Within about a half hour span on Sunday at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, North Carolina, a trio of Pennsylvania athletes won national titles in what turned out to be a huge final day of the meet for the Keystone State.
Tyler Shue, Marlee Starliper, and Thelma Davies each won national titles -- the first of their careers -- in an epic Sunday. We break it down, along with other Day 4 NBNO highlights below.
Davies Goes Sub-23; Wins 200
Thelma Davies has been on the hunt for a national title for a while now. On Sunday afternoon, she finally got it.
The Girard College senior dropped a 22.95 (+2.6) in the final to take the win, holding off a hard-charging Kirstin Jones of Tennessee for the victory. It is Davies' first national championship. That time makes her the first girls under 23 seconds in the 200 meters, but it is wind-aided, so it cannot officially be approved as an all-time PA state record. Davies already holds the all-time state at 23.10 from last summer.
Davies made up the stagger early and held strong through the line to beat out Jones and the top seed from the prelims, Jayla Jamison from South Carolina. Talitha Diggs of Saucon Valley, who was second in the 100 on Saturday,
Next up for the Davies is a quick turnaround. She'll head to Miramar, Florida for the USATF U20 Championships next weekend, aiming for a top two spot and spot on the Pan-American team.
Starliper Gets Her National Title
She come close on a few occasions. But it finally happened on Sunday for Marlee Starliper. And it wasn't even close.
Starliper took command of the Championships Girls Mile from the gun and kept rolling winning by nearly 7 seconds. The Northern junior clocked a time of 4:41.18 for the wire-to-wire victory. That time betters her own PA No. 3 all-time performance in the full mile. Ohio's Taylor Ewert was second in 4:48.01.
At New Balance Nationals Indoor in the winter, she was an incredibly close second place. On Sunday, she would not be challenged for the win, running away with her first career national title. Germantown Academy's Isabelle Goldstein took took fourth in 4:50.12 and Shady Side Academy's Melissa Riggins was 10th in 4:54.32.
Starliper will also head to Florida for the USATF U20 Championships next week, where she is currently entered in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.
Shue Takes Home 800m Gold
Shue hung well in the pack through the first lap that went through in about 50-flat. Then with about 250 meters to go, Shue made a push to the front. He managed to open up a gap on the rest of the field and keep it rolling. New Jersey's Luis Peralta made a nice charge in the closing 50 meters or so, but Shue was able to hold him off for the 800 meter national title.
Shue clocked a 1:50.39, a PA No. 1 and US No. 4 on the season. That time is a PR by over a second, bettering his previous best of 1:51.55, which he ran to win the PIAA Class AAA title. He now sits at PA No. 9 all-time in the event, and he still has another high school season to go.
-Berks Catholic's Keeley Suzenski placed second in the Championship Girls Shot Put. The senior threw 48-2.5, bettering her previous outdoor best by about a foot and a half. The PIAA Class AAA held the lead entering the finals before Tennessee's Zoe Vlk tossed 49-1.5 in the finals to claim the victory.
-The Central Dauphin East boys capped off what has been a huge 2019 for the squad. The Panthers went 1:31.21 in the 800m sprint medley relay (SMR) to take second to WFHS from Virginia, which ran 1:30.55 for the win.
Manheim Township's Evan Dorenkamp went 4:13.29 and moved up late with a big kick to take second in the Championship Boys Mile. The senior, who won the PIAA Class AAA title in the 1,600 meters, closed out his prep career on a high note with a big effort in NC.
-In the Championship Boys Discus, Duane Knisely of Chestnut Ridge took fifth with a huge PR of 187-10 in a strong field. Knisley was in the first of three flights, but that didn't stop the junior from taking All American honors in the event, bettering his previous best in the disc by an incredible 13 feet.