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Check out some of the action from Friday's District 3 Class 2A track and field championships. Matt Allibone

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Entering this weekend's District 3 track and field championships at Shippensburg University, Eastern York senior Ashley Kerr wasn't thinking much about the discus. 

After all, she was the top seed in the shot put and the third seed in the discus. While she wanted to do well in both events, her main goal was to capture first place in the shot. 

Kerr will still go for that goal on Saturday morning, but she'll exit the weekend with a gold medal regardless. The Shippensburg University commit finished Friday's discus finals with a top throw of 114 feet, five inches, beating her qualifying mark by about seven feet and taking first place. 

"I was thinking whatever happened in disc happened, I wasn't really focused on it," Kerr said. "It's surprising I came in first, but seeding isn't everything." 

 

Kerr started slow on Friday, throwing in the 90s during the preliminary round before hitting her top mark on her second to last throw of the finals. She beat the silver medalist, Upper Dauphin's Victoria McGuire, by about four feet. The event's top seed, Greenwood's Mallory Kauffman, ended up not throwing. 

With a gold medal already won, Kerr will enter Saturday's shot put feeling relaxed. The win will also send her to the PIAA championships for the first time in her career. 

"This makes me more calm and confident going into shot put," Kerr said. "I'm really excited to be coming here (two weeks) in a row, especially because it's at the school I'm going to for track. Hopefully I do good things next week." 

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Delone's Malesky squeezes out high jump win 

She may not have had her best day Friday, but Julianna Malesky earned a District 3 gold medal and will be going back to the state championships for the second straight season. 

The Delone Catholic sophomore won the Class 2A high jump with a mark of five feet, beating out Tulpehocken's Dashear Hill and Greenwood's Hayley Engle on a tiebreaker. All three girls had the same top mark, but Malesky won because she had the least missed attempts. 

Malesky entered the weekend with a qualifying mark of five feet, three inches, but was unable to clear the bar at 5-2 on Friday. She said that being the top seed a year after coming in second was a difficult situation for her. 

"It's way more stressful, because you're the person that everybody wants to beat, which is a good thing but at the same time you have to try to uphold that," Malesky said. "I'm happy taking first, but I know I can definitely practice more before states." 

Malesky has an unorthodox approach to the high jump, starting her run at least 10 feet closer to the bar than most of her opponents. The sophomore said its the right approach for her, but that she'll have to make some adjustments before the PIAA championships. 

"I didn't really have the technique down (today), I kept going out," she said. "I need to focus on going up." 

Leonard shakes off rust to win gold

Seth Leonard may have been the top seed in 2A in the javelin, but the Delone Catholic junior went into Friday doubting he could reach next week's state championships. 

That's because he had missed the past few weeks of competition, including the YAIAA championships, because of "academic" reasons he said have since been resolved. 

But after struggling on his first few attempts, Leonard rounded into form and threw his best mark of the day, 158 feet, one inch, on his third throw of the finals. The mark earned him first place by less than a foot and qualified him for his first trip to states. 

"I didn't know what was going on (on my preliminary throws), I just didn't understand why I was throwing like this," Leonard said. "I just knew I had to get it done, had to throw my best throw at the end there." 

More: Delone's Leonard striving to improve while setting records

Leonard also earned a seventh place medal in the discus. But now that he's solely focused on javelin, he's determined to get back to where he was early in the season. His best throw this spring is 174 feet, three inches. 

"It's going to take lots of practice this week to get it up there before Friday," Leonard said. "At this point its more mechanical stuff, my steps were a little off."

Malinowski surprises in high jump

Julianna Malesky wasn't the only Delone Catholic athlete to qualify for states in the high jump. Junior Ryan Malinowski did as well, and in a similar fashion as his teammate. 

Seeded fourth entering the event, Malinowski finished second with a jump of six feet, the same mark as third-place finisher Colton Murphy of Greenwood. Malinowksi earned the second state-qualifying spot based on misses. 

As a first-year track athlete, Malinowski was thrilled to hear his season would be continuing next week, something he wasn't aware of when the event ended.

"I thought I was third, so I didn't know I was going to states until we got to the medal stand," the junior said. "They've been wanting me to come out for track for two years, so I finally gave it a shot." 

Malinowski also finished eighth in the long jump on Friday. He's seeded fourth in Saturday's triple jump.

Logue, McLain going back to states

Two athletes familiar to York-Adams track fans also punched tickets to states on Friday. Eastern York junior Maddie McLain took second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:24.68, and Fairfield senior Hannah Logue finished second in the long jump with a mark of 16 feet, six inches. 

Neither girl had their best performance, but both will have more chances for personal records this weekend. McLain will compete in the 1,600-meter run on Saturday, while Logue has the triple jump, 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay. Both girls reached the state championships last year as well. 

More Eastern York: McLain sisters carry on 'legendary' family legacy

Another thing both girls had in common Friday is that they were competing for second place more than first. Annville-Cleona's Reagan Hess surpassed 18 feet, eight inches to set a District 3 record in the long jump, while the Oley Valley's Rebecca Snyder won the 3,200 with a time of 11:01.09.

"A few weeks ago I ran my best, but I really want to do well at states, so I'm not saving myself, but I really didn't want to push myself to my limits today," McLain said. "I want to save that for next week. I knew Rebecca was there, so I just wanted to stay in sight of her." 

Added Logue: "I should have done better. I think its going to be good to have another week of jumping, because I didn't feel good ending on that note." 

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