SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. – You wouldn’t know it by the weather, but it was a golden day for District 9 and District 10 athletes on day one of the PIAA track and field championships.
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Four athletes – Union/A-C Valley’s Baylee Blauser and Hayden Smith, Fort LeBoeuf’s Audrey Friedman and Hickory’s Luca Bertolasio all took home gold medals in Class 2A – Blauser and Bertolasio in the long jump, Friedman in the javelin and Smith in the high jump.
Smith cleared 6-5 in the high jump as District 9 and 10 athletes took gold and silver, as Seneca’s Vincent Rupp cleared 6-4 to take second. Grove City’s Josh Dreves also took home one of his two medals on the day, clearing 6-0 to finish seventh.
In the girls’ long jump, Blauser proved why she was the top seed, leaping 18-6 ¾. That was enough to edge Minersville’s Devin Hubler, who went 18-4 ¾. Grace Bresnan of Reynolds also medaled in the event, taking sixth at 17-4 ¼.
Smith and Blauser talked about their gold medal efforts afterward:
Friedman, who was a medalist a year ago, came in as the favorite and delivered. Her winning throw measured 142-9. Again District 10 and District 9 went 1-2, as Union/A-C Valley’s Evelyn Bliss, who came into the finals seeded ninth out of nine, uncorked a throw of 140-11.
Friedman, who will compete in the shot put on Saturday, talked about reaching the top of the podium:
Bertolasio, meanwhile, had quite the journey. After competing for Hickory in their District 10 Class 3A baseball semifinal game against Franklin at Slippery Rock University on Thursday, he made the 216-mile trip to Shippensburg, arriving at 11 p.m.
He promptly got up and leaped 23-11, which was good enough to win by over a foot. Justice Shoats of Holy Redeemer was second at 22-9, while Dreves was fifth at 21-7 ¼.
It was all part of a big day for D10 and D9, as there were medalists across the field events as well as in the 1600-meter run, the only track event to run finals on Friday.
Oil City’s Baine Snyder finished sixth in the Class 2A girls’ high jump, clearing 5-0. Snyder will look to add her second medal on Saturday when she competes in the pole vault.
Also in class 2A girls, Reynolds’ Mackenzie Herman had a throw of 110-3 to take seventh in the discus and in the 1600, Greenville’s Karis McElhaney and Mercer’s Willow Myers went 4-5 with times of 5:05.69 and 5:07.69, respectively.
Moving to Class 2A boys, Coudersport’s Kevin Sherry took home fourth in the 1600 with a time of 4:16.31. Carson McCoy of Deer Lakes won the event in 4:13.14. It’s the first of what may be two medals for Sherry, who is seeded seventh in the 3200, to be run Saturday morning. Grove City’s Joshua Jones also turned in a medal-winning performance in the 1600, taking eighth in 4:18.72.
Also in Class 2A boys, Clarion-Limestone’s Ryan Hummell was fourth in the javelin at 166-7, an event won by Drew Murk (211-9) of Wyoming Area. In the discus, Redbank Valley’s Cam Wagner turned in a bronze effort with a heave of 162-5. The event was won by Penn State offensive line recruit J’ven Williams of Wyomissing at 167-0.
Class 3A girls saw a pair of medalists in the shot put, as St. Marys’ Payton Bauer took third with a throw of 39-11, while Franklin’s Ashley Alcorn was eighth with a heave of 38-3. The event was won by Elizabeth Tapper of Hempfield with a throw of 46-4 ¼.
The lone Class 3A boys’ medalist of the day was Harbor Creek’s Nick Krahe, finishing eighth in the shot put at 52-0 ½. The event was won by Wade Shomper of Cumberland Valley (59-9 ¾).
Athletes moving on to the finals after their preliminary round performances, qualifying for medals, are as follows (Preliminary events were run in the 100, 100/110 Hurdles, 4×100 relay, 400, 300 Hurdles, 200 and 4×400 relay).
Class 2A Girls: 100 – Laiyla Russell (Cranberry); 100 Hurdles – Lindsey Martineau (Wilmington); 400 – Mylee Harmon (Redbank Valley); 300 Hurdles – Martineau; 200 – Sanaa Brodie (Farrell)
Class 2A Boys: 110 Hurdles – Hayden Skinner (Fort LeBoeuf); 4×100 Relay (Brookville) Brayden Kunselman, Jack Pete, Ian Pete, Hunter Geer; 300 Hurdles – Ryan Miller (Seneca),Ian Pete (Brookville); 4×400 Relay (Brookville) Jack Gill, Hunter Geer, Jack Pete, Ian Pete; (Greenville) Levi Swartz, Ty Csonka, Toby Williams, Riley Runyon