4x800 Meter Relay
Trinity (3) are the defending champions, upsetting favorites and 2013 champions Villa Maria Academy in last year's final. This season, Trinity (3) still have Shannon Quinn to lead their squad, but Villa Maria have a pair of sub 2:18 runners in Claire Brown and Grace Trucilla, and the fastest time in the division (9:20.10 at the Loucks Games). That time is 13 seconds better than the field, which include district 1's Christopher Dock and New Hope-Solebury, who pushed each other to 9:33 and 9:35 respectively on Saturday. Mercyhurst Prep join champions Trinity (3) as the other sub 9:40 teams this season. Villa Maria have been in the top two in the last two state meets and will look to make it two titles in 3 seasons.
100 Meter Hurdles
At last season's state meet, Markeeta Thomas of Paul Robeson was finally able to defeat former champion Emily Lelis of Springdale in the high hurdles to win her first high hurdles championship in record setting time. This season, Thomas will be the favorite, having run a division best 14.28 earlier this month. She has broken 14.50 in each of her last three appearances. Cassidy Jenkins of Lakeland has been unbeatable in her competitions this season, running a new personal best of 14.41 in late April. Jenkins has gone from semifinalist to 4th to 3rd in her career at states. Aja Thorpe of Sewickley Academy is 3rd and last sub 15 second performer in the division, running 14.87 at the Mars Invite. She has dipped under 15 seconds 3 times and she finished 4th in 2014.
100 Meter Dash
The top of the division has been run by some bright young stars looking to earn their first piece of major state hardware. Breana Gambrell of Athens has had a sensational freshman season from the jumps to the sprints. She has a season best of 12.12 and has been under 12.25 in three of her last four races. This will be her first state appearance, and the same can also be said for Nicole Scherer of Burrell. Competing in her 1st high school season, the sophomore has impressed, leading the AA division most of the way. Her time of 12.10 was one of three sub 12.20 performances on the season. Last season, the event had six underclass medalists, but only three of them return. Nalaysia Johnson of Elmer Myers (5th), Emily Ledbetter of Beaver Area (7th) and Tahlyn Miller of Bishop McCort (8th) come back, with the trio needing to climb a tough mountain to get back to the medal stand for a second time.
1600 Meter Run
The 1600 meter run is arguably the toughest event to call, with not much separating the top seeds. Maddison Landis of Christopher Dock has the fastest time in the division (5:05.97 at the Henderson Invite) and was a 2014 finalist, but missed the medal stand. Alison Carson of Villa Maria Academy has been one of the most improved runners in AA, going from a 2014 best 5:32 to a 2015 best 5:06.15! This will be her first appearance in an open event at states. Hanna Bablak of Quaker Valley was 8th in last season's final and has made the finals twice in this event. Her season best is 5:07.41. Jenna Farmer of Lewisburg has been a model of consistency in 2015. She has broken 5:15 4 times in 5 appearances, with her best being a 5:10.24 at her league championship. She finished 4th a year ago in 4:56.49, the only runner in this season's field to break 5 minutes in their careers.
4x100 Meter Relay
The top of the division in this event are familiar rivals. District 12's Paul Robeson and Neumann Goretti will square off and show off the sprinting ability each team possesses. Robeson got the better of Neumann Goretti last season, finishing 3rd to Neumann Goretti's 7th. This time around, Neumann Goretti has been the more consistent team. They lead the division over Robeson 48.31 to 48.89. With both teams having team podium aspirations, this event could go a long way to making that goal a reality. Markeeta Thomas will lead the way for Paul Robeson, while freshman Sydni Townsend will lead Neumann Goretti. Out to spoil the district 12 party will be returning 6th place medalists Burrell, Wellsboro Area, Christopher Dock, and Bishop McCort.
400 Meter Dash
Speaking of Sydni Townsend, she will be on display in the 400 meter dash, the event that made her a national champion in her youth track days. Townsend has a lifetime best of 54.49 from last year. Injuries have slowed her down so far this season, but she has managed to run 56.71 in her first high school season. She will also be supported by teammates Arianna Ruffin (AA#3) and 2014 6th place medalist Amirah Coleman. Five of the seven 2014 medalists are back, including 3rd place Nicole Leonzo of Harrisburg Christian, 5th place Sydni Stovall of Springfield Montco, and Autumn Byes of Villa Maria. Stovall is AA#4 this season, while Byes is AA#8. 2014 champion Bethany Evankovich of General McLane has been moved up to AAA this season.
