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SHIPPENSBURG - Reagan Hess is a once-in-a-lifetime long jumper who had the misfortune to come along at the same time as another once-in-a-lifetime long jumper in Breana Gambrell.

If you can call something as wondrous as winning a state silver medal in the long jump two years in a row misfortune.

Fortunately, Hess wasn't inclined to think that way.

Though she was unable to end her high school long jump career with a much-desired gold, the Annville-Cleona senior was far from displeased with another AA silver, especially since it came while tying a career-best with a leap of 19-1 3/4 during the first day of the PIAA Track and Field Championships on Friday at Shippensburg University.

 

The gold went to Athens Area junior Gambrell for a second consecutive year, this time with a prodigious jump of 19-5.

But Hess was certainly in Gambrell's neighborhood, and tried to get closer, gambling with her takeoff on her last two jumps in a spirited bid for gold. She ultimately fouled on those last two attempts but didn't regret rolling the dice.

"I was happy with my jumps," Hess said, smiling. "It is what it is. I've been having a little trouble lately with my jumping leg, so it's a great feeling to go out with a jump like that. I feel like I gave everything I had. I went for it."

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Hess isn't done chasing gold, though. She posted the third-fastest 100 dash qualifying time of 12.35 to advance to Saturday's semifinals and also qualified for the 200 semis on Friday.

Gold or not, medal or not, Saturday will be an emotional day for Hess as she wraps up her brilliant career at the site of her greatest triumphs.

"It's gonna be emotional," she said. "After the last race, it's gonna hit me that it's my last time on this track (as a high school athlete)."

Cedar Crest's Ariel Jones also made another trip to the medal stand Friday, continuing a stellar postseason by placing 8th in the AAA girls triple jump with a career-best jump of her own of 37-9 1/2. Jones, who will also compete in the AAA high jump and long jump on Saturday, also teamed with Destinee and DeAsia Holloman and Shayla Bonzelet to qualify for Saturday's 4 x 100 relay finals.

Meanwhile, Crest senior Jessie Cruise put himself in position for a medal to close his distinguished career, posting the sixth-best qualifying time to advance to the AAA boys 1600 finals.

"It'll be exciting," Cruise said, looking ahead to the finals. "I finished second in my heat, so I'll be up near the front. I'm gonna go after it and try the best I can."

 

Lebanon senior Derin Klick did likewise in the AAA boys 800, placing fourth in his heat to earn his spot in the finals.

"It means a lot," said Klick, who finished sixth in the 800 last year. "You just gotta run smart (in the trials), that's all it is, running smart. I know I can put up the time, but I didn't really go all out to win the thing. I just wanted to get there."

Hess's A-C teammate, Stanley Miller, also advanced to Saturday's 100 dash semis in boys AA after clocking an 11.40 in the preliminaries, while Destinee Holloman did the same in girls AAA after posting a prelim time of 12.55.

Also on Friday, Palmyra's Camryn Simpson was 10th in the AAA girls triple jump (37-3 1/4) and the Palmyra girls 3200 relay of Ellie Keck, Kelsei Bixler, Sarah Hollen and Jess Dembrowski saw their season come to an end in the AAA trials. The Cougars finished eighth in their heat and 16th overall in 9:38.23, one week after capturing the District 3 AAA title.

In addition, Cedar Crest freshman Shayla Bonzelet competed in the AAA girls 400 trials but did not advance. 

 

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