PIAA District 9 Championships - Boys' Preview
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 2
Elk County Catholic looks to be in a good spot to grab its third straight D9-1A title on Saturday. ECC has retooled well this season and will certainly be in contention in a week for a state title. But the first test comes at Ridgway.
ECC's Ben Hoffman is the favorite for the individual title. The sophomore, who took seventh in the district last season, has been on a tear this season, picking up wins at Bradford and Ridgway. He'll look to turn that into a district win on Saturday.
Hoffman's teammates Logan Hoffman, Isaac Wortman, and Matthew Dippold should be up near the front, grabbing some low sticks for ECC.
Smethport Area has a pair of runners that should be near the front in this race. Darion Gregory and Christian Tanner are a strong duo. Gregory picked up a number of high finishes and won at Cuba-Rushford in New York a few weeks back.
Coudersport freshman Tristan Amell will look to amke an impact. He was 16th as an eighth grader last year. He ran 16:01 to start his season, and he'll look for a similar type performance on Saturday. Ridgway's Nicolas Heredero and Brooksville's Ethan Brentham (the reigning D9-AA champ with Punxsutawney) is another one worth watching for.
As for the second team spot, Smethport Area and Clarion Area will be among the teams will the best shot of getting it.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 1
The boys from Bradford Area will look to take back the District 9-AA title this season, a year after Punxsutawney captured the win last season. But Punxsy lost two of its top three, which took the three top spots in the district, and Bradford looks very strong this season.
At the top is Logan Caruso for Bradford. He won the district title as a freshman and as a sophomore and is primed to take it back as a senior this season. He was second to Ben Hoffman at the Ridgway Invitational and looks to have what it takes.
After Caruso, Bradford has a strong contingent of runners with Tyler Kraft, Issac Paterniti, Corbin Heitzenrater, and Vinnie Bizzarro.
Punxsutawney's Owen Bartlebaugh was second to his teammate last season and will look to win the title, as well. He won his home invite a few weeks ago and should put himself in the mix on Saturday.
Ultimately, the team race will come down to Bradford and Punxsy for that one spot and Bradford looks to have the advantage