Well, my first set of predictions could have been better, but they also could have been worse (and if WIDI had followed the overall rankings more, they would have looked much more accurate!), which is par for the course in these things. So here are the rest of them. TBH this post is kinda unnecessarily long and is going to be inaccurate anyway, so one might argue what's the point, which is valid. I'm not even sure what my rebuttal to that would be. But that's still not enough to stop me.
A couple disclaimers: first, I have refrained from predicting Southeast Urban, because not only do I know very little about the region, but I also don't know what teams are competing. That makes predicting the winner rather complicated. Second, I'm picking the top 4 instead of the usual top 3 because if I'm going to be wrong, might as well be REALLY wrong, right? Here we go...
Northwest: 1. Wilmington, 2. North East, 3. Clarion Area, 4. Laurel
. I seriously thought about removing Wilmington
from the top spot. They only won by 1 point last year, and always seem like the might be vulnerable. But then I saw that Laurel
tends to do really well in odd years, and not as well in even years. Guess what year it is? North East
fill the other two spots because they're the safe picks, and have historically done well. The real question is if any of these teams will finish in the top 20 in the state, which always seems like a tall task.
Northeast: 1. Wyoming Area, 2. Wayne Highlands, 3. Park Forest, 4. Abington Heights
. Thank goodness for Rustin. Otherwise this would probably be the toughest region to predict in the state. As it stands, though, Wyoming Area
and Wayne Highlands
looked solid and both have experience. Park Forest
is the consistent team and would theoretically seem more likely to finish second than Wayne Highlands, but they always seem to do better at states than regionals, whereas Wayne Highlands tends to do the opposite. Abington Heights
has come down a bit from its 2013 peak, but they are experienced enough to avoid dropping too far.
Central East: 1. Springhouse, 2. Whitehall-Coplay, 3. Fleetwood, 4. Kutztown
has achieved Shady Side status of "if this team doesn't get first at regionals, there is something seriously wrong"
. Not to say that the other teams aren't good; this region has a lot of good teams for being so small. None of them are the same caliber as Springhouse, though (Whitehall Coplay
was close in the early 2010s but never quite arrived), which is still riding its streak of rapid improvement. None of the other teams are revolutionary picks, although I do think that Fleetwood
will recover after narrowly missing states last year, losing to Exeter Township by 2 points. That recovery could be enough to surmount Kutztown
, which is always in the 10-20 range of the state.
Central: 1. Eagle View, 2. Hershey, 3. Good Hope, 4. Allen
. One of my proudest picks in this "series" was two years ago, when I correctly picked Eagle View
to get third. Since then, they've become regional champions, and look even stronger this year based on Rustin. That should be enough to win the region by a comfortable margin, as long as they keep up their pace. Hershey
is coming off of their worst regional score in over 7 years, but the region has grown significantly, and they finished 10th in the state, so it's reasonable to assume they'll perform well here. It'll take a strong effort to get first, though. Allen
was once a fast riser like Eagle View, and looked to be a possible nationals contender at one point, but they've since fallen off, and I can see another fast-rising team like Good Hope
overtaking them, and maybe even Conestoga Valley
if they're not careful.
Southwest: 1. Shady Side, 2. Quaker Valley, 3. Franklin Regional, 4. Bedford
. This region may seem like "Shady Side and a bunch of random teams"
, but this is a sneakily tough region, both in terms of competition and prediction. While Shady Side is a virtual lock for first even in their worst case scenario, the battle for second is strong. Franklin Regional
, coming off a 12th place state finish, may seem like the initial favorites, but they've never gotten higher than 3rd in recorded wiki history, so Quaker Valley
, a longtime contender, gets the nod here. Bedford
, now in its fifth year of competition, fell back a bit last year, and after a 25th place state finish, seem shakier than the above three. If Spring Valley
improves over last year, as opposed to falling back, it seems most likely that Bedford will be the team that moves down. However, the difficult part of the SW region is that due to a lack of invites, I have no idea about if any of these teams have improved dramatically. If one of them takes the reins, 2nd place is theirs for the taking, and maybe even giving Shady Side a scare.
Northwest: 1. NW PA Collegiate Academy, 2. Wilmington, 3. Seneca, 4. Laurel
. One of the Wilmingtons finally fell after 3 straight years of their B and C teams sweeping NW. Given that NWPACA
is a relatively new team, a fast riser, and a private school, it would seem unlikely that they'll fall off after just one year; more improvement seems likely. However, I predict that Wilmington
will also give an extra effort after losing its hold on the title, which should be enough to overtake Seneca
, which returned to the state finals last year after a one-year hiatus. Laurel
was only 2 points away from the state finals last year, so with an extra effort, I can see them returning. Same thing with this region in B also applies to C, though; will any of these teams manage a top-20 finish at states? It hasn't happened in C since State College left.
