When it comes to PIAA classification parameters, Lewisburg Area barely made the AAA cut. With a male enrollment of 260 students, the Green Dragons made the move from AA to AAA for this season by a mere 11 students.
But that didn't stop Lewisburg from capturing the AAA state title in the 4x800 meter relay at the PIAA State Championships. Lewisburg narrowly bested perennial 4x8 powerhouse State College Area, as well as three-time defending state champion Central Bucks West to win the relay in a time of 7:53.93.
|2||State College Area High School||7:55.69||1|
|3||Central Bucks West||7:59.69||1|
|6||Hempfield Area (7)||8:02.13||1|
|9||Haverford Township HS||8:04.23||1|
After a solid opening leg from James Koconis in 1:59, second leg Calvin Bailey (1:57) gave Lewisburg a strong advantage in the lead going into the second exchange. Gianluca Perrone (1:58) continued to build up that lead on the third leg.
Then it was into the hands of the anchor leg, Thomas Hess, who held off a hard-charging Brady Bigger of State College. Bigger split a 1:54 -- the fastest split of the race -- but it wasn't enough to catch Hess, who ran a strong 1:57 to bring home the title for Lewisburg.
State College settled for second in 7:55.69. The 2017, 2018, and 2019 AAA state champions in the 4x8 from CB West took third in 7:59.69.
Winning 4x8 state gold is nothing new for Lewisburg. After all, they do hold the PIAA meet record in AA at 7:44.44 from 2004.
But the AAA title -- against many of Pennsylvania's usual AAA power players -- surely was sweet for the Green Dragons. Watch an interview with the Lewisburg boys after the race below.