PIAA TRACK & FIELD: WVC Looks To Collect More State Medals
The Wyoming Valley Conference’s track & field title streak is far from finished.
The league collected four gold medals last year at the PIAA Track & Field Championships. Though three of those gold medals were lost to graduation and the fourth moved up to Class 3A, a few WVC athletes still head to Shippensburg for Friday and Saturday’s state meet with a first-place finish on their mind.
If any of them succeed, they’ll extend the WVC’s gold medal streak at the meet to six consecutive years. If they fall short, there’s still plenty of top-eight finishes on the state medal stand up for grabs.
Here’s a quick look at some of the WVC’s best shots at winning a title or, at the very least, a PIAA medal this weekend.
Class 2A Boys
At District 2 meet: First place, 200-foot-9
PIAA seed: 1st of 24
Saxe has gone from 2018 district runner-up to the top seed at states — and he threw almost 14 feet better than the No. 2 seed’s mark. Two throwers got at least 215 feet on an attempt last year at states, but the entire top-eight graduated; a 200-footer could be Saxe’s magic number for a championship. For what it’s worth, Wyoming Area graduate Marc Minichello won last year’s Class 3A title at 198 feet flat. Hanover Area’s Aaron Hummer is also seeded 14th here (170-foot-8).
Events: Long jump, triple jump
At District 2 meet: First place, 21-foot-7.75 in long jump; First place, 43-foot-9 in triple jump
PIAA seed: 10th of 24 in long jump; T-11th of 24 in triple jump
A couple of personal bests handed Whitehead district titles in his first year jumping. He’s less than four inches off the state’s top-eight seeds in each event, so another career day could mean more hardware.
Event: 4x800 relay
At District 2 meet: First place, 8:21.53
PIAA seed: 15th of 27
Sure, the Royals start on the outside looking in at the finals, reserved for the top 12 preliminary times. But all the speed on the track at Shippensburg can do wonders; in 2017, Redeemer went from an 8:25.82 seed to an 8:13.46 preliminary run and then a fourth place finish in 8:02.81. George Strish, Bryce Zapusek, Lukas Volpetti and Dominic Capaci won’t end their Royals career without trying to duplicate that success one more time.
Class 3A boys
Event: 110 hurdles
At District 2 meet: First place, 14.39
PIAA seed: 4th of 28
Last year’s Class 2A state champ is in the mix to repeat against the big schools. He scorched Scranton’s track at districts to win last week’s title faster than he did his PIAA gold medal (14.78). Dunell — also seeded 18th of 26 in the 300 hurdles (39.80) — is one of 15 qualifiers with a sub-15-second seed, so strong preliminaries and semifinals will be just as critical as a potential final race.
Event: 100, 200
At District 2 meet: First place, 10.80 in 100; First place, 22.23 in 200.
PIAA seed: 6th of 32 in 100; 12th of 29 in 200
McCoy is among seven juniors and a freshman filling out the top eight seeds in the 100, and he’s 0.17 off the No. 1 time. On paper, he’s fast enough to reach the 200 semifinals for a shot at the finals, too. He’s also running with Coughlin’s 4x100 relay after his dramatic comeback win, so don’t count out McCoy until any of his sprints are finished.
At District 2 meet: First place, 192-foot-10
PIAA seed: 7th of 29
He’s the only freshman in this event. Prebola is still ready to contend now if his opening throw at districts translates to states. At every other PIAA meet this decade, an even 192-foot toss would have finished as high as second and no worse than seventh place among Class 3A boys.
Event: Shot put
At District 2 meet: First place, 52-foot-3.25
PIAA seed: 13th of 25
Anderson peaked in time to throw about a foot and a half beyond his seed mark at districts. The first-year thrower is less than another foot away from the No. 8 seed and won’t go down without his best effort in his final competition with the Mountaineers.
Event: Pole vault
At District 2 meet: First place, 14 feet
PIAA seed: T-15th of 26
Yeust’s 14-foot day was enough to win a district title, but he wasn’t far off an even better mark last week. For now, he’s tied with five others while seven entries share a 14-foot-3 seed. All Yeust can worry about is making sure everything clicks when it’s his turn. With so much talent packed together, moving on without a miss will be huge.
