There was a surprise winner in the AA boys race, as Archbishop Wood's Gary Martin claimed the win, running 16:12 in a solo effort, taking the win out of heat two. It was a repeat on the team side, as the Lewisburg Area boys stormed to the victory in a talented field over some strong teams looking to snatch the title from the defending champs.
Gary Martin put down one of the best races of the day en route to a surprise state title. In a mostly solo effort from the second of four heats, Martin went 16:12 -- a time that the Archbishop Wood junior was happy with.
The big pre-race favorite -- Dylan Throop of General McLane -- didn't make the journey down the homestretch as was expected in the final heat. Throop, the defending state champion in AA, fell victim to the heat and did not finish the race.
So it was Martin that was left still atop the standings to claim the victory in AA. Martin's time ended up being the third fastest time of the day. He had plenty of room to spare in AA, too, taking the win by 25 seconds. Talk about a breakthrough performance!
Lewisburg's Jacob Hess won the first heat and took second overall in 16:42, moving up from a fifth place finish last year. Greencastle-Antrim's Weber Long (16:47) took third, matching his finish from the state meet last year. The top three in AA boys are all juniors, so it should be an exciting state meet next year.
Indiana Area's Joel Beckwith won the fourth heat in 16:50 to take fourth overall. Holy Redeemer's Chris Hine was fifth in 16:54, and Kennard-Dale's Garrett Quinan was sixth in 16:58, a second ahead of seventh place Brock Pennington of North East, who was seventh.
Lewisburg Area knew the target was firmly on its back coming into this season. The 2019 AA state champions had a number of returners from last year's team, and were once again favored from the season's onset to take the title in 2020.
In a very strong field, the Green Dragons didn't disappoint. Jacob Hess led the way up front with a second place overall finish in 16:37. Lewisburg got two others on the medal stand with Gianluca Perrone placing 18th in 17:30 and Calvin Bailey placing 23rd in 17:36.
The first heat of teams, which featured Lewisburg, also included District 6's Central Cambria and District 3's Kennard-Dale, two of the defending champions' top would-be challenges. It was a very competitive heat. Central Cambria, paced by an eighth place finish by Toby Cree, took second with 71 points, 14 back of Lewisburg.
Kennard-Dale, led by Garrett Quinan's sixth place run, was third with 81. Grove City Area, the District 10 champions, were fourth with 94 points, and District 7 winners Greensburg Salem were fifth with 142 points.