300 Meter Hurdles
Markeeta Thomas is the defending champion in the long hurdles and she should be familiar with some of her competition. Four of the other seven medalists in 2014 are back for another crack at the championship. They will have their work cut out for them, as Thomas is the #1 ranked intermediate hurdler with a 42.24 performance. Cassidy Jenkins has made big improvements in the event that has seen her finish 8th in the past two years. Her and Ameriah Walters of Valley have broken 44 seconds in the division along with Thomas. Summer Thorpe of Sewickley Academy has run under 45 seconds in 2015.
800 Meter Run
After two runner up finishes to Kennedy Weisner in 2013 and 2014, could this finally be Shannon Quinn's year to top the podium? The Virginia Tech signee has had a career year, running 2:10.7 in the 800 back on May 2, which is nearly 4 seconds better than the field. Perhaps a run at the 2:09.16 meet record set by Angel Piccirillo is in the cards. That is if she can hold off the Villa Maria duo of Claire Brown and Grace Trucilla, who finished 3rd and 4th behind Quinn in 2014. Brown ran 2:14.30 at District 10. Only Hannah Bablak has joined Quinn and Brown under the 2:15 barrier this season.
200 Meter Dash
The top returning medalist from 2014 is also the top seed and top ranked 200 meter runner in the division. 2014 bronze medalist Ameriah Walters of Valley is surging towards a title run at the right time, winning District 7 in 24.81, her first time breaking 25 seconds. Only the inexperienced Nicole Scherer has run faster (24.82), but was .05 seconds behind Walters at Districts for her 2nd sub 25 second performance. Freshmen Sydni Townsend of Neumann Goretti and Emily Lunger of Athens will look to break up the District 7 dual up front. Kaitlyn Magrane of Wyomissing (5th) and Bailey Kratz of Christopher Dock (6th) are returning 2014 medalists.
3200 Meter Run
One of the few events that on paper appears to have a clear favorite. Marianne Abdalah of Vincentian Academy has yet to lose a 3200 meter race in six attempts, with all six performances breaking the 11 minute mark. Two of them broke 10:50, including her season best 10:48.14 at the Mars Invitational. On time, Lauren Gronbeck of Eden Christian Academy would appear to be a threat to Abdalah's title, running 10:52.94 at Butler. But that was in a losing effort to Abdalah, one of four defeats to two time cross country state champ. The state meet would be the best time to end that losing streak. Angelina Biodo of Pen Argyl is the closest to the 11 minute mark without breaking it, running 11:03.29 at her league championship meet.
4x400 Meter Relay
One of the biggest surprises of the Penn Relays was the huge win by Neumann Goretti in the Girls Philadelphia Area 4x400 meter relay. The Catholic League squad ran 3:47.39 for the win and have been on top of the overall state list since. Three of their four legs have run 58 seconds or less and are running the open 400 where they can be potential finalists, showing the talent of this team. The record of 3:51.76 has a real chance of being shattered. Overcoming the champions Paul Robeson will be required. They have the 2nd best time in AA at 3:52.72 and finished under a second behind Neumann Goretti at District 12. The chase pack has failed to break 4 minutes, with Villa Maria Academy the closest to do so (4:00.80). They were 6th a year ago.
Just in the nick of time, the defending high jump champion and most consistent indoor high jumper has finally found her beat form. Erika Voyzey of Tyrone Area cleared 5-8 at District 6 for the first time since mid February to put her on top of the division for the season. It was only her 2nd clearance over 5-2 in that same stretch of time. A repeat 5-8 performance could seal a 2nd straight title. The chase pack should be familiar to Voyzey, as all six underclass medalists from 2014 are back. Lindsey Carl of Central Columbia has a season best of 5-6 during an undefeated season, while Holly Szita of Salisbury has cleared 5-5 with only one defeat. The chase pack sits at 5-4 or lower.
