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Josh Booth wins PIAA gold, expects nothing less in 2018

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Last year Josh Booth put McConnellsburg on the map with a fifth-place finish at the PIAA championships as a sophomore. 

But now, Booth has done himself one better, taking home a gold medal in the boys Class 2A 300-meter hurdles Saturday at the PIAA Track & Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium.

Booth earned gold with an area's best time for the year in 39.11.

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"Freshman year I knew I wasn't going to place anywhere, I just needed to do it," Booth said. "Then my 10th-grade year was sort of the eye-opener that I could do something with it. And this year, I was super freaked out in the trials, but after getting all of that out of my system I started thinking about this as just another meet, and that kind of calmed my nerves." 

And next year, Booth expects nothing less than another state title. 

Booth breezed through the prelims to earn a top-seed heading into the finals, but with Ryan Atcavage on his right, Booth knew he was going to have to start hard if he hoped to bring home PIAA gold. 

"I knew I had to get out fast and kick on the turn because my strides aren't long enough," Booth said, "And I have to pray that I have enough adrenaline for the end. But that get out really helped me start things off."

He busted out of the blocks and made his way down the first 100 in stride with Atcavage, who stayed with him until the final hurdle. Coming down the stretch Booth gained a slight advantage, clearing the final hurdle and leaning over the line for a finish just 0.28 seconds in front of Atcavage for a new PR.

"That PR wasn't quite my goal, I wanted to run 39.00," Booth said. "I didn't have a clean run, it was just adrenaline, and I think I could have hit 38 if I had a clean run but I'm not upset with it."