Liam Okal continues successful season at Mid Penns
At the end of last season, Liam Okal started to turn heads when he qualified for the state championships for Greencastle-Antrim's track & field team.
But the display Okal has put on this season was probably even more unexpected.
Running in his senior season, Okal has won countless events, set a pair of school records and collected two silver medals at Saturday's Mid Penn Conference Championships.
"I really wanted this, and I worked hard for it," Okal said. "Having coach (Devin) McCauley, it's been a four-year process, and I think over time, every year I've gotten better and better, and this year, I just ran away with it. Having guys like (my 4x400 team) at practice, pushing me, helped make me better."
Saturday started with a surprise for Okal, as well. Seeded just eighth in the 100, he powered through his heat to qualify for finals, where he placed second overall with a time of 11:39.
"I felt fresh," Okal said. "We've been running a lot of meets lately, but we basically had four day off this week. I got off the blocks really well, and that's kind of my struggle. I did that well today, and I think that's why I did well overall."
Just a few hours later, Okal had another silver medal to hang around his neck. He placed second in his main event, the 200 dash, and his time of 22.38 was a mere one one-hundredths of a second out of first place.
"I was in Lane 5, and I knew the kid next to me was really good," Okal said. "I was on my toes the whole time, making sure I didn't get caught. After he didn't catch me in the first turn, I tried to stay strong. He caught me at the last second, but I was still happy with it."
In addition to breaking the 200 school record this season, Okal also earned that title in the 400, taking down a record that had stood for 43 years. Now, the Blue Devil turns his sights to the District 3 Championships. Although he's not sure yet, there's a strong likelihood Okal will focus solely on the 200, and for good reason.
"I think I have a really good chance of winning the whole thing," he said. "I think it's definitely possible. The competition here today will be very similar to what I see there. I went up there last year, went to states last year, so I have the experience. I think I have the talent, so I expect to win gold."