BROOKVILLE, Pa. – It came down to the last even for freshman Mylee Harmon and Redbank Valley.
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In a meet that ran deep into the night, the Lady Bulldogs, trailing Punnxsutaweny by one point going into the 4×400 relay, raced past the Chucks on the final lap of the event to take home the Class 2A team title, joining the Punxsutawney boys as 2A team champions.
Harmon had a monster day to take home the Jim Manners Award as the top point-getter for the girls, winning the 200, 400, and high jump, with Brookville’s Ian Pete winning the award on the boys’ side.
“Standing over there getting ready to walk on the track, we got the news that we were one point off Punxsy for the title. That gave us a lot more confidence than we already had and gave us a little push.”
She teamed with Raegen Beamer, Ryleigh Smathers, and Alexandra Shoemaker to finish second, just behind the DCC team of Hope Jacob, Madelyn Schmader, Chloe Benden, and Faith Jacob and two spots ahead of Punxsy.
When it was all said and done, Redbank finished with 70 team points to 65.5 for Punxsutawney. Brookville, which had won back-to-back team titles, finished 10th in the standings.
For the boys, Punxsy narrowly edged Brookville, 80-77.
“It felt really good,” Harmon said about overtaking Punxsy late in the 4×4. “Especially knowing that in the back of my mind. It felt amazing.”
On the boys’ side, meanwhile, Punxsutawney got firsts from Tyler Elliott (110 hurdles) and Grant Miller (pole vault), getting balanced scoring across the board to win the team crown.
Smith and Wagner are top seeds in the meet with Wagner having a season-best throw of 169-feet, 5-inches, which is the third-best in 2A in Pennsylvania. He finished fourth in the state in the event a year ago.
The win by the Chucks ended Brookville’s streak of four consecutive titles.
Elliott, Pete, and Moniteau’s Cody Daniels had a very tight race in the 110 hurdle finals, as Elliott won with a time of 15.70, followed by Daniels at 15.71 and Pete at 15.79.
Pete went on to win the 300 hurdles, as well as being a part of the winning 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. He said he used the third-place finish in the 100 hurdles as motivation.
“I was hoping to succeed in the 110s, get the gold, but I had that little setback and it pushed me to work harder in the 300s, the 4×1, and the 4×4,” Pete said. “I really wanted to win that race (300 hurdles). That’s my race, that’s my favorite and I was really trying to bring home the gold.”
Pete finished with a time of 40.42 in the 300s, easily outdistancing Elliott, who was second at 42.04.
The 4×100 team of Pete, Brayden Kunselman, Jack Pete, and Hunter Geer shaved a full second off their original PR to beat second-place Redbank Valley, which ran a time of 44.45.
“We pieced all four guys together and Hunter Geer was great on the last leg,” Pete said. “It’s like a brotherhood (relay teams).”
The Raiders 4×400 team consisted of Pete, Jack Gill, Cooper Shall, and Charlie Krug.
For the boys, Coudersport’s Kevin Sherry defended his titles in both the 1600 and 3200.
Sherry set a facility record in the 3200 with a time of 9:39.65, breaking the old mark of 9:41.74 set by Matt Cecala of Baldwin. In the 1600, meanwhile, he just missed out on a meet record with a time of 4:25.02 (the meet record is 4:14.18).
Johnsonburg’s Enoch Aboussou, meanwhile, unleashed a leap of 45-6 in the triple jump to narrowly set a meet record, breaking the old mark of 45-5 set by Brody Coleman of Keystone in 2019.
“Honestly that last jump didn’t feel like my best jump at all,” Aboussou said. “I just focused on my landing at the end and knew it had to be better than my last jump. I still feel like I can do a lot better.”
Coudy’s Ethan Ross, meanwhile, was seeded fourth in the 100 but turned in a time of 11:23 to edge Redbank Valley’s Ashon Kahle by the slimmest of margins (11:24). Brett Dean of Punxsutawney beat him in the 200, 22.75 to 22.80.
Additional winners for the boys included Kane’s Jack Bell in the 400, Cranberry’s Sylas Fox in the 800, the Kane 4×800 relay team of Josh Greville, Justin Mishic, Ethan Illerbrun, and Jon Mishic, Union/A-C Valley’s Hayden Smith in the high jump, Redbank’s Aiden Ortz in the long jumps, UnionA-C Valley’s Dawson Camper (shot put) and Landon Chalmers (javelin), as well as Clarion-Limestone’s Ryan Hummel (javelin).
For the girls, Harmon shined in all her events, but perhaps none more so than the 400, where she turned in a personal best time of 58.73.
“I got the news that was the fifth-fastest time in the state, so I’m really looking forward to that at states,” Harmon said.
Elsewhere, it was redemption for Union/A-C Valley’s Baylee Blauser. She dealt with a nagging injury at last season’s district championships but was able to truly put her best foot forward this time around.
Blauser won the 100 with a time of 12.80, then turned around and won the triple jump with a leap of 37-6.
Oswayo Valley’s Cheyenne Mehl was also impressive in defending her titles in both the 800 and 1600, looking very comfortable in winning both. Mehl had a time of 2:23.05 in the 800, winning by over four seconds, and 5:15.12 in the 1600, winning by over 12 seconds.
Punxsutawney’s Mary Grustky was yet another double winner, taking first in the discus (111-06) and shot put (132-3), winning both events by over four feet.
Additional winners on the girls’ side were ECC’s Grace Neubert in the 3200, Karns City’s 4×100 relay team of Ashley Fox, Natalie Hess, McKenna Martin, and Rossi McMillen, Redbank Valley’s Claire Henry defending her title in the pole vault, and Punxsy’s Rebekah Miller in the shot put.
The PIAA championships will take place next Friday (May 27) at Shippensburg University.