Thursday’s action gets started with Class 3A boys at 9:30 a.m., followed by Class 3A girls at 10:30, Class A boys at 11:30, Class A girls at 12:30 p.m., Class 2A boys at 1:30 and Class 2A girls at 2:30.
Each of the six races will determine a team champion, an individual champion, district medalists and state qualifiers.
The top 10 finishers in Class 3A, the top 15 in Class A and the top 20 in Class 2A will earn district medals. The difference is because of the number of schools entered in each class.
The medal counts are the same on the boys and girls sides.
In Class 3A, the top team and the five best individuals other than that team will qualify for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships.
In Class A and 2A, the top two teams and 10 other individuals advance.
Again, the number of state qualifiers is the same in the boys and girls races.
DEFENDING TEAM CHAMPIONS
Abington Heights won both Class 3A team titles last season. The Mid Valley boys and Holy Redeemer girls won in Class 2A. The Holy Cross boys and Montrose girls won in Class A.
The Abington Heights girls are five-time defending Class 3A champions. Their title streak actually began a year earlier, in 2015, when they won the Class 2A championship before moving up in classification.
The Holy Cross boys, Holy Redeemer girls and Montrose girls are all seeking their third straight titles.
Using the Century Dental Associates Cross Country Power Rankings of District 2 teams on this website as a guide, here are the team contenders:
Class 3A boys: No. 1 North Pocono (23-0 in Lackawanna League) and No. 2 Abington Heights (22-1 in Lackawanna).
Class 2A boys: No. 3 Crestwood (15-1 in Wyoming Valley Conference); No. 4 Lake-Lehman (15-1 in WVC); No. 6 Holy Redeemer (14-2 in WVC); No. 7 Scranton Prep (20-3 in WVC); No. 8 Honesdale (19-4 in Lackawanna); No. 9 Mid Valley (19-4 in Lackawanna); No. 10 Dallas (13-3 in WVC); No. 11 Berwick (13-3 in WVC).
Class A boys: No. 5 Montrose (20-3 in Lackawanna); No. 12 Blue Ridge (15-8 in Lackawanna).
Class 3A girls: No. 1 Crestwood (16-0 in WVC); No. 2 Abington Heights (23-0 in Lackawanna); No. 8 Scranton (19-4 in Lackawanna); No. 10 Hazleton Area (14-2 in WVC).
Class 2A girls: No. 3 Holy Redeemer (15-1 in WVC); No. 4, Honesdale (21-2 in Lackawanna); No. 6 Valley View (20-3 in Lackawanna); No. 7 North Pocono (19-4 in Lackawanna); No. 9 Dallas (13-3 in WVW); No. 11 Lake-Lehman (12-4 in WVC).
Class A girls: No. 5 Montrose (21-2); No. 12 Lakeland (15-8).
To learn more about the ranked teams, see: https://nepasportsnation.com/honesdale-holy-redeemer-teams-move-up-as-regular-season-concludes/.
DEFENDING INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS
Wyoming Area’s Madelyn Keating and Riverside’s Lacey Danilovitz both won titles as sophomores.
Keating, a surprise winner last year, has not run all season. A state medalist last year, off a 14th-place finish in Hershey, she was medically cleared Monday and is on Wyoming Area’s entry list to run in the meet in her first athletic competition since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee during basketball season.
The three 2019 girls champions also return after falling short last season.
Scranton’s Bella Noreika won in Class 3A, Crestwood’s Molly DeMarzo won in 2A and Elk Lake’s Krista Jones won in A.
Noreika was second and DeMarzo, whose team jumped a classification, was third in Class 3A last season. Jones was third in A.
DeMarzo and Jones have remarkably similar credentials. Each won district titles and earned state medals in both their freshman and sophomore years before falling just short of that level this season. Each went undefeated in their league’s cluster meet schedules this season with Jones winning seven times in six-team races in the Lackawanna League and DeMarzo winning five cluster meets of five or six teams and then winning the WVC Coaches Ed Narkiewicz Conference Championship Meet. Each has been selected as a Center City Print District 2 Athlete of the Week this season.
For more about DeMarzo and Jones, see their Athlete of the Week features. DeMarzo at: https://nepasportsnation.com/demarzo-completes-four-years-of-wvc-regular-season-perfection/; Jones at: https://nepasportsnation.com/jones-runs-alternate-paths-to-success/.
The races are being run at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds. The site, which annually hosts the WVC’s Narkiewicz Meet, was an emergency fill-in last season when COVID-19 concerns left the district without a school ready to host the large field of runners. The course made such an impression that it was chosen for this year’s meet. Damage to the grounds during this year’s county fair, however, led to the course needing to go through some significant, last-minute alterations in time for the Narkiewicz Meet. Not all of those changes were received favorably. The course has been altered again, in particular with revisions in the finishing stretch, in time for the district race.
The PIAA Championships are scheduled for Nov. 6 on the Hershey Parkview Course.
Other than field hockey, cross country is the sport in which District 2 has consistently had the greatest impact on the state level.
District 2 has produced 18 state team champions since 1998, although none have come since 2016 when Dallas completed a successful repeat in Class 2A boys.
The district had seven state individual champions between 2012 and 2015 after also producing a stretch of five between 1993 and 1998.
District 2 returns 6 of the state’s top 34 Class A girls runners from last year: Mountain View’s Carissa Flynn, fourth; Riverside’s Danilovitz, sixth; Forest City’s Rachel Korty, 17th; Mountain View’s Kathryn Long, 18th; Elk Lake’s Jones, 31st; and Montrose’s Paige Brewer 34th.