The pain of multiple events
The girls of Neumann Goretti earned their team title with 64 points. They won the 4x800 and 4x400. They finished 8th in the 4x100. Additionally, Mykala Perry won the 400 in a PIAA meet record 54.5 and snagged silver in the 200. Kami Joi Hickson got silver in the 800, Sanaiya Watts was 4th in the 800. It's a workload to compete in so many events at the PIAA meet, with preliminaries on Friday and more finals on Saturday.
The weekend can be a slog for athletes who barely have time to cool down after a race before they have to begin warming up for their next one.
No athlete this weekend lived the joy and then devastation the way Trina Barcarola did. She won state gold in the girls AA pole vault. She had that medal around her neck around 11:38 a.m. Less than an hour later, she was wearing another gold medal, this one for her win in the 100 hurdles.
She ran two preliminaries in hurdles events, qualifying Friday for Saturday's finals in the 300 hurdles. Her preliminary run in the 100 hurdles Friday put her in the semifinals for that event, which she had to run before her state-title-winning 100 hurdle race. Western Wayne also had a preliminary in the 4x400. Some schools have the luxury of running an alternate in this race to rest a kid for the finals, but many smaller schools do not.
So with four hurdle races, possibly a 4x400 preliminary and the pole vault on her legs in roughly 24 hours, she took her mark as the top seed on Shippensburg's back stretch for the 300 hurdle final. It was this event, however, where fatigue may have begun to impact the junior. She took a spill over a hurdle heading into the curve and stumbled but kept her feet in the homestretch. She earned a medal, finishing 8th.
After her second 300 hurdle race in a day and one that did not go as planned, she told a reporter on the infield that, in a way, she was happy with her unfortunate result. She needed to be shaken.
"I think without some adversity -- trials and tribulations -- I'm never going to be able to get better," she said. "Sometimes you have to get literally knocked off your feet to make you have that realization."
It was tough. But she gave it her all -- her words -- and she finished it off.
She walked gingerly to the paddock with her third PIAA medal hanging from her neck and an ice bag pressed to her hamstring, which was swollen and red by the time she took the track for the 4x400.
Western Wayne's girls did not win the relay. There again, however, was Barcarola's positive energy from a kid who likely woke up with plans of winning four PIAA gold medals.
She told her teammates how blessed she was to be running with them. Two on the relay are seniors, making it the last time they'll all run a relay together as students in Western Wayne uniforms.
Taking the baton with a sore leg, she said the bruise was noticeable as she started off her anchor leg. It hurt, but she pushed through it.
Barcarola was caught in the homestretch. Her team finished 6th, which was their seed entering the four-kid, four-lap event that closes high school track & field meets with a gutsy determination exhibited by some of the sports finest athletes.
"I gave it all I had," Barcarola said.
What's with the shoes at Bermudian Springs?
The shoes were ordered Monday, arriving at Kolt Byers' Bermudian Springs home Tuesday -- just three days before the state track & field championships. His mom, Brita Byers, had to pay extra for the Adidas that would ultimately fit her son's feet when he'd win a AA boys state title in the high jump.
The old shoes broke last week at Shippensburg, sometime between Kolt's District 3-winning triple and high jumps. He doesn't remember.
His steps were completely off the eve of the state meet as he diligently spent at least a half-hour trying to get used to the new pair. He did everything he could to break them in.
Byers didn't match his seed in the triple jump, taking an 8th place medal Saturday morning. By early afternoon, it was on to a different pair of shoes as he grabbed a pole and began vaulting.
In his third event, Kolt, the kid who's afraid of heights and started pole vaulting on a whim in March, cleared 14 feet, good for 3rd in the state.
Oddly enough, the well-decorated Adams County junior is not the only athlete on his track & field team to have suffered postseason footwear woes.
Ryan Lauver, a discus and shot thrower, arrived at the YAIAA championship meet two weeks ago at Dallastown and asked the official if he was allowed to tape the soles of his Asics. They were split completely at the balls of his feet. He taped both shoes, but a mid-meet rainstorm made the throwing circles slick. The tape didn't help either one, he said.
A Bermudian Springs coach, Jason Weigle, said at the YAIAA meet that Ryan's new shoes were waiting on his doorstep. They hadn't arrived for the league championships. Ryan qualified for the District 3 meet and in his new adidas, the senior snapped one 150-2, a 10-foot personal record good for third in AA boys and a ticket to the state meet, where he finished 12th on Friday.
Weigle joked Saturday before Kolt's events that people would have to think they either run their kids into the ground at Bermudian or they're poor.
Whatever the reason, Kolt and Ryan were able to overcome their tattered shoes to compete at the highest level.
A PIAA meet record for Gionna Quarzo of Brownsville. She ran 10:25.91 alone, winning the 8-lap race by nearly 32 seconds. The crowd was audibly appreciative of Quarzo's performance as the public address announcer reminded attendees of her record pace.
Another girls 3200, another PIAA meet record. Bethel Park's Emily Carter ran 10:16.02 to take gold. The top three girls finished under the 9-year-old record.
Colton Sands of District 6's Penns Valley takes gold in 9:24.75.
Zachary Kinne of North Allegheny clocked 9:01.94 to take state gold. His teammate, Daniel McGoey, was 3rd. This is the WPIAL's second state title of the day. At this point, 3/4 of the 3200 winners -- Emily Carter, Colton Sands and Zachary Kinne -- will be back this afternoon in their respective 1600 races to try for the magical double. Can they pull it off?
