With a Month of the Indoor Season behind us, now is a good time to reflect on three key takeaways from the month of December.
Pennsylvania is Home to Two of the Best Shot Putters in the Nation
And Justley Sharp is one of the most underrated Shot Putters in the nation.
We're not talking about the Top 50; we're talking about the Best of the Best. Liz Tapper (Hempfield (7)) and Justley Sharp (Homer Center) will finish the Indoor Season inside the US Top 10 in the Shot Put.
We expected to see Liz Tapper come out firing. After all, before signing with the University of Michigan, she was one of the top prospects north of the Mason-Dixon line. But she came out firing this season, with a new indoor personal best of 46-11. As a result, she sits as the current US No. 1, with a mark that would have ranked sixth in 2022. Not bad for an opener.
Sharp discusses her US No. 3
As for Justley Sharp, her opener of 45-0 marked a lifetime best and an indoor best by nearly five feet. Currently ranked third in the nation, her strides started during the 2022 Outdoor season when she placed second at the PIAA Championships (2A).
She has a PIAA State Championship in the Discus to her name, and she continues to mold into an incredibly well-rounded thrower.
Good luck to anyone not named Taleea Buxton
Watch Taleea Buxton run a Season-Best 8.03
Early, she is in a league of her own. Towering a whopping three-tenths (after 55mH to 60mH conversion) over the field in the 60mH, Taleea Buxton (West Catholic) currently ranks third in the nation in the 55mH (8.03).
Macaela Walker (Oxford) caught a whiff of her at the Ursinus HS Invitational and gave her second place in the preliminary rounds of the 55mH. But that was a rust buster for Buxton, and she has since run over six-tenths faster in the 55mH.
We're of the opinion that Buxton hasn't hit her stride yet. But she has already hurdled three more times than she did at this point last year. That added experience will continue to pay dividends as she narrows in on her 55mH personal best of 7.95.
If anyone wants to close the gap on her, they need to find some pay dirt soon; otherwise Buxton will continue to run away from the state.
Episcopal Academy's success on the Cross Country Course will carry into the Indoor Season
Watch Episcopal Academy set the US No. 1 in the 4x800m Run.
While it is a bit of a surprise to see the Episcopal distance boys already on the Indoor surface, it is no shocker that they've already established themselves as the team to beat, specifically in the relays. At the Ocean Breeze Holiday Festival, their squad ran a 7:55.77 4x800m relay. That is a current US No. 1 and the fastest time we've seen by a Pennsylvania team since 2019, when Council Rock South went 7:54 at nationals.
The squad also holds a current US No. 1 in the DMR with a strong 10:35.
While neither of those times are unbeatable, they highlight an essential element for EA. Strength in the relays. Success in those events usually correlates to solidity outside of them.