PIAA track and field: Red Lion's Ethan Gatchell, South Western's Lynne Mooradian earn...
SHIPPENSBURG >> Since it was the last race of his high school career, Red Lion's Ethan Gatchell wasn't going to leave anything behind during Saturday's second day of the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships — although he did leave some of his skin on the Shippensburg University track.
Determined to finish in the top eight, Gatchell fell while leaning in at the finish of the 800-meter run. After the race, he had proof of his effort in the form of a skinned shoulder.
"I wanted the spot and I wanted the time. It's states, why hold anything back?" He said. "It's going to hurt — it's totally worth it."
Gatchell not only earned a seventh-place medal with a time of 1 minute, 53.73 seconds, but he beat his seed time by more than a second and a half. Plus he broke a long-coveted Red Lion school record in the process.
"Praise God for a good race. The record was a bonus," he said. "It's a big new PR (personal record), so I am happy with that.
"I felt good. I wouldn't say I felt fresh in the last lap, I was pushing. It was good weather, good preparation all week. The coaches have been doing a great job. We had a good game plan coming into the race, executed it and came away with the time."
After qualifying in the final 12 Friday, Gatchell said that being relaxed for the championship race, his last one before he runs at Cedarville University next fall, helped.
"Honestly, the finals are a whole lot less stressful than the prelims," he said. "The prelims you know you've got to hit the spot and get the right time. The finals are just one race, you go hard. If you get dead last, you are still 12th in the state."
QUITE A HURDLER >> Already a standout sprinter, South Western junior Lynne Mooradian added the 300 hurdles to her repertoire this season. That proved to be a good decision.
Mooradian ran a 43.64 while earning a sixth-place medal in the event, missing the top five when Sierra Nesmith of Girls' High inched her out by .16.
"I was trying to catch her, but at the same time I didn't want to take out that (last) hurdle," Mooradian said. "I did my best, but she had it. She hit the hurdle strong."
Still, Mooradian was not disappointed, she earned two medals.
"I don't have the energy to seem happy, but I am happy," she said. "I only PR'd by a little bit, but I had a PR, which is decent on what shape my legs are currently at. We all saw that 100, we know where I am at."
She ran the 100 dash semifinals in the morning and later placed eighth in 12.81. Mooradian was also in the 200 semifinals on Saturday, where she dropped time from Friday's prelims but did not reach the medal stand after a 25.54.
Tired after yet another busy PIAA meet, Mooradian reflected on running the hurdles this season.
"Learning the event, it was similar to the 400 and how I ran it. I thought it was easier because you always have the hurdles to focus on," she said. "When I have people in front of me, it totally distracts everything."
BAUBLITZ GEARING UP FOR NEXT YEAR >> Central York's Alexis Baublitz packed her bag when realization hit: She has something to look forward to when next spring rolls around.
Although her top pole vault of 11 feet Saturday was shy of the personal-best of 11-6 she set in last week's District 3 meet, Baublitz knows she tied for 13th against the best in the state during her first trip to the PIAA championships.
"I expected it to be really competitive and it was," she said. "I tried my best, but next year I will be stronger and more experienced. It makes me feel more confident and pushes me to work harder."
MARSHALL GAINS EXPERIENCE >> Despite it being his first PIAA meet, York Suburban long jumper Phillip Marshall was disappointed with his top jump of 20-6, which landed him 19th in the standings. The junior is already looking ahead to next season.
"It was kind of a rush. I don't know if I was distracted or I was so anxious that I hit the board. It was a new experience for me," he said.
Marshall had someone to learn from in Cheltenham senior Saahir Bethea, who wowed the crowd on each of his jumps, culminating with his record-setting leap of 25-5 3/4.
"It really does (motivate me). (I am going to) train to get better at this and get where I want to be at," Marshall said. "Looking at him just makes me want to go and be like him — even better."
LOCAL COMPETITORS >> Kennard-Dale junior Maddie Ferner placed 21st in the 3,200, finishing in 11:09.44. Red Land's Zach Seiger placed 18th in the 3,200 with a time of 9:31.05.