Breakdown: District 9 Boys

D9-A Boys - Team & Individuals Breakdown

  • Preseason Rankings: Team | Individual
  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 2
  • State Qualifying Spots For Non-Team Individuals: 10
  • 2018 Individual Champion: Christian Tanner (Smethport Area) - 17:59
  • 2018 Team Champion: Elk County Catholic - 54 points

Individuals Preview

Elk County Catholic's Ben Hoffman will look to return to the top of District 9 Class A this fall. The rising senior won the D9-A title as a sophomore,  but was fourth last season behind the Smethport Area duo of Christian Tanner and Darion Gregory. Both Tanner and Gregory have graduated, but that leaves Clarion Area's Nathaniel Lerch, another rising senior, as the district's top returner from the district meet last year.

Lerch was third a few ticks ahead of Hoffman. Hoffman reversed that at the state meet, though, placing 12th, while Lerch took 26th. Those two will likely battle it out for the top spot, along with Cranberry's Matt Woolcock. As a freshman last fall, Woolcock was fifth at districts and then 35th at states.

Woolcock's teammate Daniel Fisher was seventh at districts and 45th in the state. He's back for his senior season and should be in the mix near the front. Someone else we can't count out is ECC's Isaac Wortman. He took eighth at districts, but was 27th at states, right behind Lerch. Wortman, along with teammate Joe Wolfe (tenth at districts, 40th at states) will be factors again this season.

There's plenty of talent and state medal contenders in D9-A again this season and it should be an interesting fall.

Team Preview

Elk County Catholic ran to its fourth straight District 9 Class A team title last fall, edging out an upstart Cranberry squad, 54-56 for the win. Both teams made the state meet with ECC taking seventh and Cranberry placing ninth. We can expect another close race between these two teams for the district crown in 2019.

ECC brings back a powerful top three in Hoffman, Wortman, and Wolfe, which is among the best trios in the state in 1A. It loses one from last season, but the team did have some freshmen step into varsity roles last season. Those rising sophomores will be crucial to ECC's success on the backend of their varsity unit.

Cranberry also loses just one from last year's team. Woolcock emerged as a strong No. 1 last year as a frosh and will look to keep it going in 2019. Fisher, too, is a solid No. 2 for the 2018 district runners-up.

Cranberry is perhaps the team to beat, but ECC is a team that has proven it can retool with talent year in and year out.

Smethport Area and Clarion Area were third and fourth, respectively, last year in the district. Smethport loses that strong top two, along with one other from its top 5. Clarion has a solid No. 1 in Lerch, but loses three from its top 5. Both squads will look to add depth to compete with the two favorites.