If there’s a surplus of anything in girls’ cross country this fall, it’s sophomore runners. After Kelsey Ibarra won the YAIAA championship last year, freshmen Olivia Gettle of York Suburban and Kate Mowrey of Delone Catholic weren’t far behind. Gettle isn’t alone in Division II, where a number of sophomores will take to the races after breaking onto the scene as freshmen.
We measure the field with this YAIAA girls’ cross country preview:
PRESEASON TOP 5
1. York Suburban
2. Central York
3. Delone Catholic
4. New Oxford
RUNNERS TO WATCH
Olivia Gettle, York Suburban, So.
Kate Mowrey, Delone Catholic, So.
Kayla White, Kennard-Dale, Sr.
Amanda Falvey, York Catholic, Jr.
Rachel Banchiere, Susquehannock, So.
DIVISION I BREAKDOWN
● Central York (15-2, 6-0 last year) has been used to seeing Kelsey Ibarra leading the way, but the former YAIAA champion and Division I runner of the year has moved on to Lipscomb. That doesn’t mean anyone in the league will pity the Panthers. They still return senior Emily Loeffelholz, who finished 11th in each of the last two league championships, and sophomore Brooke Buzynski, who wasn’t far behind at 13th.
Oxford (15-4, 4-2) welcomes back junior Emily
Lawrence, an All-YAIAA runner a season ago, plus senior Devan
Bateman and junior Emily
Clinton, giving the Colonials a solid foundation to challenge Central in Division I.
● Red Lion (17-2, 5-1) has been another solid program and returns junior Julia Kendrick. In addition to Kendrick, the Lions will run with sophomore Macy Owens, senior Anna Haynie, senior Rachel Jenks and sophomore Sarah Helt. They will need one of them, plus Kendrick, to improve times after the graduation of Amanda Wivell, who ran a team-best 20 minutes for sixth place at the YAIAA championships.
● Dallastown (14-5, 3-3) graduated Taylour Mauro but returns a host of other runners, including senior Megan Blum, sophomore Casey Kemp and junior Elizabeth Dibiase.
● Spring Grove (11-9, 2-4) graduated most of its top runners, Rebecca Miller, Leah Corbin and Brynn Warrington, but returns junior Cortney Knotts.
● The runners for Dover (12-6, 1-5) finished last season in a pack at districts. Two of those three runners, senior Andrea Dawson and sophomore Sarah Kistner, are back. Claudine Godfrey graduated, but the Eagles should also have sophomore Alyssa Lawton, also a key player on the school’s softball team.
● South Western (5-14, 0-6) did not field a complete team at districts, but sophomore Lynne Mooradian should have momentum behind her with a strong finish to her freshman track and field season. She was voted by YAIAA coaches Division A’s top athlete in track and field. Sophomore Natasha Wetzel joined her last fall as the only South Western runners to race at districts. The Mustangs will have just six runners for coach Bruce Lee.
DIVISION II BREAKDOWN
● Ready for a race? Four freshmen made last year’s All-YAIAA team in this division, meaning quite a rivalry could develop for another three seasons. York Suburban (19-0, 5-0) has two of those sophomores, including the division’s runner of the year, Olivia Gettle. As a freshman she finished only second at the league meet to Central York’s outgoing senior Kelsey Ibarra. Gettle went on to finish third at the District 3 meet after holding multiple leads. Again, she did this as a freshman. Joining her back in the Trojans’ lineup is fellow sophomore Emma Leik.
● Another of those sophomores is at Kennard-Dale (12-7, 4-1), where Caitlin Salomon returns for the Rams. She’s not alone. Junior Kayla White finished third at last year’s league championship.
● Susquehannock (15-5, 3-2) has the fourth of those returning all-star sophomores in Rachel Banchiere. She finished eighth at last year’s league meet. She will be joined by fellow sophomore Courtney Rodgers, juniors Jackie Ditt and Caraleigh Stifler, plus senior Emily Fourhman.
● West York (8-11, 2-3) returns a league medalist in Bethany Weaver. Last year, she finished in the top 35 at districts as a freshman.
● Eastern York (6-13, 1-4) sent two runners to districts last season, and both are primed for a return: senior Maura Geiselman and sophomore Alisha Lopez.
● Northeastern (0-17, 0-5) sent three runners to districts and is slated tor return all three: sophomore Kyleigh Smeltzer, senior Hannah McLeod and sophomore Laura Zielinski.
DIVISION III BREAKDOWN
● District 3 champion Kate Mowrey, now only a sophomore, is back to lead defending division champ Delone Catholic (14-5, 6-0). The Squirettes also return senior Andrea Resciniti, a sixth-place finisher last year at districts. As is the case on the boys’ side at Delone, R.C. Zinn
● York Catholic (10-9, 5-1) again should give the Squirettes a challenge, and it comes with returning junior Amanda Falvey, who placed 10th at last year’s District 3 meet.
● Rachel Crane was the top runner Bermudian Springs (7-13, 4-2) last year as a junior. She was 21st in the league, 22nd at districts and qualified for the PIAA meet.
● Senior Emma Harrelson is back to lead York County Tech (4-15, 3-3) after finishing 25th at last season’s YAIAA championship.
MARK THE CALENDAR
● Thursday, Sept. 5: Delone Catholic, Kennard-Dale and York Suburban at West York - this meet will not only showcase returning all-stars Olivia Gettle of Suburban and Kate Mowrey of Delone Catholic, but also Kennard-Dale’s Kayla White and Caitlin Salomon.
● Tuesday, Sept. 10: Littlestown, Susquehannock and York Suburban at South Western – Another chance to see the Trojans, this time against Division II rival Susquehannock.
● Wednesday, Oct. 23: District 3 championships in Hershey.