Allied News Sports Staff
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Lakeview High’s Courtney King had some tough acts to follow, but she came through with flying colors.
The Lakeview High senior high-jumped 5-6 to garner gold at the PIAA State Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University Friday.
King captured Mercer County’s 3rd consecutive crown for AA girls’ high-jumpers, following Hickory’s Lauren Lubarski and Corrine Regginello.
“That’s my best all year, and since I’m a senior, that’s a very good way to end (her scholastic career,” King commented. “A lot of jumpers say weather affects them, but I just try to block it out, try to do my best.
“I definitely did,” King replied when asked if she exceeded her expectations. “I was seeded at five-four with six other girls, and another girl ahead of me. I guess I was just going for my best and I did do my best – and I won it, so I’m very happy about that,” concluded King, Lakeview’s 1st female track & field state champion since 2-time javelin titlist Fawn Miller.
King led the group of Allied News area competitors with her gold medal performance.
Grove City’s outstanding long-distance man Daniel Jaskowak capped his decorated scholastic career (7-time state qualifier in cross country and track) Saturday by placing 3rd in the Class AAA 1600-meter run (4:19.53).
“I was just trying to fight through the wind, maintain form and strength,” explained Jaskowak, following his finall scholastic race. “It was kind’ve do-or-die time. A couple points between the third and fourth laps I was like, ‘You’re not sitting in a very good spot right now, you’ve gotta go,’ and it ended up well for me after the (closing) kick.”
Lakeview boys (Blake Reddick, Devon Workman, Connor Stankovich, Billy Kinsey) finished 4th (8:12.88) in the 4x800 relay.
“We were going for top-five, but got fourth. We did as well as we could,” summarized senior spokesman Kinsey. “It’s pretty amazing! Last year we were fifteenth, so this is quite a jump from last year. … It’s really nice to end my (scholastic) career like this, coming out and getting fourth at the state track meet. It’s amazing!” Kinsey added.
Intermediate hurdlers Kyle Trinch (39.57) of Grove City and Mercer’s Janette Berger (47.34) stood 6th and 7th.
Following is a look at how other Mercer County athletes did at state as reported by Herald Assistant Sports Editor Ed Farrell:
Clay Allen said he had to explode out of the starting blocks for his 100-meter dash showdown with Hickory’s DeShawn Coleman. But Allen — all afternoon — was getting the jump on his competitors during the annual PIAA Track & Field Championships.
By approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Shippensburg University, Allen annexed 4 gold medals — 100- and 200-meter dashes, long jump, and as part of the sprint-relay. The workload West Middlesex High’s senior exhibited enabled the Big Reds to record the Class AA commonwealth crown.
“I can’t begin to describe what this means to, us, the school, the program, the community,” 23rd-year Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna began. “We’ve been blessed, and these kids are just a gift from God. They’ve been outstanding for four straight years for us — Clay, ‘Seb,’ Luke, Jeremy, Trevor, Austin.
“This senior group, I’ll never coach — collectively — another group this talented,” Pikna continued, noting, “For a school our size to come down here and win a state championship, it’s just absolutely unbelievable.”
Celebrating his 18th birthday a day early, Allen singlehandedly produced 40 points as West Middlesex outdistanced Camp Hill-Trinity, 60-48.
According to available Herald archives, Allen’s accomplishment is a first in Mercer County annals.
“I’m kind’ve shocked. I can’t really believe it myself,” Allen admitted after his unprecedented performance. “I didn’t really expect to win four golds; I was really just going after the ‘1’ and the ‘2. Luck just came my way, I guess.
“I wanted to win the ‘1’ and the ‘2’, score some points in the long, and maybe our four-by-one get
top-three, but everything just felt right,” continued Allen, adding, “We’ve been having bad luck all year. I think it was just, kind’ve, our day.”
The sunny, but blustery conditions at Seth Grove Stadium did not affect Allen, who admitted, “I like to be doing something all the time; if I sit around … I start to get a little tired, I tighten up. So I kind’ve like to be on my feet, keep moving,”
Allen anticipated duels with Coleman commenced in the morning 100-meter semifinals.
“I knew I had to get everybody out of the blocks, ’cause that’s my biggest weakness. Once I got out of the blocks, I kind’ve knew I was gonna have it because I know I’ve got a lot more top speed than the rest of the field, and I just kept pushin’ it all the way through the line,” Allen assessed after clocking a 10.72, eight-tenths ahead of Coleman in the finals.
Later, Allen added the 200 (22.29) and anchored the Big Reds’ 4x100-meter relay quartet to a title in 43.41. He was joined by Jeremy Jancso, pole-vault gold-medalist Luke Patten, and lead leg Sebastian Grasso.
“I’m proud of my team. I love those guys. It was my last race,” said senior Grasso, who is headed to Penn State-Behrend. “It flashed through my mind, ‘Last time ever wearing the Red and White,’ but we got it done, and glad to go out on top.”
Hickory’s sprint-relay team has gained a statewide reputation during the last few years; however, the Hornets had a mishandled baton exchange that rendered them irrelevant in the race.
“When I handed off (to Jancso), I usually gauge where we are ’cause I see how far Jeremy’s out in front. But you don’t wish that on anybody, that’s tough luck,” Grasso emphasized. “We’ve been here my sophomore year and junior year, too, and (the Hornets) have been here at states, too. It’s a rivalry, and we bring out the best in each other, so it’s definitely not good and I feel for them.”
Early on, Allen long-jumped a personal-best 23 feet to garner gold and give some giddy-up to the Big Reds’ state-championship aspirations.
“We had a lot of pressure on us going into that event; we were projected for only two points and ended up getting 14, so that was real big,” Allen assessed.
