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TRACK & FIELD: Local competitors looking to extend their seasons at District 3 Championships

SHIPPENSBURG >> Chambersburg's track & field team doesn't boast many high seeds heading into the District 3 Class AAA Championships to be held Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.

But that doesn't mean the Trojans don't have high hopes.

"Our district standards are competitive enough that if you're in the top half of the seeding, you have a really good shot at a medal," Chambersburg girls coach Chris Monheim said. "We have seven girls in the meet, and sometimes you go into districts knowing it's probably going to be your last time competing for the season. But there's not a single situation this weekend where we don't think we have a chance of advancing."

Chambersburg's highest seed comes on the boys side, where Nate Long is ranked second in the javelin with a mark of 182-01.

"Nate Long certainly has a throw in his arm that could get him to the state meet," Trojan boys coach Bob Walker said.

The top five medalists get automatic bids to the PIAA Championships, and anyone in the top eight who meets the state qualifying standard will also advance.

Long is matched by James Buchanan's Peter Hughey and Shippensburg's Zach Greenawalt, who also hold second seeds.

Hughey is the defending district champion in the 400 and won a bronze medal in the event at states last season. And despite winning the Mid Penn title, Hughey holds just the second seed with a time of 48.78; he is seeded behind Central Dauphin East's Charles Bowman Jr. by eight-hundredths of a second.

Greenawalt made his presence known this season when he broke Shippensburg's school record in the pole vault several times. His best clearing of 13-7 lands him a second seed in this weekend's event.

Waynesboro's Lilly Harnish will be looking to medal and possibly advance in a pair of events. She is seeded third in the high jump (5-6) and the triple jump (37-9.5). She won Mid Penns last weekend with her season best jump of 5-6, but she has been recovering from an injury and felt she could go even higher. Her personal best is 5-7.75.

Greencastle-Antrim's highest seed is held by Campbell Parker, who is third in the discus (156-0), and Jenay Faulkner jumped all the way to a sixth-place seed in the shot put after a personal best throw of 38-0.5 at Mid Penns.

The Trojans boast two athletes who have a pair of top-10 seeds.

Kelton Chastulik won two gold medals at the Mid Penn Championships and is in a good place to win a pair of medals this weekend. He is seeded fifth in the discus (156-0) and eighth in the shot put (52-5).

"He's worked so hard all season to get here," Walker said. "I'm not surprised at the shot put because that was his best event last year. The discus has been a bit of a surprise and actually that's become his better event. As a coach, you enjoy watching someone that works so hard achieve that success. He is so focused that sometimes it's hard to remember he's just a sophomore."

On the girls side, Abby Yourkavitch, also just a sophomore, is seeded seventh in the 3,200 (11:14.92) and ninth in the 1,600 (5:12.06).

"Her goal is to qualify for states in both," Monheim said. "She's run fast enough in both, and I know she's capable of doing it again, but now, she just has to get in place-wise. She's equaled or bettered the state standard at least once in both events, so she just needs to do it again this weekend."

Also with a high seed for Chambersburg is Sammi Lowery, who broke a school record in the pole vault last week at the Mid Penns by clearing 11-6. She is seeded sixth in the event.

"She's vaulting with a lot of confidence, and she's upped her heights gradually all season long," Monheim said. "She certainly appears to be peaking at the right time. The vault is really strong in our district, so she needs to have a good day, but she's certainly capable of 11-6 or higher. The vaulting coach is really thinking she could clear 12-0."

The Trojan boys 4x800 team is also looking for a spot on the podium, but like Lowery, they're going to have to have a really good day. The team of Chris Wurtz, Kevin Madrigal, Alex Aquino-Flores and Tanner Amsley are seeded eighth.

"Last year, after the district meet, I made copies of what time it took to get to states in that event and highlighted that time," Walker said. "The process started there, and all season, that was a focus. They're all poised to think about running under two minutes each, and if they do that, we'll have a good shot."