PIAA District 3 Championships - Girls' Preview
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 2
In the girls single A race, the top returning individual is York Catholic's Katelyn MacDougall, who was runner up by only seven seconds last year. MacDougall, now a senior, will certainly be in the top pack, but will face some familiar competition for the individual crown at Big Spring on Saturday.
Fellow senior Jordan Haberstroh of Columbia has a similar season best time to MacDougall and won the individual D3 title two years ago. Haberstroh was right behind MacDougall last year, coming in third overall in 2016.
In addition to Haberstroh and MacDougall, another senior to watch out for this year is Leanne Sneeringer of Delone Catholic. This fall, Sneeringer had a breakout meet at the Gettysburg Invite setting a new personal best 5k time of 19:31.60. Last year Sneeringer was was seventh overall at Districts, but this year she comes in with the fastest time in the D3-A competition.
For the team title, it will be a battle between the Kutztown and Camp Hill girls. Kutztown won the meet by seven points last year over York Catholic. Expect Kutztown's two front runners, Maria Marmarou and Erika Moriarty, to lead their team at Big Spring on Saturday.
Camp Hill's girls have also had a strong season. The girls will be led by sophomore Kaitlyn Vorkapich, who has made big gains individually since her freshman year. Other Camp Hill girls making an impact will be freshman Julia Raich and senior Allison Einig.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 3
The girls' AA race is packed with talent. Northern's Marlee Starliper (PA#1) will race for the first time in almost a month since dropping a time of 16:50 at the Carlisle Invite. Both Hershey and Big Spring have more challenging courses than the Carlisle Invite, so it is unlikely we will see another sub-17 time from Starliper. However, Starliper has demonstrated her power on the Big Spring course earlier this season by running a 17:58.21 in the heat at the Ben Blouser Invite. We will see if she improves upon this time this weekend, but expect her to be out in front in the AA race.
Last year, Starliper was runner up in District 3 and again at the PIAA race to her familiar rival, Taryn Parks of Greencastle-Antrim. The two continued to race each other throughout the track season just about every weekend. However this fall, the two rising sophomores surprisingly have not raced each other yet.
Parks is coming off a win on the Big Spring course at the Mid-Penn Conference championships and certainly knows how to show up big when it counts. Remember, Parks popped a 4:45 to win the 1,600 meter at the PIAA meet last May.We will have to wait and see how they stack up against each other on Saturday.
Other top returning individuals from last year are seniors Eastern York's Maddie McLain and Oley Valley's Rebecca Snyder. Both seniors won their respective league meets and have had impressive personal bests this season. Snyder has edged out McLain the past two years, but this year McLain comes in with a faster personal best, running 17:44 at the Carlisle Invite. McLain also picked up a big win at the Foundation meet. We will have to see who comes out on top at Big Spring.
Big Spring will look to get a state spot on their home course. They ran well to take seventh at Mid-Penns two weeks ago. The third team spot might go to Boiling Springs, led by senior Elaina Clancy. The Boiling Spring girls have not been in the conversation for a state slot for some years, so it is an exciting time to be a bubbler.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 4
Chambersburg's Abby Yourkavitch was third overall in 2015, second overall in 2016... Will she continue her progression and win the AAA crown in her final year at Big Spring?
Challenging Yourkavitch is a familiar and talented mix of girls, starting with the girl who won last year, Cocalico's Jamie Zamrin. Zamrin suffered from a frustrating hip injury and missed almost the entire track season, but she is back with vengeance this fall. The senior set a new personal best 5k time of 18:03 at Paul Short and is coming off a win at the Lancaster-Lebanon Championships.
Sophomore Emily Schuler of Dallastown has the experience and speed to compete with both of these talented seniors. As a freshman last year, she was sixth overall. This year, she comes into the district meet with the fastest time on paper, 17:47, which she ran at the Carlisle Invite in September. Last week, she almost stole the show at the YAIAA league race, coming within a second of winning against AA standout Maddie McLain.
It will be tough to beat the defending district team champions, Manheim Township. The girls had a big win at the Foundation meet and dominated the Lancaster-Lebanon Championships this year. Led by senior Samantha Side, the girls have a tight pack. Samantha Side has been leading the way for Township, but since the girls are so close in races, you should expect a few big performances from teammates like Kira Jenkins and Ava Pasewicz, among others from the current PA#1s.
Hershey had a strong showing this season, winning the Mid Penn Conference a few weeks ago. The Hershey girls were also the top PA team at the Carlisle Invite. Hershey's frontrunner, Andrea Demko, has been steadily improving this season, coming in third at the league meet last week on this course. Demko will likely be up in the front group on Saturday. Also expect big things from her teammate Faith Mark.
The Dallastown girls were right behind Hershey in the team standings at the Carlisle Invite. The girls were seventh last year, but have a strong pack of girls behind their low stick Schuler, and if they move up in the race on Saturday, could win them a ticket to States.
Carlisle was not far behind Hershey at conferences last weekend and will be led by junior Meg Lebo.
Governor Mifflin will also be a team to watch, led by their lead runner junior Andrea Miller.
In the individual AAA race, watch out for CD East's Makenna Krebs, J.P McCaskey's Lianna Tirado and Elizabethtown Area's Katie Locker. Along with Locker, look for Elizabethtown's Cat Shontz and freshman Madeline Quinn.