Kaitlyn Toman of Salisbury lost the 2014 state title on misses, but has found her best form at the right time and could potentially runaway as the winner. Toman cleared 12-4 to win District 11, her 2nd 12 foot plus clearance this season. The rest of the field have a combined zero 12 foot clearances, and only four of them have cleared 11 feet. 5th place medalist Grace Reidel of Delone Catholic cleared 11-6 this season, but struggled to a 2nd place finish at District 3 to 6th place medalist Megan Silva of Trinity (3) (11-4). Katie Jones of South Williamsport and Michelle Karabin of Grennsburg Central have cleared 11 feet to win their respective district titles.
The champ is back and poised for a successful title defense on the track where she will apply her trade in college. Abby Martin of Boiling Springs returns to the state meet with the 2nd best mark in the division, jumping a lifetime best 19 feet at the Mid Penn championships. She is two inches behind 5th place finisher Lindsay Bauer of Salisbury, who jumped a big 19-2 in late April that has launched her season to new heights. She has gone through the entire season unbeaten and has jumped 18 feet or better 5 times, including 4 straight. Freshman Breanna Gambrell of Athens is the other 18 foot jumper in the field. She has jumped 18 feet or better three times in her rookie season with a season best 18-2.75 at the District 4 championships. Bailey Kratz of Christopher Dock (4th), Maris Seto of Brownsville (6th) and Avani Dorsey of Imhotep (8th) come back as returning medalists.
Martin may be the top returning medalist in the triple jump (2nd), but she will have a gauntlet of top jumpers to get through if she hopes to get to that place or to the title. Hannah Drake of Wilmington surged to the top of the division with a 38-5 jump at District 10, a personal best of over 18 inches! She was 6th a year ago. Rebecca Carmody of Western Wayne won district 2 with a mark of 38-1.50 in her 4th career appearance. This will be her first ever trip to states. Brooke Estadt of Lakeland also had a lifetime best at District 2 behind Carmody (38-0.50) and missed last season's last 9 by 6 inches. Returning medalists Kia Clayton of Saltsburg (5th) and Kirsten O'Malley of Montoursville (8th) are within an inch and a half of 38 feet along with Koryn Jozwiakowski of Fort Cherry. 4th place Lindsay Bauer is only a half inch behind the aforementioned trio.
We forget sometimes that there's a team title at stake at the state meet, and this event can go a long way in determining the champion. Hickory have once again been the big dogs in the throws. The District 10 team and 2013 champions have the top two throwers and three of the top 5 in the division. Elena Marchand leads the way as the 2nd best thrower in the entire state with a 48-5.50 on May 1st at Baldwin. She is 6.5 feet ahead of her teammate Tori McKinley and she was a bronze medalist in AAA last season. Cailen Blaire is 3rd on the depth chart at 40 feet even, an outdoor best. Lizzie Weimer of Burrell shared the 3rd place position at states last season with Molly Montalvo of Greenville and has a personal best of 41-5. Hanna Pitchford of Serra Catholic has thrown 40-5 this season and will be in the mix for a top three finish.
Once again, the Hickory duo of Elena Marchand and Tori McKinley are 1-2 in the division. Marchand was 3rd in AAA last season and has the 2nd best mark in the division at 141-11. McKinley tops the division at 142-7 and will want to top her 24th place finish from last year. She spent the most time in the state number 1 spot in 2015, making her a favorite for the gold medal. Montalvo and Weimer return as 2014 medalists, with Montalvo sitting 4th in the division at 133-5. Maura Kimmel of Moniteau has the 3rd best mark at 139-6, which could put her in contention for a top 2 or 3 finish.
Brooke Hinderlitter of Redbank Valley has gone from missing the state finals to potentially coming away as the champion. The junior has recorded seven 150 foot plus throws this season, with her season best 157-9 topping the division. Danielle Collier of Hickory is in contention to help complete the throws sweep for the District 10 squad. She had the best throw at districts with a mark of 156-5. Sophomore Maura Fiamoncini of Mount Carmel has had a phenomenal spring, shooting up to 154-9, with only three throws under 140 for the year. Last year, she missed the finals by 2 feet. 2014 bronze medalist Ashley Imbrogno of Johnsonburg has a best of 144 feet.