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Knepper photo

Boys Runner of the Year

Mech-KNEPPER

Brandan Knepper, sr., Mechanicsburg — A year ago, it was former teammate Morgan Cupp in this spot. Now Knepper can claim the top honor just like his close friend. Knepper didn't quite have the regular season he was hoping for, missing numerous invitational wins, but he steadily progressed. His patience paid off at the end with a District 3 Class 3A bronze (16:37.4) and PIAA 12th-place finish (16:43). 2017 All-Sentinel First Team.

Girls Runner of the Year

NY-Starliper.jpg

Marlee Starliper, jr., Northern — Was there ever any doubt? Now our three-time pick for top female runner, Starliper overcame an early rut to recapture her old form. Then she improved on it. Starliper was the fastest runner (17:53) at the PIAA championships regardless of classification to claim her second straight state gold by nearly a minute. That came a week after she broke her District 3 record with 17:19.7 to win that for the second time. 2017 All-Sentinel Runner of the Year.

Coach of the Year

Robert Jumper, Big Spring — The longtime coach has seen at lot of firsts, but he had never witnessed his boys team qualify for the PIAA Cross Country Championships. He can now cross that off the bucket list, after Jumper was able to get a deep team led by First Team pick Ishmael Kirkwood to believe it was state material. On top of that, Gabrielle Reifsnyder and Fawn Bennett qualified on the girls side for states. Others receiving consideration: Carlisle's Ed Boardman, Mechanicsburg's Mary Hey and the Northern coaching staff in Al Houser's absence.

Boys First Team

Jack Wisner, sr., Carlisle

Wisner 

Jack Wisner, sr., Carlisle — He ran with a bravado much of the year, but perhaps his PIAA Class 3A run will haunt him. He's bound for Pitt in a year after finishing a disappointing 34th (17:05) at states a week after a solid 16:44.1 to help the Thundering Herd qualify as a team for states once again. 2017 All-Sentinel First Team.

Luke Klingenberg, sr., Cumberland Valley

Klingenberg 

Luke Klingenberg, sr., Cumberland Valley — A California transfer, Klingenberg gave Cumberland County a nice 3A three-headed monster along with Wisner and Knepper. He was at the front of nearly every pack this year, finishing seventh at districts (16:49.8) and 17th at states (16:53) in his lone year in Pennsylvania.

Ishmael Kirkwood, sr., Big Spring

Kirkwood 

Ishmael Kirkwood, sr., Big Spring — Quite the gutsy season from Kirkwood, who helped the Bulldogs qualify as a team for the PIAA Class 2A championships for the first time in their history. Ran a spirited 23rd (17:26) at states after claiming fifth (17:10.4) in the District 3 championships. 2017 All-Sentinel Honorable Mention.

Casey Padgett, jr., Carlisle

Padgett

Casey Padgett, jr., Carlisle — At the beginning of the year, it was unclear if the Herd were going to make states as a team again. But the development of Padgett helped book another trip to Hershey for the Mid-Penn power. Finished 69th (17:25) at states, which eased the sting of a subpar show at District 3 (41st, 17:47.4). 2017 All-Sentinel Honorable Mention.

Honorable Mention

Ian Ward, jr., Big Spring; Matthew Ward, fr., Big Spring; Gabe Tomblin, sr., Boiling Springs; Evan Kase, so., Boiling Springs; Evan Peachey, so., Carlisle; Bryce Dunkelberger, jr., Carlisle; John Williams, so., Cumberland Valley; Caeden Smith, sr., East Pennsboro; Kyle Costello, jr., Mechanicsburg; Jeremiah Knight, sr., Northern; Reid Weber, Northern; Aiden Gonder, jr., Red Land; Grayson Stanley, jr., Red Land; Elias Spence, so., Shippensburg; Sam Predmore, sr., Trinity; Will Bucher, sr., Trinity; Alex Rosenberry, sr., West Shore Christian. 

Girls First Team

Laura Sakol, jr., Camp Hill

Sakol 

Laura Sakol, jr., Camp Hill — The Lions, who claimed another District 3 Class 1A crown in October, have had a few leaders the past few years. It was Sakol's turn this time. The area's top small-school runner finished 21st (20:57) at states and her silver medal at districts (20:24.8) was key for the team.

Allie Engle, fr., Northern

Engle 

Allie Engle, fr., Northern — It's tough sometimes to remember that the Polar Bears are deep behind the uber-talented Starliper. Engle is proof that there is more to the team. She was a big part of Northern's repeat District 3 Class 2A title with a ninth-place (20:09) finish. Ran 21:03 at states for 38th.

Sophia Toti, jr., Carlisle

Toti 

Sophia Toti, jr., Carlisle — It was a breakout year for Toti, who finished 14th (19:50) at the PIAA Class 3A championships and ninth (19:20.7) at District 3. It all stemmed from dedicating herself to running like never before and buying into coach Ed Boardman's training. Primed for a big senior year. 2017 All-Sentinel Honorable Mention.

Corinne Firestone, jr., Cedar Cliff

Firestone 

Corinne Firestone, jr., Cedar Cliff — Firestone had a strong showing in the Carlisle Invitational, a postseason tune-up, and parlayed that into 18th place (20:03) at districts and then 20th at states. Rarely ever did she find herself far off the lead, and she vied with Toti for top podium spots in 2019. 2017 All-Sentinel Honorable Mention.

Honorable Mention

Gabrielle Reifsnyder, jr., Big Spring; Fawn Bennett, sr., Big Spring; Katryn Yocum, so., Boiling Springs; Abbie Erme, jr., Boiling Springs; Kaitlyn Vorkapich, jr., Camp Hill; Julia Raich, so., Camp Hill; Sophie Salomone, so., Carlisle; Kate Vonah, fr., Cumberland Valley; Brianna Wagner, so., Cumberland Valley; Olivia Krise, sr., East Pennsboro; Susanna Gaither, sr., Mechanicsburg; Hope McKenney, fr., Mechanicsburg; Leah Snyder, fr., Mechanicsburg; Katie Anthony, jr., Northern; Meredith Engle, jr., Northern; Madison Saltsburg, so., Northern; Teddi Powell, sr., Shippensburg.

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Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520​

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Sports Editor

Sports editor at The Sentinel.