D1-AAA Boys - Team & Individuals Breakdown
- Preseason Rankings: Team | Individual
- State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 6
- State Qualifying Spots For Individuals: 30
- 2019 Individual Champion: Cole Walker (Unionville) - 15:22
- 2019 Team Champions: Downingtown West - 107 points
It's no surprise that there is plenty of top-tier talent back this season in the state's largest classification. The top returners in D1-AAA are also two of AAA's best statewide this season: Downingtown West's Aiden Barnhill (Preseason PA#5) and Unionville's Ethan McIntyre (Preseason PA#6).
Last year was a big breakthrough year for both boys, who took the step from strong runner into the state spotlight. Barnhill was second in the district in a nail-biter to Cole Walker of Unionville. A week later at states, Barnhill took sixth at Hershey and then he placed 16th in the region. McIntyre was fourth at the district and then was the top non-senior at the state meet, placing third, beating out Barnhill and even his teammate Walker. Both boys are entering their senior years and should be the top not only in D1, but the whole state, to keep an eye on.
There's plenty of talent after those two in D1-AAA, of course. Declan Rymer of Downingtown West was a very formidable No. 2 to Barnhill last year. He was seventh in the district and then took 12th in the state. He's also back for his senior year. Another D-West runner -- Holden Betz -- is also one to watch after a 26th place finish at states, just missing the podium.
The only other returning medalist in D1-AAA is Diego Lera-Lozano of Pennridge. In just his first season of XC last year, Lera-Lozano was tenth in the district and 21st in the state. Other top returners based on district finish last year in D1-AAA include Hatboro-Horsham's Devon Comber (a 4:20 miler indoors this past winter), Kennett's Gavin Maxwell, and Unionville's Sam Elsen. Each of those boys should in the mix for top five district finishes this fall.
Owen J. Roberts' Thomas Damiani (38th in the state), Conestoga's Charlie Miller (41st), and Lower Merion's Simon Schmieder (43rd) all claimed impressive state meet finishes last season, and return this year looking to move up onto the podium.
Downingtown West rolled to yet another District 1 title last season, which turned out to just be a stepping stone for the Whippets, who went on to take home the state title a week and a day later at Hershey. With a strong group of returners, and a number of up-and-comers ready to make the leap to varsity, D-West will be very solid once again in 2020. The Whippets are our Preseason PA#1 team.
D-West is firmly in the driver's seat for its fourth straight D1-AAA team title, but more than that, it will be the team to beat in its pursuit of a second straight AAA state title. Barnhill is a state title threat individually, and frankly, the same can be said about Rymer. Betz is as good of a No. 3 you will see in the state. After that, the Whippets will turn to some JV runners from last year's team to fill in the gaps (D-West had two of the top four in the massive District 1 JV race last year).
Two other squads landed on our list of top ten teams from D1. Lower Merion comes in at PA#6 and Unionville sits at PA#7. LM brings back six varsity boys from a year ago, which was a team that placed fourth in the district and seventh in the state. This is an experienced bunch with the potential to make a lot of noise. Unionville (sixth in the state last year), meanwhile, has a pair of very talented returners in McIntyre (also an individual state title threat) and Elsen. If U'Ville can add some depth, this will be a very dangerous squad.
A pair of other state qualifying teams from District 1 should be strong again this fall: Council Rock South (eighth at states) and Owen J. Roberts (12th at states). Both teams have some good talent back that will make them factors. Conestoga, Downingtown East, and West Chester Henderson are a trio of teams looking to make the leap into state qualification territory this fall.