The PIAA Foundation Meet is an excellent opportunity for runners across the state to preview the challenging Parkview Course in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Saturday, September 24th, there will be three varsity boy's and girl's races split up by classification. The day will also hold a boy's and girl's junior varsity race.
We're breaking down every race!
Girls White (1A) - 9:00 A.M.
Girls Blue (2A) - 9:45 A.M.
Girls Gold (3A) - 10:30 A.M.
Boys White (1A) - 11:15 A.M.
Boys Blue (2A) - 12:00 P.M.
Boys Gold (3A) - 12:45 P.M.
JV Girls - 1:30 P.M.
JV Boys - 2:15 P.M.
Starting off the day and breaking in the course will be the 1A girls.
Already running a personal best of 19:30.00 at the 47th Annual Cliff Robbins Sr. Memorial Invitational (fastest 1A time coming into the race), expect to see Lacey Danilovitz of Riverside leading the charge. She was last year's 1A 14th place finisher at the state meet.
Danilovitz won't be alone on Saturday as she is accompanied by five other returning state medalists. Grace Neubert of Elk County Catholic (5th), Alexis Abbett of Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh (6th), Carissa Flynn of Mountain View Junior Senior High School (13th), Ava Whysong of Chestnut Ridge (16th), and Sophia Bille of Elk County Catholic (17th).
The 2A girl's race will be an exciting one to watch.
There should be a tactical battle out front as NC State commit Jolena Quarzo of Brownsville Area, and Harley Kletz of Montour will be toeing the line on Saturday. Quarzo is last year's 2A state runner-up, while Kletz took 3rd at the championship.
There should be an intense chase pack behind them as there are four more returning state medalists in the race. Maizy Aikey of Bloomsburg (8th), Shaela Kruskie of Selinsgrove (9th), Lakyn Schaltenbrand of Montour (10th), and Annaliese Niebauer of Central Cambria (12th).
Sarah Clark of Cathedral Prep is an individual to keep an eye on in this race. Clark was just one place out of medals at last year's state championship meet.
You won't want to blink an eye during the 3A girl's race, as five of the top six finishers from the 2021 state championship will be out for the win.
Anticipate Logan St. John Kletter of Mount Lebanon to be leading the way. She was last year's 3A state runner-up and has already run an impressive time of 18:11.00 at the 20th Annual Red, White, Blue Classic earlier this season.
You can't count out the other returning state medalists, though, when it comes to going for the win. Claire Zubey of Owen J. Roberts (3rd), Shana Kearney of Bensalem (4th), Eva Kynaston of North Allegheny (5th), Wren Kucler of North Allegheny (6th), Lillian DiCola of Hatboro Horsham (14th), Emily Simko of Hatboro Horsham (16th), Robin Kucler of North Allegheny (23rd) and Ella Woehlcke of Mount Saint Joseph Academy (24th) are all capable of a good finish.
Some other runners off to a good start this season include Natalie McLean of Pine Richland, Summer Watts of Perkiomen Valley, Marlee Kwasnica of State College Area High School, and Ashley Landis of Pennridge.
On the boy's side, the action won't take long to get started. Some of the top 1A returners will be clashing on the course.
There are two stand-out returns with great odds of leading the race. Jenkintown's Oliver Michell ran a personal best of 15:57.00 at the Mill Street Run two weeks ago. He was also the 3rd place finisher at the 2021 1A state meet. Just 3.6 seconds behind him at last year's state meet was Calan Bollman of Chestnut Ridge, who took 4th place.
It won't be a walk in the park for the front runners as a trio of returning state medalists will also be in Saturday's race. Daniel Danilovitz of Riverside(11th), Kevin Sherry of Coudersport (20th), and Dillon Green of Marion Center Area (24th).
The front pack of the 2A boy's race is a stacked field composed of 12 returning state medalists.
Colin Whitaker of Lampeter Strasburg will be pushing the pace up front. He was last year's 6th place finisher at the 2A state championship and has already run a considerable time of 15:04.30 at the Adidas XC Challenge just last week. Whitaker currently has the leading 5k time across all Pennsylvania classifications.
Expect to see Ryan Pajak of Ringgold going for the win. He was last year's 8th-place finisher at the 2A state championship. This year he's run a competitive time of 15:13.00 at the 20th Annual Red, White, and Blue Classic.
The other returning state medalist making up the field are Rory Lieberman of Danville Area (5th), Logan Strawser of Juniata (7th), Luke Brown of Cathedral Prep (10th), Matthew Santana of Northwestern Lehigh (12th), Manny Diaz of Bradford Area (14th), Joshua Jones (Grove City Area (16th), Aiden Lechleitner of Central Cambria (17th), Owen Cummings of Cowanesque Valley (20th), Nick Hockenbury of Lake Lehman (24th), and Dominic Flitcraft of Hopewell (25th).
The depth in the 3A boy's race is profound this year too. There may only be six returning medalists, but there is an ample number of runners with the potential to compete on Saturday.
Anticipate Brett Kroboth of Peters Township to lead the way. He was the 5th place finisher at last year's 3A state meet. Earlier this season, at the 20th Annual Red, White, and Blue Classic, he ran a time of 15:31.00.
Saturday's race will also have to return state medalists; Brian DiCola of Hatboro Horsham (9th), Jack Bertram of North Allegheny (13th), Aryan Abbaraju of Unionville (17th), Aidan Hodge of Hempfield (20th), and Timothy Roden of Central Dauphin (21st).
Other names to keep an eye on are all runners who have run impressive times already this season. Andrew Mcgonigle of Owen J. Roberts, Kamden Kramer of McDowell, Joseph Fahrney of Hempfield, Jake Borgesi of South Fayette, and Gregory Kossuth of North Allegheny.
On the boys side four ranked Pennsylvania teams will be in attendance as well as two teams on the bubble. Those include:
#1 North Allegheny
#5 Hempfield (3)
#6 Grove City
#9 Manheim Township
NR - South Fayette
NR - McDowell
On the girls side we get a treat with six ranked teams and three bubble teams in attendance. We may see a major shake up in our rankings after this week. Those teams include;
#1 North Allegheny
#4 State College
#6 Peters Township
#7 South Fayette
#8 Mount Lebanon
NR - Central Cambria
NR - Beaver Area
NR - Pine Richland
This may be the first week we see some teams at full strength and these teams highlight our ones to watch going into the week.