PIAA AAA Boys Championship Preview

22-05-2019 19:05

The Performance Lists and heat sheets have been released. Below is an event by event guide of Central PA Athletes competing at this weekend’s PIAA Track and Field Championships.

100m

Shawn Brown (CD East), Tyeshawn Worrell (Chambersburg), and Kamere Day (Harrisburg) are the top 3 seeds in the 100m heading into the weekend. Prelims for the 100m will be held on Friday with semifinals and finals held Saturday. I can’t remember a time that District III (D3) held the top 3 seeds in the 100m going into states. This past weekend’s D3 100m final was special with a photo finish needed to separate the top 3 places. Video of the race can be found here and @centralparunner on twitter. Harrisburg’s Donte Kent is the #7 seed and Mechanicsburg’s Joseph Bruno is seeded #11 for this weekend’s championships.

Other local competitors: Connor Adams, Altoona (#16); Da’Avionce Rodriguez, JP McCaskey (#20); Cole Boback, Carlisle (#23); Trent Howe, Hollidaysburg (#25)

Of note – only Adams, Boback, and Howe are seniors. The remainder of our local competitors will be back at it again in 2020!

200m

Lampeter-Strasburg senior and Duke University signee Ezra Mellinger ran away with the 200m title at the D3 Championships. His 21.54s performance has him seeded 2nd in the event. Penn State commit Savion Hebron of Neshaminy is the event’s top seed with his 21.35s winning time at the District 1 Championships. CD East’s Shawn Brown (seeded 7th) and Mechanicsburg’s Joseph Bruno (seeded 11th) will be looking to make finals in both the 100m and 200m dashes. Brown will be busy this weekend as he will also be competing on CD East’s state record breaking 4x100m relay team.

Other local competitors: Jerome Jessup, Red Lion (#13); Ryan Fegley, Warwick (#20); Donte Kent, Harrisburg (#26); Alex Hynoski, State College (#29)

400m

CD East will have a shot at the overall team title based on their sprinters alone. The 400m is yet another event in which a CD East athlete is ranked at or near the top of the seeds. Stephon Brown is the #1 seed entering the state championship meet. He has run under 48-seconds multiple times this season and did it again in winning the D3 title this past Saturday. Looking to challenge him will be Cumberland Valley’s James Jaisingh who is seeded 2nd. Jaisingh is one of three breakout sophomore 400m runners from the Mid-Penn Conference. Joining Jaisingh in the hunt for state medals will be his sophomore teammate David Williams and Gettysburg sophomore Noah Sanders. Both Williams and Sanders ran 49.13s at Districts and enter the state meet seeded tied for 6th. Penn Manor senior Chad Mowbray is seeded 12th, but could easily earn his way into the 8-man final based on seed times.

Other local competitors: Jujuan Oliver, Harrisburg (#17; another Mid-Penn sophomore); Trent Howe, Hollidaysburg (#22)

800m

It can sometimes be tough to get a good read on distance seeds based off of district performances alone. Not surprisingly, these races sometimes turn tactical and the times don’t reflect ability, nor often represent season best performances. That is the case here and also the case for the 1600m and 3200m races. Ephrata junior Tyler Shue is the top returner in the state at 800m, finishing runner-up last season. He won the PTFCA Indoor State title at 800m this past winter. He comes into the meet seeded 11th based off of his district time. In most high level competitions all season he has run the 1600m/800m double and has lowered his 1600m PR to 4:15. He has opted out of the 1600m to focus on the 800m this weekend. Look for him to lower his outdoor 800m PR of 1:53.85 in Saturday’s finals.

Mifflin County’s Seth Phillips may be peaking at the right time. He lowered his outdoor SB by nearly 3 full seconds at the District 6 championships, running 1:54.97. He finished 10th last season and will be looking to be on the medal stand this year. Jack Wisner (Pitt commit) of Carlisle, Dylan Servis (LaSalle commit) of Twin Valley, and Conner Shields (Notre Dame commit) of Warwick all have SBs and PRs significantly faster than their seed times. They all got caught up in the same tactical D3 race as Tyler Shue (race footage here). They come into states seeded 13th, 18th, and 19th respectively, but could all advance to the 12-man final on Saturday and challenge for a state medal. These 3 will also all be competing for their respective 4x800m teams who are in good positions to move onto Saturday’s finals.

