3A Girls' Team Preview - PIAA State Championships
The North Allegheny girls will look to convert its incredible 2018 XC campaign into its first state title since 1999 on Saturday. The Tigers have been dominant in Pennsylvania every step of the way this season. NA won at the Red, White & Blue Classic, Foundation, TSTCAs, and WPIALs, each in decisive fashion.
Despite the graduation of Clara Savchik, the Tigers have retooled with Hannah Lindgren usually leading the way. Keeley Misutka, Caroline Daggett, Rachel Hockenberry, and Ally Christy have each stepped up this season, as well. Only 27 seconds separated NA's top 5 at WPIALs, where it scored just 45 points. The Tigers enter Saturday as the team favorites, and could put down another very low score before noon.
NA's top challenges will come from some District 1 powers. Central Bucks West won District 1 for a second straight year, with a 45 second gap. Julia Flood and Piper Wilson are the medal threats for CBW for this deep squad on the hunt for states redemption. West was second to NA at September's Foundation Invite and will be looking to reverse its fortune on Saturday.
West Chester Henderson was second to West in District 1 by seven points. Jenna Mulhern is an individual title threat, while Courtney Kitchen and Courtney Alexander stepped up in a big way at districts, placing 5th and 6th. Henderson will look for a big day from its No. 5 to challenge for the top spot. Unionville showed that it's once again coming around at the right time. 6th at states last year, U'Ville was 3rd in D1 and could surprise again.
The models of consistency at the state level have been the Little Lions from State College Area, who swept their way to another District 6 crown on Saturday, taking the top 6 spots. SC was fifth a year ago at states, and was fourth at Foundation 6 weeks ago. Now SC has Kileigh Kane back, its usual No. 1 runner, who took home the individual D6 title on Saturday. Kane had missed some time, and her presence makes an already deep team even better. This team could make some major noise at Hershey.
The WPIAL proved how hard it is to make it out of last week. After NA, Oakland Catholic and Fox Chapel Area grabbed the other state qualifying spots. Oakland, third at states a year ago, has a good lowstick in D7 individual champ Hannah Schupansky and showed some good strength after her. Fox Chapel comes into Hershey as the defending AAA state champs. With a pair of really strong runners in Sarena Seeger and Grace Sisson, FC should be in store for another strong states showing. Remember that Fox Chapel didn't win D7 before taking the state title the next week a year ago.
Dallastown may have surprised a few when it took home the District 3 Class AAA title on Saturday. D'Town has really improved its depth after top girl Emily Schuler, and will look to turn more heads at Hershey this weekend.