Race Recap: PIAA Boys AA

A pair of streaks were kept alive in the AA boys race. Gary Martin repeated on the individual side against a very strong field. Then the Lewisburg Area boys won their third straight AA team title against a similarly strong field of teams.


The race went out scorching fast. Gary Martin, the state record holding miler and defending AA boys XC champion, went out very hard and he had company up front. Martin, an Archbishop Wood senior, went through the first mile mark in 4:41, and not too far behind was Greencastle-Antrim's Weber Long and Lewisburg's Jacob Hess.

Martin stayed in front, though, and came home for the win in 15:46 -- the fastest time of the day -- and a successful defense of his AA crown. After his two state titles in track last year and his XC title from last fall, that makes four state golds for Martin in total for his career.

Long fought hard and placed second, also dipping under 16 minutes with a 15:59. He never let Martin get too far ahead. Hess grabbed his fourth top ten state meet finish. The senior was third in 16:05 to make it a fourth impressive performance at the state meet.

Susquehannock's Matthew O'Brien took fourth in 16:08, closing well over the last mile. Danville's Rory Lieberman was fifth in 16:11His fifth top five finish of the season) and Lampeter-Strasburg's Colin Whitaker came across sixth in 16:22. Juniata's Logan Strawser was seventh, Ringgold's Ryan Pajak was eighth, Lansdale Catholic's Anthony Gargani took ninth, and Cathedral Prep's Luke Brown rounded out the top ten with a tenth place run.

The Lewisburg Area boys knew this state title would be among their hardest to win in the last three years. But just as they did in 2019 and 2020, the Green Dragons came out on top, nabbing an impressive third straight PIAA Class AA team title.

Lewisburg scored 87 points to capture title No. 3 in a row, turning the team race into a bit of a runaway in what was a very deep year for teams in the classification. Jacob Hess led the way as the lowstick once again, taking third overall. Then the pack came into play, with Lewisburg's next four boys finishing within just 12 seconds of each other. Thomas Hess ran well to take 28th in 17:14. Then freshman Jonathan Hess was 34th in 17:19. Seniors Bryce Ryder (44th in 17:25) and Connor Murray (46th in 17:26) rounded out the scorers. Kieran Murray provided good depth as the No. 6 runner, taking 56th in 17:36.

Lewisburg went out hard and held on to grab the victory. Grove City Area ran well to take second with 107 points and the smallest 1-5 spread in the field of just 53 seconds. Six of the Eagles top seven -- including top runner Joshua Jones (16th overall) will return next year.

Northwestern Lehigh ran to a third place team performance, scoring 130 points. The Tigers edged out fourth place Lampeter Strasburg, which scored 131 for fourth place. Greencastle-Antrim was fifth with 153 points and Central Cambria was sixth with 167.