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Franklin County to send 7 athletes to states in track

Franklin County athletes did not come home from the District 3 Track & Field Championships with any gold medals, but they did get their fair share of hardware through two days of competition.

Twelve district medals were distributed to eight Franklin County athletes, and nine of those performances were good enough to qualify for states next week. Two athletes qualified for a pair of events.

The most dramatic finish of the day naturally came last, as Liam Okal, the final local athlete to perform, lined up for the Class AAA boys 200 next to Central Dauphin East's Aaron Arp, who has emerged as Okal's fiercest competitor.

Okal rounded the final turn on a slippery track with Arp at his shoulder and headed down the final stretch neck-and-neck, but Arp leaned over the line just nine-tenths of a second before Okal crossed in 22.08.

"I could feel him right next to me, and I knew I had to push as hard as I could, but he edged me right at the end," Okal said. "Even though I didn't win, that kid is a beast, and I PR'd three times on official timing since my seed time (21.7) was a hand time."

Chambersburg's Abby Yourkavitch had her second top-three finish of the weekend Saturday with a third-place finish in the 1600. Fellow Trojan Kelton Chastulik redeemed himself after a tough day at the shot put Friday, with a second-place finish in the discus, despite fouling on each of his finals throws.

On his first throw of the preliminary round, Chastulik released the discus for a throw of 163-1 on a rainy, windy day. But the distance ultimately won him a district silver medal - despite being in the lead with his initial throw until the very last thrower. Chastulik was dethroned from the top podium spot by Manheim Township's Ben Viau, who threw nearly 10 feet past his personal best to beat Chastulik by five feet.

"I thought a long time (about yesterday) and I just wanted to get in the top six," Chastulik said. "When I let it go, I thought to myself, 153-0 will get me into states, but to get a PR in the pouring-down rain felt pretty good."

On his first throw of the day, Chastulik set a personal record by a foot.

Greencastle's Campbell Parker placed third in his top event with a throw of 161-0, a distance also reached during the preliminary round.

"Today was not a good day for me, and I don't really think it was because of the rain or anything," Parker said. "I don't know what it was. Last year in districts I kind of choked in the discus and I guess this is some redemption. It was a decent weekend, and I'm in states, so I can't really complain."