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District 3 is considered one of the strongest regions in Pennsylvania when it comes to track & field.

That's why the district receives five automatic qualifiers for the PIAA Championships in each event in Class AAA. And why often the district's sixth-, seventh- and eighth-place finishers - who can reach the state qualifying standard - also end up advancing to states. A couple of area coaches are hoping that Saturday's expected poor weather doesn't put a damper on those extra places.

Shippensburg University hosts the District 3 Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday, and while Franklin County doesn't seem to have its usual depth of contenders, there are still plenty of potential medal winners.

"If we get the bad weather on Saturday, it could be a factor," Chambersburg girls coach Chris Monheim said. "Those six, seven and eight spots will have to work to hit the standard."

Trojan boys coach Bob Walker said, "With the weather looking bad on Saturday, it might be harder to hit some qualifying performances. But sometimes bad weather is an advantage for us, because we always practice in it."

Greencastle-Antrim's Campbell Parker is the area's only No. 1 seed, with his 179-3 effort in the discus. He's also seeded No. 3 in the shot put.

G-A coach Devin McCauley said, "He's in a good spot mentally, and he's been consistent, and that's been a big key. He's hoping to advance in both events, and we hope to get another one (14th-seeded Jacob Hockman) through in discus."

Also in the boys throws, Chambersburg's Kelton Chastulik is seeded second in the shot put (57-8) behind Manheim Central's Tyler Hoag (57-10), and is fourth in the discus.

Walker said, "He certainly has his sights set on qualifying for states in two events."

The other male with a No. 2 seed in Greencastle sprinter Liam Okal (21.94), who is right behind Aaron Arp (21.83) of CD East in the 200. They have raced twice this year and have beaten each other once.

"We just want to get in a good lane for the final," McCauley said. "We opted out of the 100 because we think Liam has a better chance of winning the 200."

For the girls, Chambersburg's Abby Yourkavitch has earned two No. 2 seeds, in Friday's 3200 (10:52.42) and Saturday's 1600 (4:57.42), while teammate Kaylee Mowery is fourth in the 3200 and fifth in the 1600. Unfortunately, both races are expected to be won by Cumberland Valley's ace, Mady Clahane.

Monheim said, "Based on the seeds, they both have a good shot at moving on. The 3200 is the best race for both of them, and if they can qualify in that, then the pressure is off for the next day's 1600. We also took them out of our 4x800 relay to save them some. We have a pretty good-size crew competing this weekend, and we hope it's a pretty good crew next week, too."

Greencastle's Jenay Faulkner is the other top-five seed, listed as No. 5 in the shot put.

McCauley said, "She's had two really good weeks of practice to focus on just the shot, and she has the potential to pop one."

The only other top-10 area seeds include Chambersburg's Reagan Winebrenner (7th, shot put), Waynesboro's Austin Kassman (9th, javelin), the Trojans' Cirsten Kelly (10th, 400), G-A's Jordan Pizzarro (100) and Chambersburg's girls 4x800 relay.

GREAT CAREER: Mercersburg Academy's senior No. 1 singles tennis player Elliot Hicks concluded his career with a victory Wednesday in a 7-0 win over St. James.

And what a career it was.

Hicks was 12-2 this year, the best record at No. 1 since Javier Arregui went 15-1 in 1999.

He also ended his career with a total of 64 wins combined in singles and doubles. That places Hicks in second place all-time for wins for a No. 1 player behind the 71 produced by Matt Diller (Chambersburg), who graduated in 2005.

TOP HOUNDS: Shippensburg held its annual athletic and academic awards event on Tuesday. The Female Athlete of the Year was Natalie Nye and the Male Athlete of the Year was Wade Mills.

Nye competed in soccer, swimming and track & field for the Lady Hounds. She was a Public Opinion Second Team pick in soccer, scoring three goals and adding two assists. She helped Ship to a 7-6 record in swimming, and in track, she broke the school record in the pole vault this spring.

Mills was a P.O. First Team selection in football and basketball. He caught 48 passes for 708 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in football, and averaged 14 points and nine rebounds in basketball.

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