Breakdown: District 7 (WPIAL) Boys

D7-AA Boys - Team & Individuals Breakdown

  • Preseason Rankings: Team | Individual
  • State Qualifying Spots For Teams: 3
  • State Qualifying Spots For Individuals: 15
  • 2020 Individual Champion: Mike Formica (Knoch) - 16:15
  • 2020 Team Champions: Greensburg Salem - 79 points

Individuals Breakdown

The state's top freshman was season was Ringgold's Ryan Pajak. The impressive ninth grader was second at WPIAL's in AA and ninth at the state meet. Seven of the top eight boys in WPIAL-AA were seniors last year, with Pajak being the exception. As he moves into his sophomore season he will be among the premiere tenth graders to keep an eye on.

After Pajak, the door is open for other boys to make a name for themselves in WPIAL-AA. Carson McCoy of Deer Lakes will be one to watch. He  was 12th at WPIALs last season, missing out on state qualification. But the senior is coming off an incredible track season that saw him go 4:16.48 for 1600m and win the AA state crown. If he can convert that track speed into XC speed, he could be in line for a big fall.

Greensburg Salem's Charles Johnson was ninth at WPIALs last season and 62nd at the state meet. He'll look to compete for a high place at WPIALs this season. New Castle's Lucas Bradley, McKeesport's Aaron Elm, North Catholic's Ben Capozzi, Indiana's Owen Putt, and Greensburg Salem's Jacob Smith are the other top 20 WPIAL finishers from 2020 back this season.

Team Breakdown

Ringgold just missed out on the state meet last season. With the pandemic limiting each district/classification to just one team spot, Ringgold fell short of a trip to Hershey, taking second in D7-AA to the district champs from Greensburg Salem by 6 points. This season, there are three spots for the state meet back, and Ringgold may be the team to beat for that spot.

Back is Ryan Pajak for Ringgold, and while they lose their 2-3 runners from last season, they return some good depth and could make some noise on the district and state level.

After that, it looks wide open for the other state spots. Greensburg Salem, last year's district champs that took fifth at the state meet, lose four varsity boys from last season. To contend this year, the Lions will need to add some depth, but this is a strong program that is certainly capable of just that. Teams like Indiana Area (third in the district last year) and Montour (fourth) also lose some key seniors from last year and will need to retool to be a factor this fall.

North Catholic is a team to watch. Fifth in D7-AA last fall, NC brings back six of seven from 2020. They may not have a clear frontrunner, but this squad has good grouping and should contend for a high finish. Keep an eye on teams like New Castle, Uniontown Area, and Knoch. It's a relatively wide open season in D7-AA this year and a number of teams will be looking to capitalize.