Before his second attempt at 14 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault, Roger Hollenbaugh crouched, prayed and recalled everything he remembered about his technique. He had struggled with his form throughout the season, but improved as the year progressed.
Hollenbaugh didn't make the jump, but clearing 14 feet on his second attempt at the PIAA Class AA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University was good enough for fifth place Friday.
The finish came after what he called a bad regular season.
"I wasn't doing too well," said Hollenbaugh, a senior at Littlestown High. "I'd work on my plant and finally get that and lose something else. Then I'd get that and lose my plant or something else. It's nerve-racking.
Just getting a proper pole was troublesome. He started the season with a new one, but snapped it the third time he vaulted. Hollenbaugh purchased another, but the order, which took two weeks to arrive, was wrong.
That forced him to use a shorter pole, one designed for someone who weighed 160 pounds, about 15 more than his 145. He did pushups daily to build the upper body strength needed to use it.
"I couldn't do anything with that," Hollenbaugh said. "I was not getting everything I needed to do to get as high as I needed. I finally got a new pole."
The Bermudian Springs track team lent him that pole for the district meet last week. He finished second with a personal-best and school-record 14-foot jump that he credited to the new pole after going 13-3 last year at districts.
His coach, Deanne Lehr, said the work with his technique, which came because he was using a shorter pole during the season, helped with Friday's result.
"He got short steps and really focused on form," she said. "We worked on it a lot. That's what really took us up that extra foot this year."
Good first impression: Delone Catholic freshman Grace Reidel should've set her goals higher.
She finished seventh in the girls' pole vault in the PIAA championships with a school-record jump of 11 feet. She entered the season hoping to reach as high as 9 feet, 9 inches.
"I can't believe that I made it," Reidel said. "I was hoping that I would, but I wasn't sure."
She went 10-6 last week in the district meet and improved 10 places from her seed Friday. The drastic improvement at the end of the season was because of plenty of work, said Jamie Lehr, who was filling in at the meet for his son Dusty, who couldn't attend because of work.
"She just came together at the end of the year," Jamie said. "That's when it's important. She vaulted indoors to get a good basis. As the outdoor season came along, we were able to build off that. She had the basis with the plant and swing."
He said it was the first time in 14 years coaching that he has seen a freshman clear 11 feet. She was the only freshman to qualify for the state tournament, though there was one eighth-grader who finished tied for 11th.
Reidel's relative lack of experience, Lehr believed, was beneficial. He said she didn't enter the meet with many expectations and was just hoping to have fun. When he switched her to larger poles in an attempt to clear the larger heights, she didn't ask why, unlike some older competitors.
"It just feels really special that I made it," Reidel said. "It makes me strive for better."
Her goal for next season is clearing 11-6, a mark that Lehr said was possible if she continued to add the strength needed to use the larger poles needed to clear bigger heights. She beat her goal this season by 15 inches, though.
Weaving an improvement: With the goal of making states accomplished, South Western senior Tess Weaver wanted to medal. Well, add another checkmark to her season.
She finished fifth in the shot put in the PIAA Class AAA Championships with a school-record 40-2 3/4. The mark was a personal best by 17 inches.
"I just wanted to get eighth," Weaver said. "I just wanted to medal. That's crazy. (Coming into) last week, it was 36-11. 'Oh, there's another PR,' and then it was 38-9. Now it's 40 feet. It's awesome to end senior year."
She moved up six seeds at last weekend's district meet to finish second and improved by seven seeds Friday to earn her first state medal in her first trip to states.
The improvement could increase her potential of throwing in college. She wasn't planning to throw, but said the new personal best could make her attractive to coaches.
"My coaches are kind of feeling things out," Weaver said. "The 40 feet has really helped out."
email@example.com; 717-637-3736, extension 139
Friday's finals results from the PIAA Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University:
CLASS AAA BOYS
Triple jump -- 1, Wellington Zaza, Strath Haven, 50-1/2; 2, Imani Brown, Reading, 49-51/2; 3, Shawn Johnson, Canon-McMillan, 49-5 1/4; 4, Harley LaCroix, Cheltenham, 48-10 1/4; 5, Tyrek Edwards, Archbishop Ryan, 47-11; 6, De'vion Tate, McDowell, 46-11 3/4; 7, Corey Muggler, La Salle College HS, 46-9 3/4; 8, Julian Thompson, Greensburg-Salem, 46-4 1/4.
Discus -- 1, Kyle Long, Landisville Hempfield, 189-0; 2, Bryan Pearson, Bangor, 179-6; 3, Kyle Felpel, Cocalico, 178-2; 4, Ian Maginnes, Father Judge, 176-6; 5, Ryan Hart, Downingtown East, 174-4; 6, Chazz Wilkes, Cardinal O'Hara, 169-2; 7, David Reinhardt, Bradford, 167-1; 8, Anthony Bouselli, Wallenpaupack, 161-7.
CLASS AA BOYS
Triple jump -- 1, Jared Horne, Schuylkill Valley, 46-9; 2, Michael Young, Chestnut Ridge, 45-9 1/4; 3, Johnathon Jacoway, Sharon, 45-5 3/4; 4, Brad Najac, Schuylkill Valley, 45-4; 5, Jeremy Claypoole, Bellwood-Antis, 44-11; 6, Daniel Reichenbach, Salisbury Twp., 44-6 3/4; 7, Jason Brandt, Pen Argyl, 44-5; 8, Jared Myers, Greenwood, 43-101/2.
