PIAA Champs Race Preview: Class AA Girls

Class AA Girls Team Preview - PIAA State Championships

While it's been an impressive year for individuals in Class AA, it's also been a great year for the classification's squads, with many of AA's best teams competing at a very high level against some good large school competition. It's going to be a close one for the state title in AA this season.

The top two teams this season figuring to be racing for the state title are District 3 champions Northern and District 7 winners South Fayette. Both teams made easy work of their respective districts last week and will be shooting for the top spot in AA Saturday.

Northern scored 44 to win D3 last week, 66 points ahead of second place. Starliper is a safe bet to score a single point up front. The Polar Bears' next three -- Katie Anthony, Allie Engle, and Madison Saltsburg -- were separated by just 12 seconds at districts.

South Fayette, meanwhile, put 51 points on the board to win the WPIAL last week by 60 points over second place. Iagnemma and Poe are a very solid top two, while freshman Angelina Gabriel stepped up in a big way to take sixth at districts. The Lions have some good depth after that top three and that will be crucial at states.

These teams met once this season on the very Hershey course they will return to on Saturday. Northern captured a narrow win, 76-79, over South Fayette. That was September 21, though. A lot can change in a month and a half, and it could be even closer in the rematch. This, like many team battles, will come down to the 4-5-6.

The defending AA state champions from Central Cambria can't be counted out here. The Red Devils picked up wins at the Red, White & Blue Classic, Ben Bloser, and Carlisle this season in lower classification races. They scored just 27 points to win the District 6 crown and have a proven strong No. 1 in Kuntz and the emergence of some strong ninth graders in Annaliese Niebauer and Abbie George. A repeat is not out of the question for CC, which is a team that has proven to bring their best to big meets.

Warrior Run, which took fourth in the state last season, will be a factor again with its impressive squad comprised of six juniors. Led by Lauren Trapani, Warrior Run won the District 4 title with 44 points. They have a strong 3-4-5 pack after No. 2 Emma Miller and will make a run at a high team finish once again. D4 runner-up Lewisburg Area has been impressive all season. They haven't backed down from a challenge this season, taking second in PTXC's Blue Race, third against Northern and SF at Foundation, and then three second place finishes to Warrior Run.  Look for the Green Dragons to be in the mix for a big day at Hershey.

Holy Redeemer has also been strong all fall. Third at Foundation, HR has some strong pack running and that should translate well at states. They were dominant at the District 2 Championships, scoring just 34 points with four in the top ten.

District 1 champions Pope John Paul II, District 9 champions Saint Marys Area, and District 10 champions Harbor Creek are among a deep group of teams that could make a run at the top five with a strong day at Hershey. The WPIAL's Greensburg Salem and Knoch and District 3's Boiling Springs and Donegal will be worth keeping an eye on in this wildly deep field of teams.