Other local competitors: Riley Klick, Lebanon (#20); Tayshawn Golden, New Oxford (#23)

1600m

Evan Dorenkamp (Penn State commit) of Manheim Township comes into the weekend with the fastest 1600m time in the state this year. He and Ephrata’s Tyler Shue have had epic races the past two weekends with Dorenkamp getting the upper hand in the 1600s and Shue winning the 800s. These two are arguably the top middle distance runners in the state. While Shue focuses on the 800m this weekend, Dorenkamp will go for gold at 1600m. The Manheim Township senior has shown he can win from a fast pace (see LL League championship) or from a tactical race (see D3 Championships). At the D3 meet, he ran 2:16/2:01 splits for 800m with a 56-second closing 400m (video here).

Dorenkamp’s top competition will likely come from Patrick Anderson of Mount Lebanon, Tyler Wirth (Cincinnati commit) of Wallenpaupack, and Zach Kinne (Duke commit) of North Allegheny. Anderson won the AAA XC title this past fall and finished 29th at the New Balance National XC Championships in San Diego. He also finished runner-up in the mile at the PTSCA Indoor State Championship. Wirth finished one spot behind Anderson in the mile at indoor states. He finished one spot ahead of Dorenkamp this fall at XC states. Wirth has the fastest 1600m PR of the group at 4:14.13 which he ran last season. Kinne was the AAA runner-up in cross and won the PTSCA Indoor state tile at 3k this winter. He will be doing the 1600/3200m double this weekend. Chayce Macknair (Shippensburg commit) of Mifflin County, Nate Grucelski (Navy commit) of Conestoga Valley, and Alexander Ermold (Shippensburg commit) of Governor Mifflin also figure to be in the title mix. All have run 4:16 PRs on the year and have shown they have the speed to run fast 800s and the strength to run solid 3200s. They may match Dorenkamp’s speed better than Anderson or Kinne. Macknair is another runner in this race who finished top 10 at the AAA state XC championships, finishing 8th. He will join Kinne in running the 1600/3200m double.

All told, this should be a very competitive race. Here is a look at the season best times of athletes in this field:

Other local competitors: Justin Rittenhouse, Hempfield (#18; University of Miami commit); Trentin Overcash, Chambersburg (#25); Zachary Toth, Palmyra (#27)

3200m

District 7 comes into the championship owning the top 5 seeds in the 3200m. The North Allegheny duo of Zachary Kinne and Daniel McGoey hold down the top two spots having run 9:13 and 9:18 respectively at their district meet. Greensburg-Salem’s Cameron Binda (Youngstown State commit) finished 3rd at the D7 meet, but has the fastest time in the state so far this season when he ran 9:07.99 at the Pine-Richland Invite on May 3rd.

Casey Padgett of Carlisle dropped a big PR at the District III meet when he won with a 9:25.96. This was a 16-second PR and it came off of a slow opening mile that saw the leaders come through in 4:52/53. Carlisle athletes have a strong history peaking at the state meet (see Zach Brehm, Isaac Kole as examples in the recent past). Could Padgett improve his PR even further on Saturday? Mechanicsburg’s Brandan Knepper and Manheim Township’s Ian Miller (High Point commit) have been strong all year. Knepper finished 12th and Miller 13th at the PIAA AAA XC Championships. Miller then went on to place 6th in the state indoor 3k final. Miller has lowered his outdoor 1600m PR to 4:23.98 and Knepper has lowered his to 4:24.26. These two are very evenly matched and as seniors will be looking to go out on a high earning a place on the medal stand. Chayce Macknair (Mifflin County) has the fastest 1600m PR of the group. If the race turns tactical his speed could have an impact on the 2nd half of the race.

