PIAA track: Kling wins gold in 3A discus
A number of YAIAA athletes earned state medals Saturday, including Red Lion's Madisen Kling, West York's Luke Hoffman and New Oxford's Madi Smith. Here are their highlights and more.
Madisen Kling could tell she had thrown a good one.
The Red Lion junior was on her second-to-last attempt in the discus at the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University on Saturday. The No. 2 seed entering the event, Kling was in third place before the attempt but felt that was about to change.
She turned out to be right.
Her throw was marked at 141 feet and three inches, vaulting her into first place and sending the crowd behind the throwing area into an uproar. No competitor would top her on their last throw, giving Kling the Class 3A state discus title. Avon Grove’s Chloee Kleespies finished with a mark of 140 feet, two inches.
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“My mindset was calm, and I just wanted to pop one,” Kling said. “My form was really nice. The crowd went wild and it was awesome.”
Immediately after the throw, Kling approached Red Lion coach Jason Smith and enthusiastically high-fived him three times in a row. Her reaction was more subdued after being officially announced as the winner, as she politely smiled and accepted congratulations from the officials and her fellow throwers.
While she was seeded second entering the event, Kling was confident she could take first. She won the District 3 meet with a throw of 141 feet, 1 inch, but had set a personal best of over 144 feet earlier in the season. Top-seed Rachel Tanczos of Bethlehem Catholic had a qualifying mark of 144 feet, nine inches.
With her senior year remaining and a state title already under her belt, Kling said she thinks she’ll be under less pressure next season.
“It give me a lot of confidence, I’m not really nervous anymore during any of my throws,” she said. “Just a lot of self-esteem. Second place would be pretty good, but first place is nice. (Smith) told me to just go out there and win it.”
Smith, Hoffman both earn bronze
Kling wasn’t the only York-Adams field athlete to have a big performance in Class 3A on Saturday. A few hours after the Red Lion junior won gold, New Oxford senior Madi Smith took third place in the javelin while West York senior Luke Hoffman earned the same spot in discus.
A Penn State track commit and two-time PIAA medalist entering the weekend, Smith was only seeded seventh in the javelin after taking second place at the District 3 meet. But after posting solid marks on her early throws, the Colonial tossed a career-best 148 feet, three inches on her final attempt. It was the first time she had set a personal record since last spring’s league meet.
“I knew that 143 (on her previous attempt) was a good throw but I knew I had a little more in me. And the rain stopped so it was a sign,” Smith said as she smiled through tears. “I’m an emotional mess. Graduation (on Friday) I bawled when I got my diploma, cried again today. I can’t believe that it’s over but at the same time I’m ready to move on.”
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Smith earned a bronze medal at states for the second straight season. She earned a second place medal her sophomore season.
Hoffman, on the other hand, picked up his first career state medal with a throw of 185 feet, eight inches in the discus after finishing 11th last season. Knoch’s Jordan Geist took won gold with a state-record throw of 207 feet, six inches.
The District 3 champion and No. 2 seed entering the event, Hoffman was a little disappointed to miss out on silver. Still, the Bulldogs senior said he couldn’t be too upset because of how hard he worked just to get to the podium. Hoffman will compete in college at Kutztown.
“Judging from where I came from, I’m actually very happy, even if it doesn’t sound like it,” Hoffman said. “From 21st in the county freshman year and to work all the way up to third at states as a senior, hard to beat that.”
Fairfield relay resets school record, takes silver
As dominant as the Fairfield girls’ 400-meter relay has been this season, its runners went into Saturday’s Class 2A finals feeling worried.
With the rain picking up in the hour before they were set to compete, Green Knights Cierra Phillips, Hannah Logue, Sarah Heinbaugh and Amelia Heinbaugh were concerned the weather would prevent them from executing clean baton handoffs.
“We were saying ‘Please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please don’t rain,’” Phillips said.
Added Logue: “Wet batons are not good.”
Luckily for the Knights, the rain would stop shortly before they were set to run. They took advantage by taking second place in 49.43 seconds. The time broke the school record the group set last weekend at the District 3 championships.
The South Western boys’ 400-meter relay was the only other YAIAA quartet to earn a state medal. The Mustangs took eighth in 42.63 seconds.
Grim caps busy weekend with medal
Trevor Grim didn’t have much time Friday night to worry about the final track meet of his career.
The Bermudian Springs senior class president and salutatorian gave two speeches at the school’s graduation, and even sang a variation of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” for his fellow classmates. But when he returned to Shippensburg on Saturday morning, Grim was done being sentimental.
After all, his goal of earning a state medal in the 110-meter hurdles was within reach. And with the semifinals and finals in the event both taking place on Saturday, Grim needed to be focused.
The senior would end his career the way he wanted to, finishing in fourth place in the Class 2A hurdles with a time of 15.24 seconds. Camp Hill junior and Penn State football commit Zack Kuntz took first with a time of 14.47.
“I probably was expecting less this year, I just wanted to medal,” Grim said. “It’s nice to know Zack got the gold, because I’ve been racing him and losing to him all year, so it’s nice to know you’ve been losing to the state champion all year.”
Grim said that midway through the race one of his hurdles was accidentally knocked down by another competitor. While it might have slowed him slightly, he had no complaints after battling back from a minor hamstring injury the past two weeks. Grim will be attending Penn State, where he’ll be studying engineering.
“(In my speech), I told them you’re going to hit hurdles in a race and in life too, and you just have to keep going because you’re going to like the result,” Grim said. “That race kind of epitomized that because the hurdle was down. I’m going to go get snow cone and drink some soda. I haven’t drank soda since January so I’m going to relax.”
McLain claims state medal in 3,200
Eastern York’s Maddie McLain is used to leading the pack during distance runs. While that wasn’t the case during Saturday’s state meet, she did come away with her first state track medal and a career-best time in the 3,200-meter race.
The junior took fifth-place in the Class 2A meet with a time of 11:01.97. Her qualifying time at the District 3 meet was 11:24.68. McLain was also a finalist in the 1,600-meter run but did not medal.
“The first two laps I was probably 10th or 12th and then in the fifth lap I started moving up and went from there McLain said. “I look at my time and tell myself, ‘I know what time and I can run and the times these girls can run.’ As long as I’m on pace I know eventually I’ll move up.”