Meet Preview: PIAA District 7 (WPIAL) Championships

Boys Preview - PIAA District 7 Championships

Class A

  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 4

Also back to defend a WPIAL title is Freedom Area's Adam Hessler. The senior was clocked in 17:03 in 2018 and later finished third in the state Class A final. Winchester Thurston's Scott Routledge and Riverview's Mason Ochs will be in contention and looking to return to the podium in Hershey next week.

In the state rankings, Winchester Thurston and Riverview are listed Nos. 1 and 3 and are out to improve on their runner-up and eighth-place finishes in Hershey.

Class AA

  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 3
In AA boys, the race for the top individual spot is wide open, with Daniel Ford of Quaker Valley, Anthony Litrenta of New Castle, Jack Aulbach of Blackhawk, Lucas Pajak of Ringgold and Will Lamb of Beaver Area all returning from top 8 finishes a year ago. Indiana Area's Kendall Branan is having a strong season this year after an injury-plagued 2018 and should be up there.

The Red Hurricane of New Castle also enters with a No. 3 state ranking and seventh-place finish at PIAAs in 2018. Ringgold has been getting better as the season has progressed and should be able to give NC a run for its money. 

Indiana Area, South Fayette, and the defending AA state champions from Greensburg Salem will be in contention for that third and final spot in the state meet.

Class AAA

  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 3

Probably the closest thing to a sure thing heading into this year's district meet is senior Patrick Anderson of Mount Lebanon. The defending PIAA Class AAA champion and a Foot Locker Finalist, Anderson has topped the statewide individual rankings all season.

Anderson is undefeated this year, with a pair of records on the course that will be followed Thursday and a 15:09 PR at The Legends Meet in Ohio as standout performances.

Several other AAA standouts from the WPIAL also are in the PA top 10. Currently, Zachary Leachman of Mars Area and defending WPIAL titlist Daniel McGoey of North Allegheny are fourth and fifth, respectively, and Fox Chapel Area's Christian Fitch is 11th. Zach Marmol of Peters Township is 20th, while Sage Vavro of Butler is 25rd. McGoey finished third in last year's state final, while Fitch was fifth.

In the team battle, defending WPIAL and PIAA champ North Allegheny will have a fight on its hands from one of its rivals to the north, Butler. The Golden Tornado has a tight 1-4 pack and was just 14 points back of the Tigers in the TSTCA standings.

Mount Lebanon was third at TSTCAs and should be the team to beat for that third spot. Norwin, Fox Chapel Area, and Seneca Valley will look for big races to give it a run for a spot in Hershey. As always in D7, it will be competitive for those three state spots and some strong teams will be left at home for the state meet.