had an off day at Millrose, but he'll look for redemption here at states. He's decided for the 800 instead of the mile and that decision could pay off with a state title.

Brookville's Ryan Thrush is the current PA#1. Thrush ran 1:54.43 at Youngstown State a few weeks ago. He possesses insanely good range and usually runs a multitude of events each meet. On Saturday, he'll be doubling back in the 800 after running the 400 meters (where he's the PA#2). With minimal recovery, he'll look to summon the energy to battle it out for the win.

Then there's Carlisle's Noah Affolder. Affolder ran 1:54.72 during a busy meet at Ursinus back in mid-January. He'll be running the mile (and possibly the 4x8) before the 800 meters and in search of team points. The senior's talent is undeniable and it wouldn't be shocking to see him compete with Hoey and Thrush in what could be an epic race.

Nick Wagner (Penn Trafford) / Photo by Steven Pisano

Those three are the presumptive favorites, but there are 21 other entries, all gunning for the upset or a spot on the podium. Penn Trafford's Nick Wagner sits at PA#5. He had a really busy indoor season. He struggled through the early part of February, but did pick up a big win at Tri-States on Saturday, running 1:57.98 at Edinboro. Wagner has some speed and will likely put in self in the mix. He's also the lone returning medalist from 2016.

There are plenty of others in that 1:56-1:57 range that all could make some noise on Saturday with a big race. Radnor's Peter Cooke, Pennridge's Matt Eissler, and Pottsville's Collin Ebling finished 3-4-5 back at Kevin Dare in January, all running in the high 1:56s. Any of those three could pull out a big race and a high finish. Cooke was tenth a year ago.

Wyomissing's Joe Cullen won his heat of the 800 at the Yale Track Classic. He's going in fresh and should be a contender. Penn Hills' Isaiah Bailey was second to Wagner at Tri-States and was 11th in this event last winter. William Tennent's Matt Kraus was the winner at MOCs on Saturday and was 12th last year.

Neumann Goretti's Kamil Jihad isn't one to sleep on. Jihad ran 1:52.23 at outdoor states last year. His best this year is a flat-track 1:58.61, but we know the speed and talent is there to possibly nab a high finish from one of the slower sections.

Other contenders include Central Dauphin East's Luke Everidge, Central Bucks West's Jake Claricurzio, Owen J. Roberts' Liam Conway, Wissahickon's Cameron Christopher. This race could get very tactical with a pair of favorites doubling, so make sure you watch for the slower sections, which could and probably will factor in to the overall results of these timed finals.

Boys' 800m Entries:

Event 12  Boys 800 Meter Run (24)
  State Meet:  1:50.55  3/1/2014    Kyle Francis, Bensalem                     
     Name                        Year School                                
  1  Affolder, Noah                12 Carlisle                    
  2  Bacchus, Aqeel                12 Bensalem                    
  3  Bailey, Isaiah                12 Penn Hills                  
  4  Binda, Dylan                  10 Grnsburg Salem              
  5  Christopher, Cameron          12 Wissahickon                 
  6  Claricurzio, Jake             11 CB West                     
  7  Conway, Liam                  11 O J Roberts                 
  8  Cooke, Peter                  12 Radnor                      
  9  Cullen, Joe                   11 Wyomissing                  
 10  Delisle, Hudson               11 Quakertown                  
 11  Dupell III, Robert            11 St Joe Prep                 
 12  Ebling, Collin                11 Pottsville                  
 13  Eissler, Matt                 10 Pennridge                   
 14  Everidge, Luke                12 CD East                     
 15  Hoey, Josh                    11 Bish Shanahan               
 16  Jihad, Kamil                  11 Neumann Gore                
 17  Jones, Derek                  12 Cathedral Prep              
 18  King, Frankie                 12 Grnsburg Salem              
 19  Klick, Derin                  12 Lebanon                     
 20  Kraus, Matt                   12 William Tennent             
 21  Scratchard, Jed               11 Pennsbury                   
 22  Thrush, Ryan                  12 Brookville                  
 23  Wagner, Nick                  12 Penn Trafford               
 24  Whitfield, David              12 Bonner/Prendie