PIAA TRACK & FIELD: Waynesboro's Lilly Harnish earns 4th place in high jump
SHIPPENSBURG >> It didn't take long for Lilly Harnish to switch gears.
Moments after exiting the podium after her fourth-place finish in the Class AAA girls high jump on Friday morning at the PIAA Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University, Harnish was already thinking about her triple jump competition on Saturday.
"I think on a day-to-day basis, and I get excited for each event on that day," Harnish said. "When the high jump is over, I'm already trying to get psyched for the triple jump."
Harnish was the only area athlete to earn a medal on Day 1 of the state meet.
In qualifying races on the track, James Buchanan's Peter Hughey, the top seed in the AAA boys 400-meter run, made it into the final, and Greencastle-Antrim's Liam Okal just barely got through into the AAA 200 semifinals.
Also competing on Friday were Chambersburg's Kelton Chastulik (AAA discus), Tom Peppernick of Fannett-Metal (AA shot put), Celina Merchant of Southern Fulton (AA 300 hurdles and long jump), and McConnellsburg's Josh Booth (AA 300 hurdles) and McKenzie Gelvin (AA 800).
Harnish was clean at her first three heights, but she missed twice at 5-foot-6 before clearing that height. That put her in the top four.
After three misses at 5-7, she went out, along with Grace Becker of Central Bucks East, and Becker took third because of fewer misses.
"I'm happy to do better than last year," Harnish said (she was sixth a year ago). "My second jump at 5-7 felt pretty good, but I caught it with my heels."
Hughey ran a 49.12 to win his heat in the 400, which was a second slower than his winning time at districts last week. But it was the fourth-fastest time of the day and easily put him in the final.
"Today, I just powered through that run," Hughey said. "It was an average run. I'm dealing a little with my left hamstring, but it wasn't an issue in the race today."
Okal had the fifth-fastest time (23.11) in his heat, which just got him into the semifinals with the 16th-best time. It wasn't as fast as his seed time, and he'll need to go lower to reach the final.