Phil's Friday Stories: Best series of 2013 gives McCartney shot gold



Photos by Don Rich, Patty Morgan, Kathy Leister and Jim Spisak



A series to remember (and the medal will help as well)

At the Penn Relays Carnival, Courtney McCartney was on top of her game, unleashing a 45-foot, 3-inch effort that enabled her to remain as the state’s No. 1 entering Friday’s Class AAA shot put. However, her heave in late April doesn’t hold a candle to the series the Selingrove sophomore put together in capturing state gold.

A 44-2.25 opener was followed by the first of three 45-plus heaves. McCartney’s longest in round 5 measured 45-5.5 and was more than 2 ½ feet ahead of a field that included five athletes over 41-4.

“By far this was my best series of the year,” she said. “I was just doing my peak, and it set me up good for today.”

Averaging over 44-3 on six legal throws, the winner closed out the competition with a pair of 45-footers as several other top placers also hit their best marks as the event came to a close.

“Honestly, I was just hoping to do well this season,” McCartney said. “I didn’t think I was going to be state champ, but it happened.”

Freshman Emily Stauffer of Cocalico backed up her indoor state title with the runner-up slot at Shippensburg at 42-11.25, while seniors April Krivoniak of Greater Latrobe and Jayne Corbett of Corry Area moved up to the next two spots with throws of T-PA#7 42-8.5 and 42-8, respectively.


Record Attempt Eludes PA's Top Vaulter

Rebekah Petty was looking to make a little history Friday in the Class AA pole vault. In the end, history got in the way of the Greenville junior achieving one of her main goals at Seth Grove Stadium.

The junior won state gold with a first-try clearance of 11 feet, 9 inches, a mark that fell short of the meet record of 12-7 that she wanted to break.

“It was a great experience, good and bad,” Petty said. “I still won gold, and we still having another year to try to get back and beat the record. I guess when you are a state champ on your worst day, you can’t complain.”

As Pennsylvania’s top-ranked vaulter, Petty had a large advantage on the field in season bests, with her 12-8 at the District 10 meet being 14 inches ahead of her closest competitor. Despite the unseasonably cold temperatures, the Greenville coaches were optimistic that she might be able to duplicate that performance for a second consecutive week.

“It was one of those things where with the tailwind, I was hoping that she would be able to get settled in,” Greenville pole vault coach Justin Lewis said. “With all of the different delays that we had – we waited for a hurdler, and then there was the 25-minute delay for these technicalities – we never could get into a groove.”

Following a proven routine, Petty was the last to enter the competition when she attempted and cleared 10-6. A pass of 11-0 moved her and four others to 11-6, where eventual runner-up Bre Manzolillo of Schuylkill Valley jumped into the lead with her first-attempt clearance and Petty stayed alive on her second try.

The competition then ground to a halt as the next height for the remaining duo was debated and discussed – continue to add 6 inches and go to 12-0 or cut the increment in half for attempts at 11-9.

“What they have done in the past in both verticals, when they get down to two to three jumpers left, is they have split the increment,” meet referee Jack Hedlund said of moving the bar up only 3 inches. “That’s something that they have done down here for years, it’s in the terms and conditions (of the meet).”

In addition to creating a delay in the vaulting, the debate over the next height broke up a planned, speedy assault on the record set three years ago. 

“The mindset she had going into (11-9), she just wanted to clear the height,” Lewis said of Petty, who was over on her first attempt for the win. “She was pretty upset. All it’s done is create a little fuel in the belly to give her some motivation to go higher and work a little harder.”

He noted that the junior, who also won a District 10 title in the 100 dash but scratched out of it for Shippensburg, had become faster down the runway as their workouts began to taper for the state final. Add in the gusty tailwind, and Petty had their hands full with the conditions.

“I was definitely under the whole day,” she said of her takeoff point being too close to the pit. “That was really not good, that did not help the situation. I was getting yanked by the pole a bit.”


Ryan Clips Sophomore for Third Long Jump Gold

One is a senior who already counted two state gold medals in the long jump amongst her prized possessions. The other is a sophomore who was looking for that breakthrough moment.

At seemingly different places in their high school athletic careers, Chambersburg’s Marshay Ryan and Hempfield Area’s Maddie Holmberg nevertheless covered almost the exact same chunk of real estate Friday in the Class AAA long jump.

In the narrowest margin of victory in the 2013 PIAA meet, Ryan collected her third consecutive event on the basis of her second-best jump as Ryan and Holmberg both were credited with state-leading jumps of 19 feet, 10 inches. The tie was broken on the basis of their second-best effort, with Ryan getting the nod by just a half-inch.

“This was probably the closest I’ve ever had to deal with coming down to the last everything, give-it-all-you’ve-got type of situation,” Ryan said. “We were (almost at) exactly the same spot.”

Ryan struck first as she went 19-10 in round 2, but Holmberg created the logjam in round 3. The Hempfield Area standout, whose jump is a PR by almost a foot, grabbed the lead in the tiebreak at 19-4.5 in round 5 before Ryan closed out the meet and claimed the gold with a 19-5 mark.

“I didn’t know who had it until the guy came over to tell us our places and go line up,” the winner said. “We really didn’t know who had the second-best jump. Whew. It was a close one. More props to her because she definitely did really well. It was fun to compete like that.”