Class 2A Girls
Event: Triple jump
At District 2 meet: First place, 37-foot-1
PIAA seed: 3rd of 25
Korba gets her second chance at the PIAA meet, where she jumped 35-foot-7 for 17th place last year. She likely won’t leave empty-handed this time if she can duplicate her District 2 performance. Only four seeds enter at 37 feet or better, and every Class 2A girl who reached that milestone at states has finished fifth or better this decade. Lake-Lehman’s Natasha Mihalko is also tied for the 10th seed in the event at 36 feet.
Event: 4x400 relay
At District 2 meet: First place, 4:04.15
PIAA seed: 4th of 25
Abby Lapinski, Anna Capaci, Madison Dewees, and Karissa Spade set a District 2 meet record the last time they ran. Spade, the anchor of the bunch, also sprinted to 100 and 200 district titles. That type of speed could keep the Royals ahead of a handful of other teams seeded closely behind them as everyone tries to advance from the prelims.
Event: High jump
At District 2 meet: Second place, 5-foot-2
PIAA seed: T-4th of 29
Just like in Class 3A, there’s so many equally talented jumpers to break up. Popson is one of 13 qualifers to clear 5-foot-2 at districts, and a handful of others are just behind at five feet. It’ll all come down to advancing quickly without many misses.
At District 2 meet: First place, 5:17.94
PIAA seed: 6th of 24
Paczewski, a cross country state qualifier, has now put herself alongside the PIAA’s best distance runners on the track. She and Montrose’s Hannah Perkins, seeded eighth, pushed each other in an exciting D2 final. There’s even more speed around them here, which has the potential to carry them both to state medals.
Events: 100, 200
At District 2 meet: First place, 12.59 in 100; First place, 25.86 in 200
PIAA seed: 9th of 25 in 100; 7th of 26 in 200.
Spade proved herself against D2’s top sprinters twice. She has a realistic chance to do it again with a pair of PIAA medals. First, though, come tight races for the semifinals and finals. The 100’s eighth seed is just 0.03 seconds ahead of Spade, while the 200’s ninth seed is 0.03 seconds behind her.
At District 2 meet: First place, 11:47.44
PIAA seed: 10th of 23
The state cross country qualifier is a long-distance threat this postseason, too. Marcinkowski also ran the 1600 last week and still had enough left in her to pull away on the last lap for D2 gold. Now, Marcinkowski has one event (and no preliminaries) to worry about running hard in at states.
Event: 4x800 relay
At District 2 meet: First place, 9:59.03
PIAA seed: 14th of 26
It’s not the flashiest seed. Then again, that didn’t stop the Black Knights from turning a 15th seed into a top preliminary time and fourth place last season. If that type of improvement is possible, Sophia Dabsheh, Madison Brdaric, Morgan Patla and 2018 medalist Abby Paczewski should feel confident in their chances to simply catch two teams in the prelims and reach another final heat.
Class 3A girls
At District 2 meet: First place, 134-foot-10
PIAA seed: 6th of 29
Hengst eventually settled into her freshman districts and recorded at least 125 feet on all three of her final throws as she took gold. Fifteen total entries had 125-foot marks at districts, so that consistency will go a long way here. Berwick’s Renny Murphy also qualified and is the 13th seed at 125-foot-10.
Event: High jump
At District 2 meet: Second place, 5-foot-3
PIAA seed: T-9th of 35
Berry was automatic at districts and didn’t miss an attempt until the bar rose to 5-foot-5. Such efficiency is a major key to success in this event, where 19 jumpers enter tied at 5-foot-3 and the No. 8 seed is an inch ahead. Every attempt will count in one of the tighter medal races all weekend.
At District 2 meet: Second place, 25.66
PIAA seed: 16th of 27
Church, only a sophomore, relied on her own districts time to qualify for states. She enters on the bubble of the semifinals, but that’s all it takes to wake up Saturday with a shot at placing. Five others are within a tenth of a second ahead of Church on paper.
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