Expectations were soaring for McConnellsburg’s McKenzie Gelvin headed into the District 5 Track & Field Championships on Thursday.
The junior from Forbes Road has been making headlines all season, and she knew she could make a few more with a solid performance at Northern Bedford. She lived up to all those expectations, claiming a pair of gold medals and breaking two District 5 meet records along the way.
“I knew it was possible, but I was really nervous going in,” Gelvin said. “I had some doubt, but for being in the big meets that I’ve run in and the competition there, I knew it wasn’t going to be as hard here as what I’ve run before. I just kind of believed, and here I am.”
Gelvin wasn’t the only one to live up to a pressure-packed situation, either. Fannett-Metal’s Lizzie Peppernick took a trip to the top of the podium after winning the girls discus, and Southern Fulton collected three gold medals.
Heading into Thursday’s competition, Gelvin’s seed times in both the 400 and the 800 were better than the district records. She once again didn’t crack under pressure, coming up with victories in each. Both of her times bested the district record by more than a second.
She won the 400 in an incredible 57.04 seconds, and was victorious in the 800 in 2:20.26.
“(My dad, Jeff) was really excited, and it felt good,” Gelvin said. “It’s awesome, and I can definitely see that the work has paid off. Now, I just want to be standing on the podium (at states) with a medal. I always like to win, but I just want a medal.”
Peppernick also has lofty goals heading into the PIAA Championships next week at Shippensburg University. She was also shooting for a district record, but had to settle for just a gold medal when she hurled the discus 110-6, four feet farther than anyone else, on her first throw of the competition.
“I was pretty nervous coming in. All day I’ve been thinking about it, but once I got here, I started to calm down a bit,” Peppernick said. “My first throw is usually my best; I think it’s because I’m starting out fresh and I don’t have the thought about the other girls’ distances in my head. My brother (Tom) is a real inspiration for me; he broke the record and got first here last year, too. Honestly, I’m pretty excited. I’m very happy.”
Peppernick also took fourth in the shot put (31-2), and Gelvin was second in the 100 (12.77) and fifth in the long jump (15-8.75).
McConnellsburg put a number of boys in the top three. Chance Hawbaker was second in the 100 (11.35) and third in the high jump (5-10). Connor Johnson placed second in the shot put with a hurl of 47-9.25, and Shawn Garlock also earned a silver medal in the 800 (2:06.88).
In the 300 hurdles, the Spartans were second and third. Josh Booth claimed silver in 40.02, while Zac DeShong followed right behind in 41.80.