Javelin -- 1, Michael Shuey, Johnsonburg, 200-1; 2, Tyler Hope, Tamaqua, 198-4; 3, Ryan Kerr, Brookville, 194-8; 4, Michael Burke IV, Columbia, 187-2; 5, Stefan Moreau, United, 185-0; 6, Brandon Smith, Lewisburg, 183-1; 7, Geoff Beam, Pen Argyl, 178-1; 8, Tyler Donati, Wilmington, 169-3.
Pole Vault -- 1, Patrick Anderson, Kane, 15-11 (New PIAA record; previous mark, 15-10, Eric Sparks, Hickory, 2005); 2, Joey Rakowski, Quaker Valley, 14-6; 3, Ben Shank, Camp Hill, 14-6; 4, Greg Hildebrandt, Towanda, 14-0; 5, Roger Hollenbaugh, Littlestown, 14-0; 6. (tie) Austin Witmer, Pen Argyl, 13-6; Cam Cassels, Lewisburg, 13-6; 8, Tyler Kolar, Mount Pleasant, 13-6.
Shot Put -- 1, Matt Bell, Hickory, 59-6 3/4; 2, John Yohman, Wilmington, 58-31/2; 3, Nick Delmonaco, Riverview, 55-9 3/4; 4, Stefan Moreau, United, 54-3 1/4; 5, Zach Porterfield, Sharon, 54-2; 6, Tom Schetroma, Southern Columbia, 53-11 1/4; 7, Luke Lewis, Hickory, 52-2; 8, Tony Dennis, Wilkes-Barre Hanover Area, 52-1/2.
CLASS AAA GIRLS
Long jump -- 1, Marshay Ryan, Chambersburg, 19-5 1/4; 2, Ciara Andrews, Cheltenham, 18-91/2; 3, Anna Chodubski, McDowell, 18-6 3/4; 4, Jordan Matthews, Abington, 18-6 1/4; 5, Maddie Holmberg, Greensburg Hempfield Area, 18-1 1/4; 6, Jayna Coyle, Somerset, 17-11; 7, Rachel Van Metre, Strath Haven, 17-101/2; 8, Logan Brenker, Conwell-Egan, 17-7 1/4.
Shot Put -- 1, Rachel Fatherly, Williamsport, 46-91/2; 2, Tyra Roberts, Bensalem, 41-10 1/4; 3, April Krivoniak, Greater Latrobe, 40-8; 4, Sarah Fairbanks, Elizabethtown, 40-6; 5, Tess Weaver, South Western, 40-2 3/4; 6, Courtney McCartney, Selinsgrove, 40- 1/4; 7, Martina Milcec, Norwin, 39-1 1/4; 8, Jaynee Corbett, Corry, 39-0.
Javelin -- 1, Julia Franzosa, Hazleton, 135-9; 2, Mira Carrozza, Canon-McMillan, 132-3; 3, Devon Player, Pope John Paul II, 132-2; 4, Olivia Hassler, Parkland, 130-0; 5, Gabby Alguire, Tunkhannock, 129-3; 6, Rikki Feerrar, Jersey Shore, 127-11; 7, Chrissy Rickert, Landisville Hempfield, 126-4; 8, Katie Hohman, North Allegheny, 125-2.
CLASS AA GIRLS
High jump -- 1, Corrin Regginello, Hickory, 5-5; 2, Alexandra Schriefer, North East, 5-4; 3. (tie), Courtney King, Lakeview, 5-2; Joselyn Pascaul, Milton, 5-2; 5. (tie), Ashley Bender, Mohawk, 5-2; Nicole Florio, Elk County Catholic, 5-2; Laurel Schickler, North East, 5-2; Carly Gregas, North Schuylkill, 5-2.
Discus -- 1, Lauren Lubarski, Hickory, 142-6; 2, Taylor Woods, Hickory, 139-2; 3, Jennifer Neider, Hickory, 135-8; 4, Mary Newell, Villa Joseph Marie, 122-5; 5, Mariah Williams, Juniata, 120-4; 6, Rachel DeMaria, West Middlesex, 118-8; 7, Samantha Black, Seneca, 118-5; 8, Amber Bacon, Union City, 118-5.
Pole Vault -- 1, Marissa Kalsey, Waynesburg Central, 12-6; 2 (tie), Rebekah Petty, Greenville, 12-0; Virginia LaMacchia, Central Columbia, 12-0; 4, Vicki Soltys, Milton, 11-0; 5, Abbey Eisenbrown, Ellwood City, 11-0; 6, Devan Kerecman, Holy Cross, 11-0; 7, Grace Reidel, Delone Catholic, 11-0; 8, Madison Depner, Camp Hill Trinity, 11-0.
Long Jump -- 1, Lauren Ball, Bloomsburg, 18-1 1/4; 2, Kayla Hope, Tamaqua, 17-11 1/4; 3, Alexis King, Wilmington, 17-9 1/4; 4, Amani Nesmith, Swenson ATVS, 17-8; 5, Brooke Smay, Forest Hills, 17-31/2; 6, Leah Winner, Montoursville, 17-1 1/4; 7, Julia Wignot, Holy Redeemer, 17- 1/4; 8, Kelsey Kozora, Ellwood City, 17-0.
High Jump -- 1, Taylor Morgan, Upper Dublin, 5-7; 2, Abby Jones, Franklin, 5-6; 3, Paige Kassab, Meadville, 5-6; 4, India McCoy, Ambridge, 5-4; 5, Rachel Van Metre, Strath Haven, 5-4; 6 (tie), Emily Allport, Solanco, 5-4; Shelby Burns, Laurel Highlands, 5-4; Paige Rittelman, Butler, 5-4.