Other local competitors: Jakolby Fackler, Palmyra (#16); Andrew Foster, Ephrata (#17; Shippensburg commit); Jonathan Thrush, Muhlenberg (#23)

Of interest: Shippensburg University signed Chayce Macknair, Alexander Ermold, and Andrew Foster (that I am aware of). Pretty impressive 2019 distance signing class!

110mH

Emmanuel Niang of CD East will be looking to secure some big team points in the 110mH this weekend. CD East is one of a handful of schools that will contend for the AAA team title and if they are to win will need Niang to perform well here. He comes in as the #3 seed and has a season best time of 14.29. District 7’s Jared Bannon of Hempfield Area is ranked #1 at 14.11. District VI champ Lokey Howell (State College) is the #6 seed with the 14.53 PR he set this past weekend. Demonte Martin of Eastern York and Jaidyn Parris of Milton Hershey are seeded 9th and 10th and will be in strong contention to get into the 8-man final.

Other local competitors: Isaiah Barnes, Altoona (#16); Kadan Smith, Red Lion (#20); Shamar Hunt, Red Land (#24); Alex Miller, Cedar Crest (#27)

300mH

Penn Wood junior Timmy Odunjo is the only athlete in the field who has run sub-38s this season and he has done it multiple times. He is your favorite and has a SB and PR of 37.80. JP McCaskey’s Dejon Manning is Central PA’s best hope to challenge Odunjo. Manning, also a junior, will be looking to earn a spot on the state medal stand for the first time in his career. He has improved his speed over last season and most recently ran a 22.12 200m PR shortly after winning district gold at 300mH. He could be in for a big day come Saturday’s finals. His SB and PR is 38.43 and he is seeded 3rd entering the meet.

State College Area’s Zach DeCarmine has run 38.79 this season and was the District VI champion. He has run the state’s 5th fastest time this year, but enters the meet seeded 13th off of his district performance. Manheim Central’s Zach Reed was runner-up to Manning at the District III meet and comes into Friday’s prelims seeded 8th with a time of 39.23. Andrew Paskey of York Suburban should also challenge for a place in Saturday’s finals. He ran 39.48 at districts and is only 0.25s off of Reed’s time. The top 8 in Friday’s prelims advance to Saturday’s finals.

Other local competitors: Loago Snavely, Conestoga Valley (#16); Jonathan Boyd, Exeter (#19); Derek Heisey, Elizabethtown (#24)

4x100m Relay

CD East comes into the state meet having just set the PA State Record at the District 3 championships (Race video here). Their time of 41.10 eclipsed the mark set by Harrisburg back in 1998. The PIAA Championship Meet Record is Harrisburg’s 41.14 from 1998. CD East will get pushed by Coatesville (41.54) and Downingtown West (41.76). You can bet CD East will be looking to go sub-41 this weekend.

Chambersburg comes into the meet seeded 5th with a time of 42.16. Chambersburg has put together strong boys relays this season, qualifying for the state championships in all three relay events. The 4×100 and 4×400 will be their best bets to land high on the medal stand. Altoona and JP McCaskey are seeded #7 and #8 with their times of 42.40 and 42.47. 15 teams have run 42.89 or faster this year so expect a close competition.

Other local competitors: State College (#12); Warwick (#16); Cumberland Valley (#18); Shippensburg (#19); Lower Dauphin (#21); Red Lion (#22);

4x400m Relay

PIAA District I dominates the 4x400m relay field, placing 7 teams in the top 10. Neshaminy comes in with the #1 seed after running 3:17.14 at the D1 Championships this past weekend. The top teams from Central PA are Cumberland Valley and Chambersburg seeded 5th and 7th respectively following their 1-2 finish at the D3 Championships (video here). Cumberland Valley ran 3:20.00 while Chambersburg ran 3:20.33. CD East didn’t have their best performance at Districts and comes into states seeded 20th, but they have run 3:21.88 this season. CD East will be battling for a team championship this weekend so don’t be surprised if they bounce back and challenge for a spot in the 4x400m finals.

