Colton Sands wasn't 100%, but that didn't stop the Penns Valley senior from claiming his second straight state title individually. The Jenkintown boys erased some disappointment from last season and made it a runaway for the team title, winning by 40 points.
It wasn't quite the year Penns Valley's Colton Sands envisioned for himself. But in the end, the senior and UNC commit still won his second straight PIAA state title. Sands went 16:42 for win in Class A, a title that he also won a year ago.
Sands dealt with a persisting injury for much of the early part of the season, but worked to stay in shape throughout the fall. He went 15:55 to win the District 6 title last week and, along with his team, made it to Hershey. On Saturday, Sands took the win in his heat, which turned out to be the fastest A boys race of the bunch.
Sands was without his teammate Brendan Colwell and state runner-up from 2019. Colwell was out with an injury.
Second in that first heat and second overall was Kevin Jumper of Holy Cross, who went 16:54 (the only other sub-17 time in the A field). It was another strong state meet performance from Jumper, who placed seventh in the state last year.
Thomas Smigo of Palisades, who was seventh in AA last year, placed third in 17:01, winning the fourth and final heat for A boys. Jenkintown took the next two spots as Luke Miller (17:04) and Carter Geer (17:05) finished one after the other in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Northern Bedford's Ian Zimmerman, who was fifth last year, earned another strong performance, taking sixth and winning the third heat in 17:07.
The Jenkintown boys were certainly motivated coming into Saturday. After winning the state crown in 2018, the Drakes came up just short in 2019, finishing third.
With a bunch of returners from last year's team, Jenkintown wasn't about ready to miss another chance at a state title. They left no doubt about it this time around. It was a second state title in three years for the Drakes.
Jenkintown posted four state medalists individually. Luke Miller and Carter Geer led the way, as they have for this whole season. Miller, who didn't finish the state meet race last year, was fourth, and Geer was was fifth.
Penns Valley Area, led by Sands' individual title took second with 84 points. The Rams were five points ahead of third place Winchester Thurston, the 2019 state champs, which scored 89 points. Hughesville ran well to take fourth with 128 points and Holy Cross was fifth with 134 points.