Patrick Reilly is back to defend his YAIAA cross country championship, but who will challenge him? Biglerville’s Brady Wilt and New Oxford’s Aaron Gebhart are among the likely contenders.
Before lacing up for this season, find out who else could give chase to Reilly and others with this YAIAA boys’ cross country preview:
PRESEASON TOP 5
1. Red Lion
2. Delone Catholic
4. New Oxford
RUNNERS TO WATCH
Patrick Reilly, Dallastown, Sr.
Brady Wilt, Biglerville, Jr.
Aaron Gebhart, New Oxford, Jr.
Jacob Plank, New Oxford, Sr.
Ethan Gatchell, Red Lion, Jr.
DIVISION I BREAKDOWN
● It’s no coincidence Red Lion (19-0, 6-0 last year) was unbeaten in the league for cross country and won the boys’ Division A track and field title with the help of its distance and relay runners. Take Ethan Gatchell, a junior, who excelled last spring as a sophomore on the track. Entering this fall his older brother, Caleb, has graduated. That leaves the junior, plus seniors Zach Dutton and Andrew Erickson, left to keep the Lions’ run going in Division I.
● With defending YAIAA champion Patrick Reilly back for his senior year, Dallastown (17-2, 4-2) should be in position to challenge the Lions. Reilly also was voted by league coaches as the Division I runner of the year last season. The Wildcats could be primed to overtake Red Lion this season, judging by their District 3 championship times last season. Dallastown is slated to return its top three runners from that meet, all of whom ran times under 18 minutes, including Reilly, junior Taylor Lentz and senior Seth Stayer.
● New Oxford (12-7, 1-5) returns the third- and eighth-place runners in the YAIAA from last season with junior Aaron Gebhart and senior Jacob Plank. Gebhart placed 12th at districts and 28th at state. He earned All-YAIAA honors as a sophomore.
● South Western (17-2, 5-1) graduated its top runner, Ryan Hertzog, who finished second to Dallastown’s Reilly at last year’s league championship. Back for the Mustangs is senior Sean Peeling, their second-best runner last year at districts, Ben Schott, who finished 19th at the YAIAA meet, and Kirk Mummert.
● League medalist Bryce Lerew returns for Central York (15-4, 3-3) with JD Groff and Co. Along with Gavin Mayne and Dylan Shue, Central has a senior foursome that ran all four ran an 18:33 or better last fall at districts.
● Spring Grove (15-5, 2-4) should return most of its runners, including junior Hunter Miller and a handful of seniors: Mason Bentzel, Dakota Laughman, Jason Cavanaugh and Taylor Gardner.
● Junior Ben Linne comes off a 10th-place showing at districts and state meet appearance for Northeastern (9-10, 0-6).
DIVISION II BREAKDOWN
● York Suburban (17-2, 5-0) will look to defend its crown without the division’s top runner from a year ago, Chris Diaz. He won every Division II meet, but the Trojans bring back senior Brad Clark, who was 18th at districts.
● Kennard-Dale (17-2, 4-1) returns senior Sawyer Bisker, who earned All-YAIAA honors and finished 26h at the league meet.
● Senior Jacob Thomas placed 12th at the YAIAA championship and 21st at districts last year for Susquehannock (12-8, 3-2). He will be back with fellow seniors Michael Wells and Zach Shelley, plus sophomores Nathan Shelley and Matt Barnhart.
● Dover (7-11, 2-3) will have Danty Pagan back for his junior season. Pagan earned honorable mention in the coaches’ voting last year for the league all-stars. Captain Beau Ambrose, also a junior, is back to run for the Eagles.
● Tyler White finished 50th in the District 3 Class AA field last year as a sophomore for Eastern York (4-15, 1-4). He should return along with sophomores Mason Bair and Brandon Dailey.
DIVISION III BREAKDOWN
● A new coach and a new leading runner will have to step in at Delone Catholic (11-8, 6-0). R.C. Zinn takes over head coaching roles for longtime Squires mentor Scotty Watt. In Zinn’s first season as head coach, he inherits a program that graduated leading runner Nick Poole but returns sophomore John Mall (14th at districts), senior Christopher Overdorff (15th) and senior Brandon Trish (16th).
● A Sauvageau has run for numerous years in Division III, including Chris Sauvageau at Delone Catholic and last year’s runner of the year, Xavier Sauvageau, at Littlestown (7-12, 4-1). The Thunderbolts graduated their top two runners to place last year at districts, but they do bring back senior Austin Towner and junior Erik Christensen.
● The good news for Biglerville (0-18, 0-5) is Brady Wilt returns for his junior year. Wilt already has two accomplished seasons to his credit, finishing sixth in the league last year and eighth as a freshman. He finished 12th at last year’s PIAA meet.
● Fairfield (6-12, 3-2) graduated two Division III all-stars from a year ago, Devin Barlow and John Roan. Their top four runners last year at districts have graduated, as sophomore Michael Ball and seniors Scott Roan and Evan Giardina are expected back to improve on their times.
● York Catholic (6-13, 3-3) will need a new lead runner after Joe DiPiazza and Tucker Ebersole graduated. Leonard Zinda and Kevin Moran should return for their senior seasons.
● Joe Fletcher was the top runner for Bermudian Springs (2-18, 2-3) last season at disricts and finished with a 19-minute time. Fellow seniors Josh Allison and Cory Bollinger.
● York County Tech (2-17, 1-5) will be in the search for new lead runners after Cody Lehr, also a key member of the track and field program, and Dylan Hartlaub graduated.
MARK THE CALENDAR
● Tuesday, Sept. 17: Delone Catholic, New Oxford and Spring Grove at Littlestown – an annual rivalry for the Squires and Thunderbolts continues here.
● Tuesday, Sept. 24: Dallastown, Biglerville and Eastern York at Delone Catholic – this will be a great chance to see the Wildcats’ Patrick Reilly and Canners’ Brady Wilt in the same race.
● Tuesday Oct. 15: YAIAA championship at John Rudy Park.