Other local competitors: Carlisle (#13); Susquehanna Township (#16); State College (#18); Ephrata (#19)

4x800m Relay

Cedar Crest dropped a big season best winning the District III title in 7:51.77. They enter competition as the #3 seed overall. This group from Cedar Crest has had a very successful 2018/2019 season as they also won the D3 AAA XC Championship. Finishing top 3 on Saturday would be the icing on the cake. To win gold, Cedar Crest will need to overtake two District 1 teams in Central Bucks West (7:47.22) and Central Bucks South (7:51.33).

Warwick (7:56.01), Twin Valley (7:56.04), and Cumberland Valley (7:57.25) are also in prime position to earn a spot in Saturday morning’s finals. They enter the meet seeded 7th, 8th, and 11th respectively.

Other local competitors: Carlisle (#17, 8:00.87); Chambersburg (#18, 8:01.06); State College (#26, 8:20.19 -ran 8:04.97 at Mid-Penns)

High Jump

Warwick sophomore Nate Good hit a big PR in winning the District III HJ title. His 6-8 clearance seeds him 1st heading into the state meet. Video of Nate’s clearance can be seen here from @WarwickWarriors. The top 8 seeds all cleared 6-5 or higher at their respective district meets. Central PA athletes who have cleared 6-4 or higher this season and qualified for the state meet include: Conrad Moore, State College (6-9); Juan Mato-Segura, Reading (6-7); Joe Cardina, Conestoga Valley (6-6); Harrison Wittmeyer, Berks Catholic (6-6); Camdyn Allen, Susquehanna Township (6-4).

Conrad Moore has the states #1 performance this season when he cleared 6-9 at the Mid-Penn Conference Championships. This should be a closely contested competition with multiple local athletes in contention for state gold and several others in position for state medals.

Other local competitors: Andrew LaManna, West York (6-3); Dustin Edwards, South Western (6-2)

Pole Vault

John Franco of Council Rock South cleared 16-0 feet at the District I Championships and is the event’s #1 seed. Central PA competitors hold 6 of the top 10 seeds in the Pole Vault. Penn Manor’s Matt Julian is seeded 2nd. He too had a nice PR this past weekend when he won District III gold with a 15-7 jump. Julian finished 2nd at the PTSCA Indoor State meet and will be in contention for a state title this weekend. He has cleared 15-feet multiple times this year. His consistency will certainly benefit him. State College Area’s Luke Knipe is seeded 3rd which was the same place finish he earned indoors. He has an indoor PR of 15-6 and outdoor PR of 15-3. Northern’s Michael Ginder hit the 15-foot mark for the first time at the D3 Championships. He will look to continue to build off of that performance. Hershey’s Dan Hyatt has been another consistent performer this season, regularly clearing 14-3 to 14-6 in big meets. He comes in seeded 6th based on district performances. David Wasson from State College has also been consistently clearing 14-0 to 14-6 this season and comes in seeded 8th.

In events like the High Jump and Pole Vault, consistency is one of the best traits a competitor can have. This bodes well for the athletes mentioned above. Their ability to consistency clear 14-0 and higher should position them well.

Other local competitors: Ian Dorefice, State College (14-3; only a freshman!); Josiah Zehr, Lampeter-Strasburg (14-0); Isaiah Blatt, Hamburg (14-0); Matt Pauley, Conrad Weiser (13-6)

Long Jump

Ezra Mellinger (Lampeter-Strasburg) will be shooting for double gold this weekend in the 200m and Long Jump. He won the indoor state title this winter when he jumped out to 24-11.5. That jump ranked him US #2 indoors. This outdoor season he has continued to jump over 24-feet on multiple occasions and is seeded 1st. Could he go over 25-feet Saturday morning? Manheim Central’s Will Rivers comes into states seeded only 19th, but he has jumped a PA#4 23-07.5 this season. Look for him to improve upon his performance from districts. State College has 3 athletes competing in the Long Jump. Luke Knipe (SB – 23-06), Lance Hamilton (SB – 23-04.25), and Jake Hefkin (SB – 22-09.75) come in seeded 8th, 9th, and 11th. State College could also contend for a team title. Whereas CD East will rely on the sprints, State College will largely rely on their field event athletes and hurdlers.

