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Fast-start Phillips goes into Saturday on roll

The Fairfield sophomore will compete in three events on Saturday

SHIPPENSBURG - Cierra Phillips won't lie. The event she's most focused on during this weekend's District 3 Class AA Track and Field Championships is the pole vault.

It's not surprising. After all, Phillips is seeded second in the event and will qualify for the PIAA championships if she finishes in the top-two on Saturday. But despite being focused on that event, the Fairfield sophomore still competed in two others on Friday.

On Friday, Phillips qualified for Saturday's finals in the 100-meter dash by finishing second in her heat with a time of 12.94 seconds. She also earned a medal in the javelin by finishing seventh with a mark of 100-06.

Now, Phillips will compete in the finals in the pole vault, 100-meter dash and 400 relay on Saturday  Asked why she competes in so many events when the pole vault is her best chance to make states, the sophomore said it's all about being a competitor.

"It's just the drive to make states," Phillips said. "I just like them and it gives me something to do. It's great to have people rooting for you and cheering for you."

Philips had the fourth best time in the 100-meter on Friday so she still has a shot to qualify for states in that event. No matter what event she competes in, she said she's always motivated to achieve a personal record. That's why she was excited to make the medal stand in the javelin, having entered the event seeded ninth.

With two more years of high school left after this season, Phillips is determined to qualify for states in multiple events eventually.

"I just want to PR as much as I can and get better for next year and possibly qualify for states in (the 100-meter and the javelin)," she said.

Malesky qualifies for states in high jump

When Delone Catholic freshman Julianna Malesky joined the track and field team this season, she was just looking for a fun activity that would keep her in shape.

She didn't expect to become very competitive with it, and she certainly didn't expect to qualify for the PIAA championships her first season.

But that's exactly what she did Friday, finishing second in the high jump in Class AA to guarantee herself a spot at states. Seeded eighth in the event entering Friday, Malesky topped her previous-best mark of 4-11 by jumping an impressive 5-02.

After she stepped down from the medal stand, Malesky still couldn't believe how high she had jumped.

"That was crazy, I had never cleared 5-feet, and I got over it and it was wonderful," Malesky said. "It gave me such an adrenaline rush. I had to take a step back and just go, 'wow.'"

Malesky admitted that before Friday she hadn't even thought of the possibility of making states. When the high jump event ended, she was so excited about her mark that it took her a minute to realize she had placed in the top two.

Still, the freshman said she still has a lot to learn and is looking forward to continuing to improve throughout her high school career.

"I hadn't thought about (making states) and when they said the top two had made it I was like, 'wait, that's me, that's crazy,'" she said. "I definitely have a lot to learn but that's good."

YAIAA girls impress in 100-meter hurdles

One event that will be well represented by the YAIAA in the finals on Saturday is the girls' 100-meter hurdles.

In the semifinals Friday, Fairfield's Moriah Logue, Bermudian Springs' Lindsey Brehm, and Delone Catholic's Lily Singleton and Brianna Millken all qualified for the finals. Logue finished in third place with a time of 16.40 seconds and will have a solid chance to qualify for states if she places in the top two tomorrow.

Although she finished sixth with a semifinals time of 16.62, Brehm was extremely happy with her result. The senior didn't make it out of the semifinals last season.

"I was standing there with my friend just looking at the times hoping the fourth-best person from the next heat wasn't faster than me," Brehm said. "When I saw I made it I jumped up and down, it was great."