Girls Preview - PIAA District 9 Championships
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 2
Just a freshman, Evelyn Lerch of Clarion Area will look to take home her first district title on Saturday in Ridgway. The ninth grader won the KSAC title in what has been a terrific first high school season for her.
She'll have some veteran challengers, though. Amanda Ford of Northern Potter, a champ at Cuba-Rushford in NY earlier this season, will be a threat to the top spot. Kane Area's Emily Peterson is another talented girl to watch for in this field. Another freshman from Clarion -- Bella Scott -- was second at KSACs and should be worth watching for, too.
Cranberry will look to follow up its narrow KSAC victory with yet another district crown. It may not have a clear frontrunner (yet), but it has much better depth than any other D9-A squad. That should be enough to at least get it inside the top two. Clarion Area was just two points off Cranberry for the KSAC title. It will get a shot at redemption on Saturday. North Clarion, third in the KSAC, and Brookville Area, a states team in 2017, will also be in the mix. It could get close in the team standings here.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 1
Saint Marys Area scored just 19 points to win the District 9 Class AA last season, and the squad will look to put together a similar effort this season. After a strong showing at Ridgway and then the Rocky Grove Invite a few weeks ago, this team is riding some good momentum into the postseason.
Samantha Hayes is the one to watch individually for Saint Marys. It's just her first season of XC, but the sophomore is already leaving her mark. She won at Altoona and was third at Rocky Grove. She is the only girl in the field that has run sub-20. Megan Quesenberry and Lucy Anthony should also be near the front for Saint Marys.
A few individuals will look to break up Saint Marys' top runners. Abby LaBorde of Clearfield Area and Hannah Lary of Bradford Area are among the top individuals that should compete for top five finishes.
Punxsutawney Area and Bradford Area will look to challenge Saint Marys for the lone state qualifying spot in D9-AA.