AA boys 110 hurdles about to start. Derek Herr of Littlestown just won his semifinal in 15.02. Also in that heat and qualifying on time is Bermudian Springs' Payton Rohrbaugh. Herr and Rohrbaugh are local rivals from Adams County schools and will meet in both hurdles finals today.
We're ahead of schedule on the track. Yesterday's meet ran more than an hour behind.
The place to find these as they happen is here. That's a glance at AAA boys 110 hurdle finals. Eastern York's Demonte Martin narrowly missed the finals.
No surprise here. Penn State-bound Mallory Kauffman of Greenwood threw a PR of 48-3.25 on her 5th attempt to win her second state gold of the weekend. That's a discus-shot double for the senior. She said mental preparation with her coach made a difference.
Ezra Mellinger of Lampeter Strasburg took gold, leaping 23-9.25. The future Duke BLue Devil has been busy this weekend and he's not done, with a 200 semi left, and a final, if he qualifies. Of note from the long jump in the AAA boys team race: State College picked up 8 and 3 points from Lance Hamilton and Luke Knipe, respectively. That gives the Little Lions 11 more and 31 total. They want the team title and they want it bad. Off the medal stand, Hamilton told me State College last won a team state title in 2016. He said they want to win it today for their first-year head coach. Hard to imagine, but Hamilton seemed serious when I joked that his school is facing a 2-year state title drought.
It won't shock you to learn that Neumann Goretti won this. Their team is comprised of four girls who could each be running in two other events today. It's tremendous that the school has a stable of athletes and thus choices for who to put in their 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Depending on how it shakes out, Sherisse Peterson could run the 4x400. Sanaiya Watts could run the 800 and 4x400. Kimberly Johnson, who did the 300 hurdles yesterday, could run the 4x100 and 4x400 yet today. And Kami Joi Hickson could run the 800 and 4x400. That's a lot of races in a two-day span considering prelims and all.
Strath Haven, with girls who have been battling some low-level sicknesses, take state gold.
The boys of Wyomissing, Berks County's small school track & field factory, takes it in 7:59.33. Big team points for the Spartans.
A familiar uniform atop the podium at Shippensburg as Central Bucks West won in 7:42.52. It's good to talk to Dan Beck of PennTrackXC, one of the runners said as he made his way for his post-state title interview with our intrepid editor.
Northern York's Chris Barrett throws 203-1 to win in an event that saw 1-7 places earn NFHS Honor Roll.
This one goes to Bloomsburg-bound Dominic Caputo of Montoursville, who landed in the sand 46-5.25 beyond his board.
Trina Barcarola, Western Wayne, wins with a vault 12-6 off the runway. She still has the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles to run today.
Conestoga Valley's Jane Livingston, who still has the 4x100 and 300 hurdles, won an insanely close race. She expressed an exasperated shock at the close win. "I thought she had me," she said of 2nd place Christina Warren from Perkiomen Valley.
CD East's Emmanuel Niang takes gold in 14.28. That's 10 for the Panthers in their team race.
Aliquippa's Marlin Devonshire wins in 10.85.
Another 10 team points for CD East by way of Shawn Brown.
Trina Barcarola is now personally responsible for 20 Western Wayne team points. She's got one event left -- 300 hurdles -- this afternoon.
This race will go down in PIAA history as one of the best races of all time. Parks took it out from the start and Starliper couldn't quite close in the end.
More in-race and post-race
The girls from Harry S. Truman ran 47.09, edging Warwick. The girls were ecstatic to be interviewed by PennTrackXC. After talking on-camera with Dan Beck, the girls hugged and hollered jubilantly on the Seth Grove Stadium infield.
It's Coatesville by a nose, 40.99 to 41.22. And that's a new PIAA record. The boys from Coatesville dropped 0.5 seconds from their preliminary time yesterday. When asked about CD East's top state time from last week they said, "It was all hype."
AA girls 400
Mykala Perry of Neumann Goretti sets another PIAA meet record, running 54.5 to win.
AAA girls 400
Saucon Valley's Talitha Diggs sets the PIAA meet record in 52.82, making it back-to-back girls 400 PIAA meet records. Wow. There are records shattered all over Seth Grove Stadium today.
AA girls 300 hurdles
Rachel Hutchinson of Athens Area wins in 44.69. Top-seeded Trina Barcarola of Western Wayne had a fall going into the curve and a stumble on the home stretch, finishing 8th. The two-time state champ already today had ice on her hamstring as she walked back to the paddock. Oh. She's not done today, as she'll be back to run her school's 4x400.
AAA girls 300 hurdles
It's Conestoga Valley's Jane Livingston winning her second state gold of the day.
AAA boys team race
With potentially two races to influence the result, the team race is State College 41, CD East 36, Coatesville 23. Coatesville has Dymere Miller in the 200, which is it for the schools, so scratch the two potential races among the three schools. Result remains uncertain, of course.
AA girls 4x400
Neumann Goretti defended its title with a 3:51.87 and way ahead of the competition. That's two relay titles -- 4x800 as well -- for Neumann Goretti's girls.
The 4x400s have come and gone and the team titles have been awarded. State College takes AAA boys with 47 points. Hickory wins AA boys with 40 points. Warwick wins AAA girls with 44 points. Neumann Goretti dominates AA girls with 64 points.