It was somewhat an unusual sight for athletes and onlookers at Saturday's Shippensburg Jack Roddick Invitational when officials had those in the 100 meter dash and high hurdles run in the opposite direction than normal.
Shippensburg University, which hosts the outdoor state meet as well as the District 3 Championships, made the decision because of high winds that would have caused a strong headwind to give runners an advantage on the homestretch for the short races and switched directions.
Ultimately, the senior benefited from the wind in a big way, posting a big PR of 13.59, a few hundredths faster than her previous best, which she ran a week earlier at the Black Knight Invitational at Hempfield.
"The wind was so helpful -- more helpful than I thought it would be, so to run away with that is pretty awesome for this early on in the season."
After battling an injury that kept her out for a good chunk of her junior season, Livingston has stormed back during this past winter and in the opening weeks of the outdoor season, proving she is the state's top hurdler. She ran 8.38 to win the 60-meter hurdles at indoor states, and
She was fifth in the 100 hurdles at outdoor states last year after coming back from that injury. Healthy this year, she'll certainly be among the favorites in the 100 hurdles, as well as the 300-meter hurdles. She ran 44.48 for the win on Saturday at Ship, but went 43.77 at Hempfield, which stands at PA No. 1 on the season.
"After the state meet, it got my confidence up a lot and it's exciting to go out in my senior year with a season like this," Livingston said.
The Conestoga Valley team as a whole had a big day at Ship.
The Buckskins ran to the PA No. 1 spot in the 4x100 meter relay, posting a 48.08 for the win. The team of Livingston, Sarah Castronova, Dana Wentz, and Jordyn Hock executed some terrific handoffs to dominate the field and take over the state lead.
"That was probably the highlight of my day," Livingston said. "We have some pretty high expectations so the 48.08 was pretty awesome."
Then in the triple jump, CV's Aviona Saunders moved up to PA No. 3 on the season. Saunders leapt 38 feet, 1.25 inches for the win in the event.
"I didn't know I could get 38 -- especially now," Saunders said. "It was shocking."
Saunders has been coming back from an injury, so she said she surprised herself with such a strong midseason effort.
"It helps me relax now that I can get back into it," she said. "I was worried since I got injured that it was going to take me a while to get my jumps back up there, but now I can set a new goal."
Conestoga Valley will return to Shippensburg in a month for the District 3 Championships, and then a week later for the state meet. The Buckskins will be a threat in more than a few events.