TRACK & FIELD: 12 area athletes prep for PIAA Championships
The performance list for the PIAA Track & Field Championships is different than the ones you see for other big meets.
The PIAA ranks its qualifiers based only on what those athletes did in their district qualifying meet, so for many athletes, it wasn't their best performance of the season.
"I don't even look at the seeds," Chambersburg boys coach Bob Walker said, "because the state seeds can be misleading."
However, having a high seed does mean you're probably in the running for at least a medal if you perform to your standards or better. Which is the goal for 12 area athletes who will compete Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University's Grove Stadium.
The area does have one No. 1 seed – James Buchanan's Peter Hughey in the Class AAA 400 – and it also has a No. 2 seed in Tom Peppernick of Fannett-Metal in the Class AA discus.
Several other locals appear to be in position to earn medals.
Walker said, "When we have an athlete in the state meet, the goal is to have them do their best of the year, and hopefully that's good enough to earn a medal."
Two Trojans are entered in throwing events – senior Nate Long in the javelin and sophomore Kelton Chastulik in the discus – and both are seeded No. 18. Long's qualifying throw, however, is five feet under his best of the season.
"Roger (Coleman, the throws coach) has talked about the great sessions they've had this week," Walker said. "He thinks they are both ready. I'd say the ultimate goal is to get into the finals."
Chambersburg also has three girls competing. Freshmen Abby Yourkavitch (No. 14) and Kaylee Mowery (No. 18) both are entered in the 3,200, while senior Sammi Lowery (No. 19) is in the pole vault.
Trojan girls coach Chris Monheim said, "For my two runners, their time in districts was clearly their best time, but the goal is to lower those times again this week. If they can get the times down a good bit under 11, they have a shot at a medal."
Last week, Yourkavitch ran 10:59.48 and Mowery 11:01.59. Lowery's best last week was 11-0 in the pole vault, but she's hit 11-6 this year.
"Pole vault is such a finicky event, and you never know how it will turn out," Monheim said. "If she can hit 11-6 again, she'd be in the running for a medal."
Hughey posted a blazing time of 48.12 last week to win the District 3 400 race. It clearly was the fastest 400 among all of the districts, because of the top five times for states, four are from District 3. Only No. 2 Donovan St. Louis of Upper Darby (48.38) broke up that pack.
A year ago, Hughey ran third in a time of 48.44.
Peppernick unleashed a throw of 169-1 to win the District 5 title. That's good enough for No. 2 behind Dom Westbay of Sherango, who threw the discus 170-4. Peppernick is hoping to become F-M's first-ever state champion in track; a year ago Bryce Chilcote was second in the high jump.
Tigers coach Mathern Mellott said, "I feel certain Tom has a good throw in him. A lot of times guys have a big throw and then go down, but Tom has been consistently hitting good throws all season. Last year he was really upset that he did not get out of the district meet, so he has worked really hard ever since then for this week.
"He has worked as hard as any athlete I've ever had, and he honestly wants this really bad."
Also last year, Waynesboro senior Lilly Harnish came home with a sixth-place medal in the AAA high jump. This year she comes in seeded No. 4 in that event, and also holds a No. 6 seed in the triple jump.
Harnish won District 3 with a leap of 5-6, which was her height at states last year. The top seed has hit 5-8 and two others have reach 5-7, but Harnish's best-ever jump is 5-7.75.
In the triple jump, Harnish produced a 38-1 last week and said she was very close to popping one over 39 feet. The top seed has hit 39-9.
Greencastle's lone competitor is Liam Okal in the boys AAA 200. His time of 22.43 last week gave him a No. 20 seed, while the top time is 21.53.
Three other athletes who qualified from District 5 are also entered will have to overcome low seeds. Josh Booth of McConnellsburg is No. 20 in the boys AA 300 hurdles, teammate McKenzie Gelvin is No. 19 in the girls AA 800, and Southern Fulton's Celina Merchant is listed at No. 26 in the 300 hurdles and No. 27 in the long jump.
Peppernick also qualified in the shot put, but his seed there is No. 25.
PIAA Track & Field Championships
200 — 1.Brian Zimmerman (Mifflinburg) 21.53, 20.Liam Okal (Greencastle) 22.43
400 — 1.Peter Hughey (James Buchanan) 48.12
Javelin — 1.Drew Hess (Wilson Area) 206-9, 18.Nate Long (Chambersburg) 177-3
Discus — 1.Jordan Geist (Knoch) 177-6, 18.Kelton Chastulik (Chambersburg) 149-4
3,200 — 1.Madeleine Davison (North Allegheny) 10:35.55, 14.Abby Yourkavitch (Chambersburg) 10:59.48, 18.Kaylee Mowery (Chambersburg) 11:01.59
High jump — 1.Shannon Taub (Council Rock South) 5-8, 4.Lilly Harnish (Waynesboro) 5-6
Triple jump — 1.Veronika Karpenko (State College) 39-9, 6.Harnish (Waynesboro) 38-1
Pole vault — 1.Erin Winters (Lebanon) 12-4, 19.Sammi Lowery (Chambersburg) 11-0
300 hurdles — 1.Raheem Twyman (Meyers) 38.75, 17.Josh Booth (McConnellsburg) 41.62
Discus — 1.Dom Westbay (Shenango) 170-4, 2.Tom Peppernick (Fannett-Metal) 169-1
Shot put — 1.Evan Blaine (Hickory) 57-10.75, 25.Peppernick (Fannett-Metal) 45-5.5
800 — 1.Claire Brown (Villa Marie) 2:14.30, 19.McKenzie Gelvin (McConnellsburg) 2:24.41
300 hurdles — 1.Markeeta Thomas (Paul Robeson) 43.35, 26.Celina Merchant (Southern Fulton) 49.11
Long jump — 1.Abby Martin (Boiling Springs) 18-6.75, 27.Merchant (S.Fulton) 16-2.5