Breakdown: District 1 Girls

D1-AAA Girls - Team & Individuals Breakdown

  • Preseason Rankings: Team | Individual
  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 6
  • State Qualifying Spots For Individuals: 30
  • 2019 Individual Champion: Jenna Mulhern (West Chester Henderson) - 17:49
  • 2019 Team Champions: Downingtown West - 168 points

Individuals Breakdown

West Chester Henderson's Jenna Mulhern won her second straight District 1 Class AAA last year, pulling away from the field to run away with another district championship. She took third in the state in a very competitive AAA race at Hershey. Then Mulhern qualified for NXN for a second straight season, placing 43rd in the country in Portland, wrapping up a terrific sophomore season.

Mulhern will aim to return to the top of AAA this season after winning the state title as a freshman. She's a talented runner and the junior should be right in the mix with defending state champion Mia Cochran and Emily Carter with the state title on the line.

Mulhern is the big favorite for a third straight District 1 individual title, but, as always, there is some great talent back this season in D1-AAA. Claire Zubey of Owen J. Roberts had a great freshman season last season, placing third in the district and then ninth at states, closing out her season in a big way. She'll be a big factor in her sophomore year after a strong first season.

There are three other state medalists from last year that are back this fall in District 1: Pottsgrove's Naomi Hillen (15th at states), Central Bucks West's Julia Flood (20th), and West Chester East's Sonia Piombino (21st). Interestingly, those three finished between 9th and 13th at the district meet, so they each enjoyed a big race at the state meet relative to districts. They should all make a charge for high state finishes again this fall.

West Chester East's Michaela Schiele was fourth in the district and Oxford Area's Taj Lanier was fifth. Schiele ran her 5K best of 18:22, while Lanier also ran her best with an 18:23. Those are very quick times that will translate into the seniors being among the district's best again this fall.

Seven others come in with 5K bests from last year under 19 minutes: Pennsbury's Tatum Lynch, Perkiomen Valley's Summer Watts, West Chester Rustin's Sofia Piccone, Council Rock North's Lorena Ye, CB West's Emmi Simon, Strath Haven's Rowe Crawford, and Lower Merion's Sarah Hurst. Piccone (26th), Hurst (27th) and Crawford (29th) narrowly missed state medals last season and will look to move inside the top 25 this fall.

There will be plenty of room for District 1 girls to emerge this fall, which always seems to be the case. There is no shortage of talent and plenty of state spots up for grabs.

Team Preview

The battle for the top spot in District 1 Class AAA will be fierce as always with a number of teams capable of making noise on the state stage.

Downingtown West claimed the title last year with a picture perfect race at Lehigh that saw its 2 through 5 runners all come in within five seconds. With three seniors graduating, D-West will look to do some retooling to claim the title for a second straight season.

The team to beat may be West Chester Henderson, which has been second in the district each of the last two years. The Warriors have the lowstick in Mulhern and four other varsity girls back from last season. Henderson should figure to be a threat not only on the district level, but also in the state.

The highest placed D1-AAA from last year's state meet was Unionville, which was fourth in the district in 2019. While it only returns three varsity girls from a year ago, U'Ville is known to retool well each year, and this team should be right in the mix for a state berth and another good Hershey run this year. Central Bucks West, which won back-to-back district titles in 2017 and 2018 and placed third in D1 last year, should also be a factor this season, though it will need to do a bit of retooling as well with four varsity girls from a year ago graduated. But CBW has a good top three back, led by Flood, that will make it a team to watch.

Council Rock North is bringing back six varsity girls from a year ago, and should be in for a big 2020. Last season CRN placed fifth in the district, and now brings some good experience into this fall that will make it a contender in the district and the state. Owen J. Roberts grabbed the sixth of six state spots in D1-AAA last season. It returns four varsity girls this fall. OJR will look to add some depth to the backend of its varsity to make it a factor for a state spot again this season.

One team that could make a big impact this fall is Perkiomen Valley. This should be a motivated PV bunch after an unlucky seventh place district finish last season, missing the last state qualifying spot by just three points. Six varsity girls are back, and the Vikings will be right in the hunt for a strong 2020.

Surely, there will be other teams that emerge throughout the season. Other teams that should be in the mix for the top six include Haverford Township, West Chester East, Strath Haven, and Avon Grove.