Other local competitors: Colson Martin, Spring Grove (#20); Jakari Lomax, Harrisburg (#21); Kurtis Ravenel, Carlisle (#23); Kevin Suero, Shippensburg (#24)

Triple Jump

Central PA holds down 3 of the top 4 seeds in the triple jump competition. State College’s Lance Hamilton popped off a 49-08.5 jump to win the District VI title. This is a PA#1 by 1-foot and ranks Hamilton 6th nationally. He will be looking for his first state title Friday morning. Ranked PA#2 is Harrisburg’s Jakari Lomax. He has a season best leap of 48-08.25. Will Rivers of Manheim Central is ranked PA#3 and has a season best performance of 48-03. Stanley Hamilton of State College has also gone over 48-feet reaching out to 48-00.75. He is PA#4. These 4 are the only athletes in the state this season who have surpassed the 48-ft barrier this year. Hassan Kamara of Milton Hershey will also likely be battling for a state medal. He PR’d at the D3 meet going 46-10.25. He comes into states seeded 8th. Teammate Avohn Cross is seeded 11th with his 46-05 and Carlisle’s Rashad Jeffries is seeded 12th with a 46-02.

Other local competitors: Joe Cardina, Conestoga Valley (#13); Camdyn Allen, Susquehanna Township (#14); Jake Hefkin, State College (#15); Kevin Suero, Shippensburg (#18)

Shot Put

Somerset’s Nickolas Hyde leads the way in the state shot put. He is ranked PA#1 and US#29 following his 62-05 toss at the LHAC meet. His season best puts him nearly 4-feet further than the next closest competitor. He is your favorite going into Friday afternoon’s finals. Two Berks County athletes hold down the #2 and #3 seeds based off of their performances at the District III Championships. Fleetwood’s Jeff Kline has thrown 57-07 this season while Berks Catholic’s Brandon George has reached 57-06. Wilson’s Jack Miller and Chambersburg’s Brock Harmon have both thrown over 55-feet and come into states looking to earn a place on the medal stand. Miller has a SB of 56-08.75 and Harmon has a SB of 55-05. Cocalico’s Brock Gingrich (54-08.25) and Lampeter-Strasburg’s Gabe Frederick (53-11.75) battled it out during LL League competition and could also challenge for a podium spot.

Discus

Central PA is also very well represented at or near the top of the discus performance list. Berks Catholic’s Brandon George is your top seed here with a season best throw of 184-01. George will be attending the University of Pittsburgh on a football scholarship next year. Nickolas Hyde of Somerset is your #3 seed. He has a season best performance of 169-05. Fleetwood’s Jeff Kline (162-07), Northern Lebanon’s Dylan Lambrecht (161-10), Wilson’s Jack Miller (159-10), Chambersburg’s Brock Harmon (154-04), and Cocalico’s Josh Hoover (153-00) all have season best performances that suggest they could find their way onto the medal stand. The top 2 in this event have separated themselves a bit from the field, but the remaining medal positions should be tightly contested.

Javelin

Chris Barrett of Northern and Mark Suminski from Hershey should both be in position to battle for gold in the Javelin. They are 2 of only 3 athletes in AAA that have gone over 200-ft this season. Suminski most recently went over 200 when he won the District III title at Shippensburg last Saturday. Ben Radonovich of West Perry has a SB throw of 189-06 and should be in the medal hunt. Radonovich finished 4th at the D3 meet getting narrowly beat out by Penn Manor’s Joshua Gibson who has a SB toss of 186-01. ELCO’s Brenden Naumen (184-05), Altoona’s Michael Folcarelli (183-03), and Exeter’s Michael Stout (182-03) are all seeded within the top 20. It will likely take a throw of 190-feet, or high 180s to medal as long as the conditions are good.

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