“The kids had six jumps in the long jump and five races (Saturday), and he ran three (Friday) — he’s just a workhorse,” Pikna praised. “Somebody at the college level is gonna wise up and snatch him up, and gonna be very happy with him for four years.
“He’s absolutely one of a kind, and there’s no quit in him,” Pikna continued. “He got a decent start in the hundred, but was behind and won it; was behind in the two-hundred and won it; we were behind in the four-by-one and he won it, and long-jumped twenty-three feet, a new school record. He won four golds. Absolutely unbelievable!”
Among Mercer County’s medalists Saturday:
West Middlesex senior shot-putter Rachel DeMaria stood 2nd (40-1 1⁄2).
“I was actually a little disappointed in myself; I really wanted to go for my ‘PR’ (42-1/2) this fine day and maybe pull off a gold medal. But I’m so very happy with a silver. I mean, honestly, you can’t complain about being the state runnerup,” summarized DeMaria, who is bound for West Virginia Wesleyan University on an academic/athletic/musical scholarship.
Sharon girls’ 4x4 foursome of Xsila Powell, Leonna Bell, Jessica Talbert-Kirsch and Z’hane’a Davis placed 3rd in a time of 4:05.60, changing up their order from Friday, according to assistant coach Charles Moss.
Discus-throwers Jon Yohman of Wilmington (180-10), West Middlesex’s Trevor Harrison (166-2) and Hickory’s Jeremy Orlik (156-3) placed 2nd, 3rd and 5th, respectively. Also, Jancso (22-2 3⁄4) and Sharon’s Johnathon Jacoway (21-9 1⁄2) finished 5th and 6th, respectively, in the long jump Wilmington’s Julie Falvo finished 7th in the shot (38-6).
“I was seeded tenth coming into this, so I had nothing to lose; I was just hoping to get a place,” Jancso related.
In addition to the Big Reds’ track team Jancso was part of the football team that played for the District 10 Class A championship and the AA basketball team that advanced to the regional title tilt.
“It’s been a good year for me. We had a long run in football, a long run in basketball, and track, and I’m excited to see what happens in the future,” summarized Jancso, who is headed to Kent State University to major in health/physical education and compete in track.
Greenville’s Rebekah Petty set the bar high for herself — literally and figuratively. So although Greenville High’s junior won the PIAA Class AA pole-vault championship, she walked away somewhat disappointed.
“I’m really happy that I won; but at the same time, I didn’t do my best, so that’s hard,” the disappointed Petty expressed after garnering gold.
Petty pole-vaulted 11 feet, 9 inches, unable to produce in a trio of attempts at 12-3.
“I’m really not happy with my performance, but everyone has ‘off’ days, so you’ve just gotta keep going,” related Petty, who refused to use an alibi owing to gusting Seth Grove Stadium winds ranging from 13-to18 miles-per-hour,
At the recent District 10 Championships Petty cleared 12-8, an inch higher than the existing PIAA AA mark. However in order to be recognized as the Keystone State’s kingpin, an athlete must set the record at the annual PIAA Championships.
In 2010, Wilson Area’s Allison Vanek vaulted 12-7, to cop the current commonwealth crown.
Petty has her sights set on this summer’s New Balance national competition in Greensboro, N.C., as well as her senior scholastic season.
“I do have another year, so I have to realize that sometimes not everything’s going to go your way,” Petty reasoned, adding, “I’ll just have to come back and try it again. The tailwind wasn’t great, but you have to be prepared for all situations – you’re never going to have the perfect climate
“All in all, I really wouldn’t have changed anything,” Petty continued. “If it was warmer, maybe it would’ve helped all the other girls out. So you get what you get.
“It’s an okay day, I’d have to say,” Petty summarized. “Not my best, but I’m a state champion, so that’s awesome.”
West Middlesex High’s Luke Patten completed a pole-vault sweep as he soared 14-6 to win the Class AA crown. He went out attempting a personal-best 15 feet after switching from a 14- to 15-foot pole.
“This was one of he worst winds, but we got lucky … because it was actually to our back. If it had been more to the side … or even at us, that would’ve been a really bad day,” Patten explained. “I knew coming into this meet I had a really, really good chance of getting fourteen-six and I was hoping for fifteen. It was close, but I just knew, consistently using a fifteen-foot pole, my chances were to get up a lot higher height,” Patten added.
While he did not attain his personal best, there were no regrets for Greyhound gold-medalist Jon Yohman. Wilmington’s weight-man put the shot 61-8 1⁄2 to garner gold.
“I wish I would’ve thrown better, obviously, because my PR’s 62-1. But I threw three over sixty-one (feet) … I didn’t leave anything out there,” Yohman said. “This
week it was all technique. I focused on throwing not only as hard as I can, but as hard as I can with the proper technique, and it made me a lot more consistent, with higher throws.
“I was definitely mentally prepared,” Yohman co ntinued. “Me and coach (Brandon Phillian) talked a lot. Last year I was seeded number one, but I was a little more emotional, because I was younger. I ended up getting second, which is still great. But this year I had a lot more experience and came in a lot more emotionally sound, and I used that in my throws.
Other Mercer County medalists on Friday: Wilmington’s Tyler Donati (javelin, 176-5) and Julie Falvo (discus, 130-3), both of whom placed 3rd; Hickory shot-putters Luke Lewis (58-3 1/2), Jeremy Orlik (55-2 1⁄2) and Sophia Fustos (41-5 1⁄2), who finished 4th, 5th and 6th; respectively, and West Middlesex discus-thrower Rachel DeMaria (5th, 121-2).