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Check out the YAIAA action from the first day of the PIAA track and field championships. Matt Allibone

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Greg Potter had trouble finding the right word to describe his mood.

The Red Lion senior had just gotten off the podium wearing his fourth-place medal at the PIAA track and field championships Friday at Shippensburg University. Potter cleared 14 feet, six inches in the pole vault to earn his second career state medal, having taken sixth in the event last season.

Needless to say, Potter was happy.

“I’m ecstatic, is that the right word?” Potter said with a wide smile on his face. “I was hoping to at least place sixth or better, and achieved it. At first I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting it.”

 

While Potter has been the YAIAA’s top pole vaulter the past two seasons, this spring was challenging for him at times. A stress fracture in his foot forced him to have surgery in October and to spend the winter recovering. When the season began in March, Potter spent the first few weeks trying to regain his form and confidence.

He also received plenty of motivation throughout the season from Eastern York’s Brady Glatfelter, who tied him at the District 3 meet with a mark of 14 feet, nine inches. Glatfelter reached 14 feet at states on Friday but was unable to medal.

More track: District 3 track: 3A Discus throwers cash in with gold medals

“We vault at VaultWorX together, typically everyone there is friends,” Potter said.

Apart from Potter, the class 3A boys’ pole vault provided some of Friday’s best highlights. Hat Horsham’s Nick Marino won the event by clearing 16 feet, and just missed a PIAA record of 16 feet, seven inches.

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Elliott earns sixth place medal

It might not have been her best day, but Spring Grove’s Nathalie Elliott had nothing to complain about Friday.

The Rockets senior entered the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University seeded third in 3A in the pole vault and came away with a sixth-place medal, the same one she earned last season. Elliott successfully vaulted at 12 feet but missed at 12 feet, six inches, the height she cleared last week to set a District 3 record.

Still, Elliott felt little disappointment about her performance. Having attempted to clear 12-6 all season, she said she was fine with the District 3 championships being the pinnacle of her career.

More track: District 3 track, Elliott sets record, wins gold in 3A

“I didn’t really expect anything, my goal was to get a medal so I’m pretty happy,” Elliott said. “I knew that if I felt I worked hard, if I still had a good attitude than I deserved whatever I got.

 

The pole vault took place Friday morning in consistently changing conditions. It started to rain midway through the event but cleared up before the end. Hempfield’s Carena Nottoli and Pittston Area’s Abby Norwillo were the only competitors to clear 12-6, with Nottoli eventually winning on fewer attempts. Top seed Cassandra Phelan of Laurel Highlands came in fourth.

Elliott said the weather didn’t affect her much, but admitted it was nerve-wracking when her competitors started clearing 12-6 after she had missed her first two attempts. The graduating senior will be competing in college at Highpoint University in North Carolina.

“When eight of us are jumping at 12 feet you automatically feel pressure because we’re only in this situation once a year,” Elliott said. “(Having won a medal last year) took a little pressure off because that was the goal I wanted. I could relax and have fun and just see if I could jump higher.”

Runners, relays advance to Saturday

The YAIAA might not have produced many medalists in the first day on states, but the league did have a number of runners make it to Saturday’s finals or semifinals.

In Class 3A, South Western sprinter Drew Hartlaub advanced to the semifinals in the 100-meter dash with a time if 11.15. In Class 2A, Trevor Grim advanced to the semis in the 110-meter hurdles (15.49) while Littlestown’s Kristin Langrill made it that far in the 100-meter dash (12.77). Also in 2A, Eastern York's Maddie McLain reached the 1,600-meter run finals with a time of 5:12. 

The Fairfield girls’ 400-meter relay (49.93) and South Western boys’ 400-meter relay (42.16) both reached the finals in their respective classifications. The Bermudian Springs boys’ 400 relay entered Friday ranked 22nd but finished ninth and missed the finals by one spot.

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