Meet Preview: PTXC 12.2

Girls Gold Race Preview - PTXC 12.2

Caroline Mehlhorn of Montgomery (NJ) won the Blue Race at PTXC 10 and then again at PTXC 11. Now a senior, she will move to the Gold Race. She enters the meet at NJ#5 looking to win at PTXC for a third time in her career and she will be the favorite. Though it has the potential to be close up front.

Governor Mifflin's Kaitlyn Highduch (PA#13) is coming off a big freshman campaign that saw her place 16th at the state meet in AAA. She started off her season with a PR of 18:33 to win the Keystone Cup, and looks to be off on the right foot during her sophomore season. Expect Highduch to put herself right in the mix. Chambersburg's Camryn Kiser (PA#17) is another girl to watch. She was eighth at PTXC 11 as a freshman. Now a junior, she's hungry for a big fall and it starts on Saturday with a good matchup.

The strong contingent of District 3 girls doesn't stop there. Mifflin County's Kylee Cubbison and Warwick's Ella Hartel, a pair of MileSplit50 bubble girls, will be out to prove they deserve a spot in the state's top 25. Hershey's Brooke Preputnick is off to a strong start this season, earning a win at the Run For Chocolate a few weeks ago. Preputnick and her teammate Emma Taylor should be right up near the front. Northeastern's Marissa Pritchett and Bella Treglia are a pair of top five contenders, too.

Pennridge's Nora Ritting has an impressive start her season last week, placing third at the Northampton Invite in 19:11. She'll look to keep the momentum going into this week. Mercer Area's Willow Myers is one to watch for. The junior is making a long trip to Kutztown this weekend. She was 13th in PIAA Class A last fall and has a 5:08 1,600m to her name. Anna Avila of the Academy of Holy Cross (MD) will be a factor after running 18:58 for 5K last fall.

This is a deep field. Others with a good shot at high finishes are Montgomery's (NJ) Julia Scrudato, Scranton's Bella Noreika, William Tennent's Makala Hansen, and the Strath Haven trio of Hannah Prokup, Rowe Crawford, and Gwyneth Stach.

The team race should be interesting. The Mehlhorn-led Montgomery (NJ) girls enter the meet at NJ#6 and will be looking to secure the win. But a number of on-the-rise Pennsylvania programs will be looking to steal the spotlight. Hershey (PA#9) took down PA#4 Mechanicsburg Area in a duel meet earlier this week. Hershey could make another big statement with a strong showing on Saturday.

Pennridge was the top squad at last week's Northampton Invitational, taking the overall team title to open up its season. Warwick is a team to watch this season and could make a nice splash in this Gold Race. Governor Mifflin had a solid opener at the Keystone Cup and should be in line for another strong meet here.

Strath Haven, Northeastern, Exeter Township, and Chambersburg are among the other teams to watch for. It's always tough to predict how teams will perform in these early season meets, but this race should give us a good barometer.

Girls Blue Race Preview - PTXC 12.2

The individual battle in the Blue Race will bring together some intriguing names. Preseason PA#21 Emily Simko will look to keep the momentum going. In her last XC race, the Hatboro Horsham junior was a surprise 24th place finisher at the state meet in AAA. She will look to start off her season with a win.

But she will have some company up front. Lansdale Catholic's Isabella Greco started off her season with a 19:24 for sixth place at the Northampton Invitational this past week. Look for Greco to put herself in the front pack. The same goes for Krista Jones of Elk Lake, who also started her season off with an impressive showing. Jones went 19:09 -- a 5K PR -- for fourth at Lock Haven this past Saturday.

Downingtown East's Madison Brown, Saucon Valley's Emma Szydlow, Daniel Boone's Natalee Kryman, and Honesdale's Brenna Dahlgren are among the other contenders in this field.

The team battle should be a close one. Honesdale, which has a lot of returners from last year's squad will be a team to watch against some District 1 AAA squads like Central Bucks East and Downingtown East. Saucon Valley and Conestoga Valley will look to get in the mix for high finishes as well. It looks wide open going into the meet.