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Spring Grove senior Nathalie Elliott set the District 3 Class 3A pole vault record by clearing 12 feet, 6 inches Friday, May 19, 2017. Jim Seip, GameTimePA

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SHIPPENSBURG - Nathalie Elliott thought she had prepared for the District 3 Class 3A track and field championships Friday afternoon at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.

But when she reached the magic number she had chased all year, clearing 12 feet, 6 inches ...

And when she saw her coach …

And when he told her she set a district record, she was overwhelmed by emotions.

“Everything hit me at once: I just did this,” Elliott said fanning her face with her hands.

“Tears just came to my eyes.”

 

The 12-6 vault propelled her to the district title, since Hempfield’s Carena Nottoli failed to clear 12-6.

Elliott made three attempts at 12-9, acknowledging the crowd with a wave after the public address announcer notified the crowd about her record vault. By then, though, Elliott was just trying to finish her day. Her steps were off, and clearing 12-9 would have to wait for another day.

“It’s just overwhelming a little bit,” Elliott said about her final three vaults. “You set yourself a goal, you reached the goal. Now what do you do?”

She will return to Shippensburg next week for the state championships, and her district vault qualified her for New Balance Championship Nationals scheduled for June 16-18 in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

“I’m looking forward to having fun, there’s no more stress for me, it’s my senior year,” said Elliott, who will compete at High Point University next year.   

Elliott had learned from past experiences she needed to come prepared for this meet after similar hot temperatures a year ago.  

 

“My shoes melted,” Elliott said about sitting on the turf field waiting to vault at last year's meet. “The soles on my spikes were glued on and the glue melted. So the soles are just flopping around. I was competing with taped-up shoes.

“This year I had a blue cooler filled with ice, sun glasses, sun screen, a towel and an umbrella.”

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West York freshman sets PR for mom

Tesia Thomas had extra motivation to perform well at the district meet. 

"Today I was really focused on doing my best because it's also my mom's birthday," Thomas said. "On my second jump I went for a PR and I thought, well, there's one present for my mom.

"She does a lot for us," Thomas said about her desire to perform well on the birthday for her mother, Titania. "There's five of us, and we all do sports, which means spending money and driving far. It just means a lot that she came out and watched me today." 

Thomas placed third with a triple jump of 37 feet, 10.5 inches. Lower Dauphin's Karina Long won in 37-11.25. Gettysburg's Hannah Baddick (36-3.75) took seventh. 

It's an eventful year for the West York freshman: She played for the Bulldogs in the girls' volleyball state tournament, swam in the state championships and is now headed to the state track meet.  

"It's still my first year, and I didn't think I'd be able to pull this out of nowhere," Thomas said about notching a berth to another state championship event.

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York-area athletes managed to earn coveted spots at the state track and field championships with their performances at the District 3 Class 3A track and field championships Friday, May 19, 2017 at Shippensburg University. Jim Seip, GameTimePA

New Oxford's Hafner places fourth

Liam Hafner led a talented field of York-Adams jumpers on the podium in the triple jump.

"The past few meets including the (YAIAA championship) meet, my jumps have been starting around almost a foot behind the takeoff point," Hafner said. "So I've been at least a foot behind my jumps and today I was finally able to get my foot where it needed to be." 

Hafner, seeded 12th, set his personal best with a triple jump of 44 feet, 8 inches.

Milton Hershey's Treyvon Ferguson won the event with a triple jump of 48-7.Hafner placed fourth, York Tech's D.J. Hamilton (43-5.5) placed sixth and Spring Grove's Noah Myers (43-11) placed seventh.  

In order to improve, Hafner said he did "countless run-throughs every day."

"Pretty much my coach pushed me to my breaking point," Hafner said.  

McCaskill wins silver

Spring Grove's Airika McCaskill placed second in the shot put, finishing behind Greencastle-Antrim's Jenay Faulkner (41-6.5). McCaskill improved on her season-best by throwing the shot 39-8.75.

The throw guaranteed her a spot in the state championships. 

South Western's Jazmin Walker (35.6.5) placed seventh.

Northern's freshman champion

Northern York's Marlee Starliper put on a show in the 3,200-meter run, noting afterward she wanted to dream a little bigger.

She won in 10:31.09, about 50 seconds faster than her seed time, and more than 10 seconds faster than the second-place finisher in the event.

"I just changed my race strategy a little bit," Starliper said. "I never had much confidence ... I wanted to see if I could take it out in races. And it pushed me to go harder.

"When I just laid it out there, I wouldn't have it any other way."

This is expected to be her final 3,200, however, as she plans to focus on the 1,600 for the state championship.  

Moving on to states

Red Lion pole vaulter Gregory Potter finally feels himself again.

"Today I just hoped to get back to where I was last year," said Potter, who placed second in the pole vault by clearing 14-9.

After vaulting on a stress fracture in his foot, the navicular bone, that he didn't know about, he underwent surgery in the fall. Headed to Eastern Michigan to vault next year, he was edged out for the gold medal by East Pennsboro's Payton Morris (15-0). 

"I've had many people say you look like yourself again," Potter said. "So I'm happy right now.

"My PR is 15 feet, so I'm working up to that number again."  

Other notes

  • Eastern York's Brady Glatfelter placed third in the pole vault, clearing 14-9 to secure a spot at next week's championships.
  • York Suburban's Ralph Casper placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 53-9.5.
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