PREVIEW: PTXC 13 - The National Meet of the Week

PTXC 13, presented by Brooks, is MileSplit's Meet of the Week for good reason. Some of the best teams and individuals in the Northeast will square off on Kutztown's historic "Farm Course". We're previewing the action and looking at some of the top individuals and teams ahead of the action on Saturday.

Meet Information

Course Tour

The Boys' Side of Action:

On paper, Saint Anthony's (NY) is likely the favorite, but a few teams in the wings can give them a run for their money. Saint Anthony's returns seven runners who have gone 17:30 or faster and three who have broken 17. They enter with a 1-5 split of 27 seconds (based on personal best), which may be a deciding factor late in the Gold Race. They are considered one of the best returning teams in New York, so a lot of eyes will be on them to see where they end up. We wouldn't be surprised to see five of their runners in the top 15.

Souderton Area is coming off a third-place finish at the Northampton Invitational and may be best positioned to challenge Saint Anthony's. The contingent placed three runners in the top five at Northampton. Aiden Maue, James Kuduk, and Aidan Kearns ran 16:15 or quicker over the relatively flat course. Notably, their fifth runner AJ Gardner ran a minute-plus PR and over two minutes faster than what he ran last year at the same meet. His improvement has not gone unnoticed, and it'll be interesting to watch his strides over the rest of the season to help his team.

Last week they were challenged by their 1-5 split of 1:26, which ultimately kept them from a win. This week they'll be challenged by the hills instead. The question arises whether the variation in the course will hurt or help the bright team.

Danbury High School(CT) is an intriguing school heading into the Gold Race on Saturday. They recently ran a 3k time trial and had eight boys run 9:45 or faster.

The 2021 Maryland 4A State Champions, Severna Park (Maryland), head to PTXC 13 this year after opening the season with a second-place finish at the Seahawk Invitational. They averaged 16:43 over the 3-mile course and carried a 1:05 1-5 split. Liam Hagerty will be contending for the individual title upfront; he ran 16:01 in his opener.

We expect Lewisburg Area to be in the mix in the Gold Race. Mendham HS (NJ) will likely take home the victory in the Blue Race.

Individuals to Watch:

The aforementioned Hagerty ran 17:17 over this course last year to finish 34th. There is no question that the Kutztown "Farm Course" is a difficult one to master, so we'll be watching how he improves after running as fast as 15:49 at Garmin RunningLane last year.

Aiden Maue (Souderton Area) had a breakout race last week, and we may be witnessing the rise of a new contender in Pennsylvania. He ran 15:57 at the Northampton Invitational despite never having broken 16:30 in the 5k, 10:00 in the 3200m, or 4:40 in the 1600m. It would appear as though his summer miles are paying off, and he is undoubtedly on our list of ones to watch.

We gave Brian DiCola well-deserved praise in our 3A Ones To Watch this pre-season. Everything we wrote still stands true, as he is expected to make his season debut this week.

Here's what we said:

"It would be best if you did not overlook Brian DiCola (Hatboro Horsham), who may enjoy another convincing season. DiCola may be the favorite by the season's midpoint, especially after he beat Griffith and O'Brien at the 3A State Outdoor Track and Field championship this May.

DiCola is coming off a season that saw him ranked first in the state in the 3000m, fourth in the Mile, and fourth in the 3200m. After winning the District 1 Championship in the Mile and 3200m, he placed third in the state 3200m championship.

Last year he ran 15:26 at the Paul Short Run."

Jordan Tiday (Cumberland Valley) and Devon Rosemark (Danbury, CT) are both expected to lead their respective teams, and we'll be watching to see where they finish in the end.

Girls' Side of Action:

The girls race isn't as clear-cut concerning our favorites heading in.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Severna Park Girls team. They are coming off a victory at the Seahawk Invitational that saw the squad finish with a 20:16 average over the 3 Mile course.

Severna Park has the benefit of depth and a tight pack to lead the way. If they can pile in their numbers after the first few finishers, another team may find it difficult to respond.

If any team can challenge them, it will be Pennridge. Pennridge opened their season at the Northampton and finished third. They fell to an impressive Emmaus team and lost a tiebreaker for second with Southern Lehigh. That relegated them to third, but their run was nothing short of noteworthy.

They had three girls run 19:47 or faster to help their eventual team average come out to 19:55. They'll be challenged by their 1-5 spread and the difficulty of the Kutztown Farm Course at PTXC. Pennridge was led by Ashley Landis, who ran 18:51 in their season debut.

Chambersburg could give both teams a run. This week, they opened their season with a tri-meet and gave the powerful State College Area team a run. That squad is led by Camryn Kiser, who has gone as fast as 18:23 over 5k. She finished second at PTXC 12.2 last year with her 19:03. Chambersburg will rely on her to snatch a low stick to remain competitive.

Council Rock South, Abington Heights, and Cumberland Valley should also have strong showings.

    Individuals to Watch:

    Lillian DiCola (Hatboro Horsham) ran 18:07 to finish second at Paul Short last year. She then finished third at the District 1 Championships and 14th at the PIAA 3A State Championship. Like her brother, she had an impressive Outdoor Track Season, highlighted by her 10:52 3200m at the District 1 3A Championships.

    Emily Simko shouldn't be far behind her teammate DiCola. She also carries a sub-19 minute PR in the 5k and ran 5:04 over 1600m this past track season. If she is close to the front, she may have the speed to steal a win.

    With their season debuts looming, many eyes will be on them at the front of the pack on Saturday. 

    Senior Brooke Preputnick (Hershey) has enjoyed a lot of success over the past few seasons. Her 5-flat 1600m PR ranks amongst the best in this field, and her 10:48 3200m PR should not be discounted. She finished 8th at the 3A State Championships in the 3200m event this past spring and should be a force to be reckoned with this week.

    Julia Scrudato (Montgomery HS NJ) will likely gap the field early in the Blue Race. She was sixth at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions this year in the 1600m, having run a blistering 4:56. She also finished second at her respective Group Championship in the 3200m, with her 10:45. If she were in the Gold Race, she would be contending for the win. But, in the Blue Race, she is a clear-cut favorite.

    Brooke Hunter (Phillipsburg HS), Ella Hartel (Warwick), and the aforementioned Kiser will also be in contention.