What Might Have Been: Boys Shot Put
Wilmington's Connor Vass-Gal would be shooting for his first state title and he would be a tough one to beat in the AA shot put this weekend if not for COVID-19. As a sophomore, Vass-Gal was a close second to Brock Grundy for the state title, just 8 inches off. His personal best of 64-4.75 sits well ahead of the No. 2 returner and the stage was set for the junior to go after the state crown.
Vass-Gal also had a strong winter that saw him heave a best of 63-11.75 for state runner-up honors to AAA's Jeff Kline.
Three other medalists were set to return. Chestnut Ridge's Duane Knisely, the discus favorite, threw a best of 558-9 last year and placed third at states with a put of 56-11. He would be in contention for another big finish this season.
Lewisburg's Josh Gose and Fairview's Eric Schulz are also returning medalists. Gose took fifth at states last year, while Schultz was sixth. Schulz was coming off a strong indoor season that saw him creep close to the 60-foot mark with a best of 59-7. He was sixth at indoor states.
Vass-Gal would have been the one to beat here, though.
Somerset's Nickolas Hyde had the best day of his career and turned the AAA shot put into a runaway last year, capturing the state crown by over five feet with his best put of 65-6.25. Fleetwood's Jeff Kline saw some terrific improvements during the indoor season, and he would be looking to capture a similar victory this weekend, as well.
Kline threw a best of 64-7.5, the nation's No. 2 put, in the winter, and that would have made him a big favorite for Shippensburg outdoors. He was fourth last year, but he would be the one to beat, as he was set to add an outdoor state title to his resume.
Notre Dame-Green Pond's Thomas Kitchell was second last year in AAA. He threw his season best of 60-5.5 at states to take silver behind Hyde. While he specializes in the disc, Kitchell would have been a big shot contender, too. Chambersburg's Brock Harmon (fifth) and Wilson's Jack Miller (eighth) are other returning medalists from last year in AAA. Both would have another good shot at cracking the top three.
Nick Hyde's younger brother Dustin Hyde was coming off an impressive indoor season. He eclipsed the 60-foot barrier twice, including a best of 60-4 to take third at indoor states. If he continued that upward trajectory, he could have possibility had a chance at upsetting Kline and keeping the state title in the family for another year.
Northern Lebanon's Dylan Lambrecht, on the heels of a strong indoor season, would have been a strong contender, as well.