SHIPPENSBURG -- Saturday may have been the second day of the PIAA track and field championships -- the biggest day of the season -- but the Red Lion boys' 3,200 meter relay team felt it had every reason to be relaxed.
The foursome of Nick McCabe, Ethan Gatchell, Nate Pardoe and Caleb Gatchell entered the Class AAA event seeded 11th and treated it like any other race.
"There was no pressure and I tell you what, we ran like it," Caleb Gatchell said. "We knew they were coming in with faster seed times but we are not afraid of them. We knew we can run well."
Despite their seed, the Lions ran an impressive 7:59.40 that not only improved on their time coming in, but it also won the group a fifth-place medal.
McCabe got things started and the senior said he felt great about the team's medal chances after he handed off to sophomore Ethan Gatchell and that sense grew stronger with each runner.
"I just kept watching them and I knew each was doing their part. I could tell by the way they were moving on the other guys," he said. "I know they always pull through so when they hand it off I go over and give a high five till the next guy finishes."
Pardoe did his job on the third leg and fellow senior Caleb Gatchell brought the race home.
"I've got three really good guys in front of me. These guys set me up all I had to do was stick with the group," Caleb Gatchell said. "When they handed off we were in medal position. My job is just to hold it and thankfully I was able to."
Pardoe had the best remedy to deal with the less-than-ideal, cold, windy conditions at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
"The backstretch had a really big wind. All I was doing was focusing on the back of the next competitor, try to use good form and pray to God that I can get through it," he said. "It feels awesome."
The team refers to Ethan Gatchell as the "super sophomore," who runs hard, while chasing his competition, which at times has included his older brother, Caleb.
"You are always chasing somebody and that makes you better," Ethan said. "(Besides,) nobody wants to lose to their brother."
"I don't even live with these guys and I know they are so competitive with each other," added McCabe.
The crew credited their "fifth" member of the team, Pardoe's twin brother, Josh, who trains with them and competed at states on Friday.
Mooradian earns first PIAA medal: Only a freshman, South Western's Lynne Mooradian said she never dreamed of winning a PIAA medal this season.
"I didn't even think about a state medal. I was just focused on trying to be fastest on the team," she said. "It feels good. It goes beyond anything I thought about."
Mooradian finished seventh in the AAA girls' 100 meter dash with her time of 12.30, a slight increase from her semifinal 12.20.
Seeded eighth after the morning preliminaries, Mooradian kicked at the end to get in front of Rowa Watson of Norristown.
"I always have acceleration at the end. I think it was a giant adrenalin burst," she said. "My start was terrible. The wind didn't make it easy. There was a massive tailwind (Friday), today was a crosswind."
The unseasonal day at Shippensburg did not affect her.
"I do like the cold actually," Mooradian said. "I am a cross country runner, too. I will run anything on the track. I love it. It's just my thing."
Mooradian finished only .17 off qualifying for the finals in the 200 after posting a time of 26.06 in the semis.
South Western teammate Holly Arey scored the YAIAA's top medal of the day when the junior threw a 128-05 to place fourth in the AAA discus throw.
Unfortunately, efforts to reach Arey were unsuccessful.
According to Mustangs girls' coach Bruce Lee, Arey and her family heading on a holiday trip after her performance.
Herman needs a new goal now: Susquehannock's Alesha Herman set a goal for herself that she would finish in the top five in the state as a senior.
After her performance in the 200 dash on Saturday, Herman has to reevaluate her plan. The junior ran a finals time of 25.96, which was identical to her semifinal time, and won a fifth-place medal.
"My goal as a senior, which would be next year, was to get top five," she said. "To do it as a junior, I need to make a new goal for myself. It's an incredible feeling."
Herman prepared herself by focusing on the little things, which helped her deal with the wind. She made sure she was ready to race.
"You never know who is going to show up and who is going to do their best. Sometimes it's great and then it turns disastrous," she said. "I knew I had each part laid out, it was just putting it together.
"Today was a good day for me. I started out the semis where you know what you need to have to move on to the next level."
Other YAIAA finishes: Girls: Kelsey Ibarra (Central York), 19th in AAA 3,200 run, 11:11.18 ... Arianna Camel (Gettysburg), 11th in AAA 100 hurdles, 15.17 ... Erin Harman (South Western) 16th, 10-feet, 6-inches and Brynn Warrington (Spring Grove), did not reach height in AAA pole vault. Harman was also 16th in the triple jump, 36-01 ... Hannah Glover (South Western) 24th in the AAA discus, 92-03 ... Rachel Crane (Bermudian Springs) 10th in AA 800 run, 2:20.34 ... Sarah Hunt (Fairfield) ninth in AA triple jump, 35-09 ... Mary Gingrow (Delone Catholic) 22nd in AA javelin, 100-05.
Boys: Anderson Novalin (William Penn) 21st in AAA shot put, 47-05-1/2 ... Dylan Moynihan (Kennard-Dale) tied for 12th in AAA pole vault, 13-06 ... Donald Smith (Red Lion) tied for 16th in AAA pole vault, 13-0 ... Evan Wolfe (Fairfield) tied for 20th in AA high jump, 5-10 ... Dustin Crouse (Littlestown) 27th in AA javelin, 148-04.