Girls Preview - PIAA District 1 Championships
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 1
Jenkintown's Olivia Spoerl may only be a freshman, but the ninth grader looks to be the one to beat in the first race of the day set for Friday. Spoerl, the BAL champ, has been getting better as the season has progressed and she'll look to top it off with a district title on Friday.
The team race for the one and only state spot could be a close one. Dock Mennonite was third in the BAL, the top D1-A team in the field, but Jenkintown was just seven points off and Calvary Christian was nine points off Dock.
Jenkintown and Calvary have the lowsticks, but Dock looks to have the advantage on depth; they put four before Jenkintown's No. 2 at BALs. Overall, this race will come down to the wire and every single point will be crucial.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 1
Villa Joseph Marie's Meredith Glunz has made a good impact during her freshman season. She ran to the AACA title last week and will look to add a district title on Friday. She'll also have a good shot to go sub-19.
Looking to challenge her will be Gwynedd-Mercy's Kelly Murray, who won the district two years ago. The PJP duo of Gianna Cagliola and Isabella Greco should also be in the mix, as well in what should be a competitive race for spots inside the top five.
Pope John Paul II will be the favorites to claim another team title and with it, the lone state spot in D1-AA. PJP was third against a bunch of AAA schools in the PAC and has shown up in a big way in some of the big invites this season. After a narrow win last year, PJP is firmly in the driver's seat this season with a mix of frontrunning and a nice sub-minute 1-5 gap.
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 6
The state's largest district/classification will be dropping some quick times on Friday on a fast Lehigh course. As always, it will be a fierce battle for individual spots and crucial team points. Two girls in D1-AAA have run sub-18 this season, but that could certainly change by the end of the race Friday.
The big favorite is West Chester Henderson's Jenna Mulhern, who won the district and the state in AAA last season. She has similar goals this season. After a 17:33 PR at Carlisle and then a runaway Ches Mont win, the sophomore is in a good spot to take the district on Friday.
Neshaminy's Kaylee McCullough is the other girl to have run sub-18 in the district this season. She had an off day at SOLs, but she'll look for a bounce-back performance this week. West Chester East's Allyson Clarke had her bounce-back performance at Ches Monts, placing second to Mulhern. Along with her Viking teammates Michaela Schiele and Sonia Piombino, East has arguably the best trio in the state. Look for all three up near the front of this race.
Council Rock South's Marisa Kilgarriff pulled off the SOL National Conference upset over McCullough. She's running well at the right time and should be up there. SOL Continental Conference champion Julia Flood and her Central Bucks West teammate Piper Wilson will likely be working together in that front group. PAC champion Summer Watts has emerged as one of the state's top freshman. The ninth grader should be up near the front in her District 1 Championship debut.
Among the others to watch for are Pottsgrove's Naomi Hillen, Pennsbury's Tatum Lynch, Central Bucks East's Mckenna Brophy, OJR's Claire Zubey, Council Rock North's Lorena Ye, and Oxford Area's Taj Lanier. This field is, of course, flushed with talent.
There are six spots in the state meet on the line, and it should be a close one across the board for each of those coveted bids.
The race for the win will likely come down to last year's top two, Central Bucks West and West Chester Henderson. West is looking to make it an historic three-in-a-row, while Henderson will look to take the top spot. West, the SOL Continental champs, topped Henderson, the Ches Mont champs, narrowly in the team's lone matchup this season at Carlisle. Both have lowsticks, it will just be a matter of what the backend of varsity can do.
PAC champions Perkiomen Valley proved they are back this season. The Vikings have run well at some big meets and that will translate well into Friday's massive field. The Ches Mont runners-up Downingtown West are a deep squad that will aim to get itself back to Hershey. Council Rock North has good depth this season and should make a run at a state spot. Owen J. Roberts (second at PACs), Strath Haven (Central league champs), and Haverford Township (Delco champs) will be in contention, as well. West Chester East has that terrific top three, but it will need a big day from its 4 and 5 to minimize points and chase a states berth.
Avon Grove was the surprise team of last year. The Red Devils were fourth in the Ches Mont, but they will look for some similar districts magic to get in the mix this season for the top six. Unionville is a team that can never be counted out; expect them to be in the mix, despite a fifth place Ches Mont finish.