TRACK & FIELD: Area collects 6 golds, numerous medals at District 5 championships
LOYSBURG >> Despite being the defending district champion in the long jump, Southern Fulton's Celina Merchant didn't have the highest of expectations.
"I came in here thinking that I wasn't going to win," Merchant said. "It really sucked, actually. But that made it even more exciting when I did win."
Merchant was seeded just fifth heading into the District 5 Track & Field Championships at Northern Bedford on Wednesday afternoon. Her best jump of the season was just 15-4. But on her second jump of the finals, Merchant sailed 16-2.5 and earned the gold medal.
"As soon as I jumped, I just knew it was a far one," Merchant said.
Merchant collected a pair of golds on Wednesday, also claiming victory in the 300 hurdles. She was matched with two gold medals by Fannett-Metal's Tom Peppernick, who won the discus and the shot put.
The area also got gold medals from McConnellsburg's McKenzie Gelvin and Josh Booth.
In the 300 hurdles, Merchant was seeded second, but her biggest competition, Rockwood's Kolette Hostetter, was seeded nearly two seconds faster than anyone else. But Merchant raced out to finish in 49.11, her first sub-50 time of the season.
"I knew the girl was right behind me, and she was ranked first by a good bit, so I knew I couldn't give up," Merchant said. "I had to sprint the whole entire thing if I wanted to win it. It was an awesome day. I'm tired; it feels like I'm dying, but I'm very excited."
Merchant won medals in all four of her events. She was fourth in the 100 hurdles and was a member of the sixth-place 4x400 relay.
Peppernick, who was a big favorite in both throwing events, didn't disappoint. In the discus, he tossed three throws that were above the state qualifying standard, and his winning mark of 169-1 is a District 5 record by more than six feet.
"The pressure was me against the record rather than me against the competition at that point," Peppernick said. "It's difficult throwing when you're seeded 30 feet ahead of everyone else, so it was good that the record was there for me to go for."
Although Peppernick said he was disappointed in his shot put performance, he still managed to claim the victory with a heave of 45-5.5.
Gelvin started the day especially strong. Despite being seeded only fifth in the 100 dash, she crushed her heat and claimed second in the finals with a time of 13.02. She was one-hundredths of a second away from first place.
"First would've been nice, but I was going up against (Tussey Mountain's Devin) Folk," Gelvin said, "and I knew she was going to be hard to beat. I just tried to stay up with her, and I'm happy with where I finished."
After skipping the 400 to focus strictly on the 800, Gelvin then added to her medal collection by claiming a dominating victory in the event. She clocked in at 2:24.41, more than eight seconds ahead of anyone else.
"I could hear that there were people behind me, and I knew that (Northern Bedford's Whitley) Furry, was going to be good," Gelvin said. "But I just stayed up there and did the best I could. It feels pretty awesome. I've been working hard this season, and this is what I've been hoping for all season."
The final gold medal for the area came from the Spartans' Booth, who won the 300 hurdles in 41.62. He also surpassed expectations – he was seeded just third coming into the event.
"I didn't feel too good going into it," Booth said. "But as I started running, life came into me. Right around the fourth or fifth hurdle, the guy ahead of me hit a hurdle and stumbled a bit. I felt like I had a chance to catch up with him then."
Booth had a bit of extra motivation heading into the event. In the 110 hurdles, he was bested by teammate Logan Taylor, despite being seeded higher. Taylor placed second in the event with a time of 16.27, followed by Booth in third in 16:51.
"There has been some friendly competition," Taylor said. "He's gotten the better of me most of the year, so it was good to get a win against him. But I don't think he's mad at me or anything."
Booth said, "I think he feels pretty good about himself for that, but I feel pretty good about myself, too, so we're both really happy."
Southern Fulton also got a surprising silver medal from Timmy Wright in the javelin. Seeded just seventh, Wright had a 12-foot personal best to claim second with a mark of 156-3.
"In practice over the last couple weeks, I've been working on my form a lot," Wright said. "I shortened my run-up, so that helped me to get more control of the javelin and helped me throw farther. I feel like the wind helped a little bit, too, because when I threw, it would go low, but the wind would catch it and take it a little farther."
The Indians also got a stellar day from Chase Varner, who collected medals in all four of his events. He was second in the 1,600 and third in the 800. He also climbed the podium with the second-place 4x800 relay and the fourth-place 4x400.
There were several others who claimed multiple individual medals. Fannett-Metal's Steven Glodek was third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200.
Southern Fulton got a pair of medals from both Chance Hawbaker (fourth in 100, fifth in 200) and Dristin Mellott (sixth in long jump and pole vault), and McConnellsburg's throwers did not disappoint. Mike Banks was third in the shot put and sixth in the discus, while Tyrelle White earned fourth in both events.
In all, the area totaled 38 medals.
Distrist 5 Championships at Northern Bedford
1.Bedford 120, 2.Chestnut Ridge 83, 3.McConnellsburg 57, 4.Everett 47, 5.Berlin 44, 7.Southern Fulton 37, 9.Fannett-Metal 28.