Northeast: 1. Stroudsburg, 2. North Pocono, 3. Abington Heights, 4. Wyoming Area
. First of all, in case you're not familiar, I'm gonna clarify something for you. I am from East Stroudsburg South
is a different school, and our primary rival. They are different high schools. Just because I have "Stroudsburg" in my name does not mean I am from Stroudsburg.
With that out of the way, Stroudsburg
has merged its B and C squads, to pretty good success, but has not managed to grab the 1st-place trophy. While I question the long-term sustainability of this strategy somewhat, I think they're due for a regional win, and based on their invitational results* thus far, seem to be on track to get it. Expect North Pocono
, the defending champion, to be right behind, though. Abington Heights
is riding the wave of its peak B days right now, and while they seem to be a tier behind the top two, they're almost locks for the top 4. Wyoming Area
is also a team that expects to be in the top 4, so anything short will likely be disappointing for them. Really, after the battle for 1st, the top 4 is rather devoid of drama; the drama can be found in the battle for the other states spots, where Lehighton
, Valley West
, and ES South
will be fighting for whatever remains.
*Since I do not know the full results for Tiger or MC Barons, I cannot take these results into account. Thus, these tournaments are excluded when I refer to "invitational results"
Central East: 1. NW Lehigh, 2. Perkiomen Valley, 3. Parkland, 4. Fleetwood
. No longer an up-and-coming underdog, Northwestern Lehigh
is officially a regional power. Perkiomen Valley
will be solid again, but recent invitational results show that this is NWL's region to lose yet again. I'm going out on a limb for third and picking Parkland
, which is going to start getting Springhouse graduates real soon, and should become a contender real quick. They're still a couple years away from fully arriving, though. This would push Fleetwood
down to fourth, which is a very solid team, but doesn't quite have as high a ceiling as Parkland. This will be another brutal battle for states spots; Kutztown
, Exeter Township
, Allentown Central Catholic
, and Whitehall
should all be within range, among others.
Central: 1. Hershey, 2. Cedar Cliff, 3. Spring Grove, 4. Central York
. This is kinda like SW in B (except without a nationals contender): a region that's tougher than you might realize. Last year's state results show how incredibly tight and unpredictable this region can be: all teams from 20th through 24th were from this region, and the highest ranked team (Cedar Cliff, 16th) only placed third at regionals. This makes predicting the region very difficult, especially without MC Barons scores, but we must press on! And the safest pick for first is Hershey
. AlphaTauri will probably yell at me about how the team isn't as good as in the past, but they won pretty comfortably last year, and have a consistent pipeline from their middle school, making them pretty consistent regional contenders. Cedar Cliff
, another high riser, is gaining invitational experience, and is now experiencing the full effects of being fed by Allen's peak teams of 2012 and 2013. They could reasonably contend for first if they rise high enough. Spring Grove
hasn't gotten worse than 2nd since 2010, but they declined a bit last year, and their middle school has lost a step; they must be careful in the near future to sustain their success. For fourth, I deliberated long and hard, and considered both Red Land
, who both have recently emerged as regional contenders and invitational participants, but decided to go with the proven track record of Central York
in the end, especially when considering their strong Stoga score.
Southwest: 1. Shady Side, 2. Quaker Valley, 3. Allderdice, 4. Franklin Regional
. And finally, the last region to pick. Shady Side
may never get to the same heights in C that their B team has, but they have proven themselves to be the regional kingpin by a considerable margin. Quaker Valley
fills the role of second place comfortably as well; their margin over 3rd place Allderdice
last year was an incredible 63 points. Speaking of Allderdice, they returned to the state scene after not qualifying in 2014, and they should return to being the consistent team they were. Fourth is a tough pick, as there are many teams that could fill this, but my choice is Franklin Regional
; they're a normal state qualifier coming off a year that they missed, which typically means they will come back with a vengeance the following year. They're also being fed by a middle school that consistently performs solidly at regionals and states. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Norwin
, Peters Township
, or Montour
claim this spot.
Aaaaand I'm done. Feel free to tell me how wrong you think I am! Honestly, I'm just going off of historical trends and invitationals, and I have no real insight into the vast majority of the teams, so any disagreements you might have probably have some validity.