By Jayson Jackson
Photo by Doug Michaels
Quaker Valley has been knocking on the door to the state championship for the last two years. The big question is if this is the year they break through and bring the title back to District 7. They are consistently ranked in the top 5 AA teams, even holding the top spot over the last few years. But being #1 at the end of the season continues to elude them. The near misses are definitely motivation, but it hasn’t been enough for them yet, but maybe this is their year.
Standing in their way will be a strong Holy Redeemer squad that won the District 2 Championship by knocking off the preseason #1 Elk Lake. Holy Redeemer used a 72-second compression to claim the title. Holy Redeemer was 4th in 2009 and has the potential to make the jump up to one of the top two teams in the state. Their pack needs to tighten up a little bit and they appear headed in the right direction.
Also in the hunt will be Northeast Bradford who finished 7th in 2009. They easily outdistanced the always formidable District 4 competition by 53 points, by keeping all five scorers under 18 minutes. Northeast Bradford returned 6 of their top 7 from 2009 and kept their top 5 intact. They will need their top 2 to crack the top 25, if they want to have a legitimate shot of shaking things up in Hershey.
Northeast Bradford did defeat Holy Redeemer on September 25th at the PIAA Foundation meet, 66-177.
District 10 always seems to send several strong team to represent themselves in Hershey and this year is no different. Only nine points separated Fairview (1st) and Northeast (2nd) at the District Championship. The race was pretty even through four runners, but Fairview’s #5 runner was able to stay close to their #4 and beat Northeast’s #4 and 5, which sealed up the win. Fairview was 5th in 2009, while Northeast finished 8th, and both teams will look to make the jump and reach the stage.
The individuals on the medal stand will look a lot different in 2009, because the AA Boys were hit the hardest of any classification by graduation. Only 9 of the top 25 return from 2009. Of those nine, only 3 managed to crack the top ten. With Valley View moving up to AAA, Alex Woodrow of Marion Center (Left in photo by Tim O'Dowd) is the top returner. He defended his District 6 title and looks poised to finish in the top three. Woodrow was slowed by an ankle injury a few weeks ago, but looks to be back in top form and ready for his final PIAA XC Championship.
He will be joined in the lead pack by Saegertown’s Nate Tallada (Right in photo by Tim O'Dowd) , who owns finishes of 10th (2009) and 12th (2008) at the state meet. Tallada was three seconds better than Woodrow at the 9/25 Foundation Meet in their first 2010 tour of the course. Tallada was in a tough battle at the District 10 championship, where he was able to hold off talented Northeast Sophomore, Ryan Smathers. The District 10 duo will definitely be looking to crack the top five and put an exclamation point on their strong seasons.
Harold Lamour from Carver Engineering and Sciences was the other top ten finisher from 2009. Lamour won the District 12 race by 43 seconds. Lamour has raced well at the famed Belmont Plateau and will look to take the lessons learned from that tough course to use to his advantage in Hershey.
As is always discussed, District 3 athletes have the advantage or disadvantage of racing on the Hershey course the week before states. It will be interesting to see how District 3 Champ Tommy Gruschow from Trinity uses last week’s race. The one who might have figured something out is last year’s 11th place finisher, Kutztown’s Nate Noll. Last year, Noll ran 17:33 at Districts and dropped 28-seconds to run 17:05 at states. This year, he is coming in with a 17:06 at District to finish second. Does he have another big drop in store for this weekend? The course was altered this year for District 3 to take out the steep downhill and Poop-Out Hill near the finish.
Alex Woodrow of Marion Center (6th)
Harold Lamour of Engineering and Science (9th) (Left in photo by Lex Mercado)
Nate Tallada of Saegertown (10th)
Nate Noll of Kutztown (11th)
Nat Fox of Quaker Valley (20th)
Donny Scatena of Central Columbia (22nd)
Mike Bedell of Elk Lake (23rd)
A J Limongelli of Holy Redeemer (24th)
Chad King of Bishop McCourt (25th)