4x800 relay — 1.Bedford 8:34.26, 2.SF (Jacob Pryor, Jacob Murray, Benji Voight, Chase Varner) 8:51.40, 6.McC (Nery Diffenderfer, J.J. Martz, Shawn Garlock, Patrick Keefer) 9:28.35; 110 hurdles — 1.John Emerick (Berlin) 15.67, 2.Logan Taylor (McC) 16.27, 3.Josh Booth (McC) 16.51; 100 — 1.Trent Lohr (CR) 11.29, 4.Chance Hawbaker (SF) 11.59; 1,600 — 1.Will Kachman (Bed) 4:33.15, 2.Varner (SF) 4:47.28, 3.Steven Glodek (FM) 4:49.71; 4x100 relay — 1.CR 45.02, 8.FM (Craig Falcone, Lucas Wingert, Alec Jesmer, Clayton Brown) 48.63; 400 — 1.Zane Baker (Bed) 50.70, 8.Hunter Angle (FM) 56.43; 300 hurdles — 1.Josh Booth (McC) 41.62, 8.Taylor (McC) 44.92, 9.Zac DeShong (McC) 45.31; 800 — 1.Kachman (Bed) 2:03.92, 3.Varner (SF) 2:06.17, 5.Keefer (McC) 2:07.85, 10.Voight (SF) 2:14.87; 200 — 1.Kyle Sheaffer (Evt) 23.94, 5.Hawbaker (McC) 23.99; 3,200 — 1.Kachman (Bed) 9:56.33, 5.Glodek (FM) 10:51.87, 7.Pryor (SF) 10:58.43, 10.Jonah Golden (SF) 11:24.32 ; 4x400 relay — 1.Bed 3:34.03, 3.McC (Hawbaker, Garlock, Booth, Keefer) 3:41.96, 4.SF (Ryan Shank, Murray, Jacob Ashkettle, Varner) 3:45.13; Shot put — 1.Tom Peppernick (FM) 45-5.5, 3.Mike Banks (McC) 44-11, 4.Tyrelle White (McC) 44-4, 5.Connor Johnson (43-6.5); Discus — 1.Peppernick (FM) 169-1, 4.White (McC) 128-5, 6.Banks (McC) 125-0, 7.Johnson (McC) 114-9; Triple jump — 1.Jacobe Miksich (CR) 44-0; Long jump — 1.Miksich (CR) 19-11.75, 6.Dristin Mellott (SF) 19-3.75, 9.Craig Falcone (FM) 18-3.5; High jump — 1.Aaron Fyock (Shade) 6-0, 9.Lucas Wingert (FM) 5-8, 10.Hawbaker (McC) 5-6; Pole vault — 1.Zach Rhodes (Bed) 12-6, 6.Mellott (SF) 11-0; Javelin — 1.August Cook (Bed) 175-8, 2.Timmy Wright (SF) 156-3, 6.Zach Sigel (SF) 136-6.
1.Bedford 129.5, 2.Tussey Mountain 78, 3.Berlin 61, 4.Chestnut Ridge 44, 5.McConnellsburg 41, 9.Southern Fulton 26.
4x800 relay — 1.Bedford 10:23.29, 4.McC (Breanna Worthing, Michaela Kendall, Kellyn Perry, Morghan Taylor) 10:58.82, 7.SF (Brianne Wawro, Sarah Spade, Lindsey Palmer, Victoria Tyler) 11:53.54; 100 hurdles — 1.Allie Kalp (Ber) 16.51, 4.Celina Merchant (SF) 17.33; 100 — 1.Devin Folk (TM) 13.01, 2.McKenzie Gelvin (McC) 13.02; 1,600 — 1.Whitley Furry (NB) 5:35.47, 6.Kendall (McC) 5:52.83, 8.Ally Hoffmann (FM) 6:12.84, 10.Taylor (McC) 6:19.01; 4x100 relay — 1.TM 52.14; 400 — 1.Devin Folk (TM) 1:02.02, 9.Perry (McC) 1:08.83; 300 hurdles — 1.Celina Merchant (SF) 49.11, 3.Breanna Worthing (McC) 51.72 ; 800 — 1.Gelvin (McC) 2:24.41, 8.Kendall (McC) 2:51.95; 200 — 1.Folk (TM) 27.13; 3,200 — 1.Graycen Breckenridge (Rockwood) 12:36.34, 7.Taylor (McC) 13:33.41, 9.Emily Bradshaw (SF) 13:49.67; 4x400 relay — 1.TM 4:20.74, 2.McC (Worthing, Kendall, McKenzi Garlock, Gelvin) 4:24.46, 6.SF (Victoria Tyler, Shaelyn Wawro, Emma Williams, Merchant) 4:37.07 ; Shot put — 1.Ellie Fleegle (Ber) 37-3, 5.Sam Roberts (McC) 30-10.25, 6.Veronica Stone (McC) 30-9.25, 10.Lizzie Peppernick (FM) 27-11; Discus — 1.Emily Finnegan (CR) 119-0, 6.Stone (McC) 101-1, 7.Roberts (McC) 100-10; Triple jump — 1.Stephanie Ketterman (Evt) 34-3.25; Long jump — 1.Merchant (SF) 16-2.5, 10.Tayler Falcone (FM) 14-1.5; High jump — 1.Jordan Fockler (Conemaugh Twp) 5-2, 7.(tie) Janelle Becker (FM) 4-6; Pole vault — 1.Fockler (CT) 9-0, 6.Linsey Pryor (SF) 8-0; Javelin — 1.Hannah Meyers (Bed) 117-7.