Rounding the first turn of the fifth lap of the girls 3,200 race at Day 1 of the District 3 Track & Field Championships, Franklin County's top distance runner, Abby Yourkavitch, was on the heels of friend and rival Mady Clahane of Cumberland Valley.
For much of the race, the No. 1 seed, Clahane, was tightly contested by Yourkavitch, the No. 2 runner. But not unlike many of their other races, Clahane slowly began adding distance with each remaining turn, before separating herself from Yourkavitch by a full 10 seconds to take yet another gold medal from the Chambersburg sophomore.
But Yourkavitch stood on the podium with pride knowing her second-place finish of 10:34.40 bested her personal record by 18 seconds, and also set a new Chambersburg school record in the process. She broke Kylie Schuler's record set in 2003 by almost 10 seconds.
"My last laps have never been my strength, so I knew she was going to go with about a lap and a half to go," Yourkavitch said. "She usually pulls away at that point, so I knew I needed to stay with her as long as I could and when she went away I was going to try to push myself to the finish and I definitely did that. I felt really strong the whole way, and I'm super proud."
“I felt that in the right weather, she was ready to break that record, and it was perfect today," Chambersburg girls coach Chris Monheim said. "The pace was crazy fast – she ran a 5:10 first mile – so I wasn’t surprised she got it.”
Chambersburg's Kaylee Mowery placed fifth in the race with a time of 11:04.61, six seconds faster than her season best, to qualify for states next week.
Other Franklin County athletes who stepped onto the podium during Day 1 of the district championships were Greencastle-Antrim throwers Jenay Faulkner, who took third in the girls shot put, and Campbell Parker, who claimed fifth in the boys shot put.
Faulkner came out in prelims already setting a personal record and season best on her first throw by more than two feet, and continued to improve through the finals before placing third with a throw of 42-3.75. Prior to Friday, Faulkner had only hit 41-0 in practice a couple of times.
"As soon as you get the first throw out of the way you get the jitters out and today it felt good," Faulkner said. "It was nice to know that I can consistently throw 41-0, so going into states next week I will be more confident."
Parker placed fifth in the shot put to qualify for states with a heave of 53-3, his only non-foul throw of the day. Despite Parker fouling twice, each of his throws was in the mid-50 range.
"It was a consistent series, but it’s not what I could have thrown," Parker said. "I felt lot stronger than I actually threw, but hopefully that will translate tomorrow in the discus, which is my main event and what I’m so excited for."
Chambersburg's Kelton Chastulik, the area leader in the shot put, did not have his finest performance Friday, placing eighth after claiming the No. 2 seed heading into the event. He struggled to hit 50-0 throughout the preliminaries, and fouled on his first attempt in the final before throwing 46-9.75 and 51-5 on his final two throws. His eighth-place finish eliminated him from an appearance at states.
Chastulik's teammate Myles Braxton, however, threw for a length of 52-1 in the finals, good enough for sixth place, and a personal record by more than two feet. He squeezed by the state qualifying standard by just an inch.
"I get so wound up I think that really hinders me," Chastulik said. "But my parents have always told me the best winners lose with grace also, so I really want to congratulate Myles. He says it doesn't mean much, but it does."