* Avery Lewis after winning the 200m this weekend at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships
Photo Credit: Don Rich/PennTrackXC
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"Representing my school is even better because I get to share it with my friends and my teammates." -- Avery Lewis
By Dan Beck -- PennTrackXC
If it looked like Avery Lewis was getting better as the meet moved along on Sunday, it's because she was.
At Sunday's PTFCA Indoor State Championships, Lewis, a sophomore at Friends' Central, showed no signs of letting up inside Penn State's indoor facility, even as got on the track for her fourth event of the day.
Lewis didn't lose once on Sunday. She racked up four gold medals, winning in all four of the events she competed in -- climbing up some all-time lists in the process. In her state meet debut, Lewis put together what is arguably the greatest individual performance ever at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships.
Lewis won the long jump, the 60 meter dash, the 200m and supplied the anchor leg on the winning 4x200 relay. Friends' Central scored 63 points to win the team title by 26 points. Lewis was a part of 40 of those points scored.
For Lewis, it started with the long jump, an event where she is the state record holder from last year. She took all six attempts and put down a season best of 19 feet, 11 inches, which is US No. 5.
Then it was time for the 60m rounds. Lewis progressively got faster, PR'ing in each round. She said that the long jump actually benefited her in those rounds.
"After long jump, I was really loose so it helped me in my 60," Lewis said. "I just had to keep sticking with my mechanics and keep executing my race like I wanted to."
Lewis went 7.39 in the prelims and then 7.38 in the semis before the stage was set for the finals.
Lewis brought her best to the final, running 7.30 for the win. Campbell went 7.35 for second and Abinusawa went 7.41 for third. Lewis broke the state meet record and tied Thelma Davies' all-time Pennsylvania state record from 2019.
"I honestly didn't believe I could do it," Lewis later said with a laugh.
But it's an event she hadn't raced much this season, so the fast times were a bit of a surprise to Lewis.
"It was my third, fourth, and fifth 60 race this year, so it was pretty amazing to see how I could put a race together with not having run it a lot of times," she said.
She wasn't done yet.
Next came the 200m, which meant another rematch with Campbell. A few weeks prior, the pair dueled in the one-lapper at the PTFCA Carnival on a flat track. Lewis won that race in 24.18, but she was looking forward to getting onto a banked track.
"I was super excited because the curves here are a lot better than the flat track. With the bank, I just get more momentum on the downhill," Lewis said.
The end result was another victory and another PR.
Campbell, on the outside, was able to hang well with Lewis on the back curve, but Lewis held it together to claim the win in 23.74. That time moved Lewis up to PA No. 2 all-time indoors (Davies still holds that record at 23.51).
Watch Above: Friends' Central wins the girls 4x200m
Up next was the 4x200 meter relay, where Lewis and her Friends' Central teammates put down perhaps her most jaw-dropping performance of the day.
Three teams handed off to their anchor legs all at right about the same time with top seed South Fayette, along with J.P. McCaskey right there with Friends' Central. Quin Stovall gave the stick to Lewis, who looked like she was shot out of a cannon.
Around the first curve, Lewis had already put a five-plus meter gap on the rest of the field. It was lights out from there, as Lewis split an F.A.T. 23.56 to give the Phoenix the win and the title.
"I felt pretty energized, even after running all my races, so I was just doing it for my team and myself to just prove I can do what I put my mind to," she said.
Even after six trips down the long jump runway, a grueling three rounds of the 60m, and an open 200, Lewis still had plenty in the tank to bring home one more state title.
It's the type of performance we have rarely ever seen -- if at all -- in the Keystone State and one that won't come around that often again...that is until Lewis returns next year during her junior season.
The pandemic didn't allow us to see Lewis' talent on the state stage last year.
Pennsylvania got a pretty good idea of what this superstar is all about on Sunday.
"I'm very grateful for this opportunity," Lewis added. "I'm glad that I was able to stay healthy. Representing my school is even better because I get to share it with my friends and my teammates."