91st Jack Roddick Shippensburg Invitational: Meet Preview

Talitha Diggs (Saucon Valley) / Photo by Don Rich

Shippensburg Invitational - AAA Girls' Preview

The 100 meters will be a great matchup between a pair of evenly sprinters. Cedar Cliff's Grace Gillespie and Whitehall's Amanda Crooks are the two top seeds. Gillespie edged out Crooks by just .01 for the last spot of the 60 meters at indoor states. Gillespie went on to take fifth. Crooks, however, was fourth in AAA in the 100 at states last season. Both could be looking at a sub-12 time this weekend.

State College's Taylor Givens, Cedar Crest's Destinee Holloman, and Hollidaysburg's Ali Wyland are also in the field, looking to mix things up (note: the Ship invite has timed finals in each track event). Gillespie, Crooks, and Wyland will each return later for the 200 meters.

Saturday will bring us the outdoor invitational debut of freshman Talitha Diggs of Saucon Valley. Diggs, the daughter of US middle distance Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs, was third at indoor states in the 200 meters and tenth in the 400 meters. She's the top seed on Saturday in her only event of the day, the 400.

Photo by Bill Shearn

The 3200 meters should start the meet off in a big way. Chambersburg's Abby Yourkavitch and Kaylee Mowery will go up against Liberty's Rasia Kochmaruk, Selinsgrove's Brittney Carnathan, and State College's Gabbi Bock among others. The 1600 meters will also be loaded with Yourkavitch returning later. Greencastle-Antrim's Taryn Parks, Nothern's Marlee Starliper, Carlisle's Meg Lebo, and Cumberland Valley's Marie Rulapaugh are also in the field. Lebo and Parks are also entered in the 800 meters as well.

Look for some good battles in the hurdles. Carlisle's Najae Nickerson will face-off with State College's Jordan Rohrbach, and Lower Dauphin's Rory Klingensmith in both the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. Expect some close races there.

Saturday will feature the best pole vault field assembled so far this spring. Hempfield (3)'s Carena Nottoli is the top seed coming in having cleared 1209, but she'll will be challenged by some strong vaulters, including Coughlin's Madisyn Hawkins, Laurel Highlands' Casey Phelan, State College's Lyndsey Reed and Lily Plute, and Spring Grove's Nathalie Elliott.

Carena Nottoli (Hempfield) / Photo by Kathy Leister

The girls' high jump is loaded with talent. Leading the way is Cedar Crest's Ariel Jones, who cleared a big PR of 5-7 at states last spring to take fourth in AAA. She'll be challenged by Easton Area's Kate Willshaw, who had a big indoor season and Shikellamy's Aleigh Heckman.

There's a lot of firepower in the long jump, too. PA#3 Karina Long returns to the runway to face off with familiar rival Camryn Simpson (PA#5) of Palmyra. Liberty's Grace Mittl (PA#9), Penn Manor's Sarah Stackhouse (PA#8), State College's Givens, Cedar Crest's Jones, and Cumberland Valley's Sarah Lehman are among the entries. Many of those girls are also in the triple jump, which also includes Hempfield (3)'s Stephanie Laudien.

In the discus, we'll see plenty of talent. PA#4 Piper Klinger of Selinsgrove hits the circle, where she will go up against PA#10 Jordan Bair of State College, PA#11 Jochebed Arthur of Liberty, and PA#12 Jessica Slagus of North Pocono. PA#4 Arthur, PA#6 Bair, and Klinger are also entered in the shot put, which also includes PA#8 Samantha Orie of Hempfield Area and Jenay Faulkner of Greencastle-Antrim.