Above: Laila Campbell storms through the 100m prelims, Photo by Elias Catania
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SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - The Opening day of the 2023 PIAA Championship is underway. Throughout the day, we'll be keeping you updated with our Snap Recap.
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AA Girls 1600m
Jolena Quarzo and Delaney Dumm battled it out early in the AA Girls' 1600m. Quarzo started to create some space after the opening 800 and closed in a 2:31 800m to take the victory. Quarzo finished in 4:55.45. Addie Cohen overtook Dumm for second, Dumm slipped to third in the final 400m.
AAA Girls 1600m
A strategic race developed early in the 3A Girls Championship. Olivia Cieslak (Haverford) took control of the race early, and the field mistakenly allowed her to control the pace.
They cruised through the opening 800m in 2:27, as the field bunched behind Cieslak. Logan St. John Kletter (Mount Lebanon) maintained second. The field allowed Cieslak to retain control through the next 400m, and she took off over the closing quarter. She used her mid-distance speed to drop a 65-second last lap.
Natalie McLean (Pine Richland) moved into second with a 67-second last lap. Ella Woehlcke, Emily Simko, and Harley Kletz rounded out the Top-5.
AA Boys 1600m
What a battle.
Though they kept an honest effort - the AA boys went out in a 2:13 opening 800m. Thomas Smigo (Palisades), Logan Strawser (East Juniata), Rory Lieberman (Danville), Amberson Bauer (Riverview 07) and Sean Aiken (Eden Christian) maintained position towards the front of the pack.
The paced picked up on the third lap and the leaders split a 63. At the bell, Smigo and Strawser took off, with Lieberman and Bauer trying to respond. Down the back stretch Smigo and Strawser exchanged the lead twice, but Smigo took control on the final curve. \
He ran away with the Championship, crossing the line in a 4:13.05 after closing in a 56.45. Logan Strawser and Rory Lieberman finished second and third with times of 4:13.95 and 4:15.65 respectively.
AAA Boys 1600m
No one, and I mean NO ONE could have predicted that Dale Hall would stun the field and beat one of the best fields in PIAA Championship History.
He did just that. Hall meticulously positioned himself inside the Top 5. On the final lap he positioned himself on the shoulder of Drew Griffith (Butler) who had just surged around Patrick Lawson (Haverford Township).
Then heading into the final curve he took control. Brian DiCola (Hatboro Horsham) and Ryan Pajak (Ringgold) tried to respond to the ambitious move down the back stretch, but Dale Hall pressed on and Griffith stuck to his shoulder.
The two paraded down the homestretch stride-in-stride clawing towards the finish line. Hall would get there first, by hundredths of a second, crossing the line in 4:08.52 compared to Griffith's 4:08.59.
Pajak completed the District 7 Sweep by finishing in third with his 4:09.64.
DiCola, Timothy Roden (Central Dauphin), Nick Sloff (State College), Patrick Lawson, and Cole Stevens (Manheim Township) rounded out the Top-8. All 8 ran 4:11 or faster.
AA Girls Discus
Justley Sharp (Homer Center) was dominant in her efforts to secure a state title. The Homer Center senior delivered the state winning throw on her first attempt, launching a disc 148-5. She then followed that with a couple of other attempts in 140s.
Sasha Garnett (Richland) finished second with a throw of 126-7 and Tiffany Zelmore (Mount Pleasant) finished third with a 123-4.
AAA Boys Triple Jump
JJ Kelly (Chambersburg) may have fouled on his first two attempts but he rebounded in a big way with his third attempt and subsequent jump of 46-1. He moved into the lead with that attempt, and stretched it with a jump of 47-7 on his subsequent attempt.
Matthew Cusatis (Hazleton) finished second with his launch of 45-10 and Jared Hess (Pennridge) landed in third with a 45-8.75.
AA Boys Long Jump
Levi Prementine (Slippery Rock) came in with the Top Seed and will walk out as the Champion. He earned the win with a 23-1.25 on his final attempt. His third jump of 22-5 would have been strong enough to win it.
Conwell-Egan's Anthony Conrey jumped 22-2.5 to finish in a solid second place. He outjumped Taylor LaBarre (Pen Argyl) who finished in third with a 21-10.
AA Girls High Jump
Faith Yost (Northwestern Lehigh) remained steady and poised to earn herself a State Title in the Girls High Jump.
She opened at 4-8 and cleared her way over 5-5 alongside Ava Koski (Neshannock). Sara McConnell (River Valley) and Paige Casterline (Palisades) both cleared 5-4 but could not quite get over the 5-5 mark.
Yost and Koski were stonewalled at 5-6, and Yost collected the win based on attempts.
AAA Girls Shot Put
Elizabeth Tapper threw 45-2 and 44-10 on fourth to win the 3A State Championship over Alexa Brown (Strath Haven) and Ericka Jackson (Harrisburg) who finished in second and third respectively.
Erin Miles (Milton Hershey) and Mollie Carpenter (Haverford) joined the 40-foot club and rounded out the Top 5.
AA Boys Javelin
It was going to take a PR and Tyler Arnold (Southern Columbia) delivered. Last week he threw a personal best 195 and this week he delivered 205-4 to steal the show on his final attempt.
Bronson Krainak (Danville) held the lead through the opening five attempts. He threw a stellar 197-10 in the fourth round. That mark stood 7-feet better than the next competitor at the time. Arnold was in second until he threw over 200.
Joseph Reed (Riverside) finished third with a 195-6 and Lincoln Huber (Central Columbia) finished in fourth with a 186-11.
Ryan Hummell (Clarion Limeston) rounded out the top-5.
AAA Girls Pole Vault
Katie Urbine (Solanco) made history yet again. This time she delivered a State Meet Record to win the 3A Girls Pole Vault with a big-time jump of 13-9.
Veronica Vacca (Mount Saint Joseph) finished second with a jump of 13-3, while Kirstin Hoffman (Kennett) finished in third (12-9).
The following Girls qualified out of the preliminary rounds; Tatum Norris, Viktorya Luckenbach, Hayzes Robinson, Sydney Rush, Kaila O'Connor, Jordynn Carter, Izzy Slezak and Eva Denis.
Tatum Norris (Susquehanna Community) led the field in the preliminary rounds with a wind-legal 12.05. Luckenbach (Pine Grove) was right behind her with a 12.07. The two will occupy the middle lanes in the finals.
Qualifying out of the Preliminary Round: Laila Campbell, Macaela Walker, Amirah Nesmith, Soleil Morrison, Dani Prunzik, Monroe Law, Kira Murray, Mariah Winfield.
As expected, Laila Campbell (Spring Grove) jumped out to a dominant 11.63 (+0.4) in her preliminary heat. She ran nearly three tenths faster than the next competitor.
Macaela Walker (Oxford) and Amirah Nesmith (Archbishop Ryan) both broke 12-seconds running 11.9 (+1.4) and 11.94 (+0.8) respectively.
Ethan Black (Conemaugh) ran a blazing 10.39 (+2.6) to lead the competition out of the preliminary rounds. He ran over half of a second faster than the competitor. Dane Asbury (Washington) ran 10.99, joining Black under 11.
Evan McCracken, Adam Petersen, Jackson Clarke, Nolan Wyrwas, Max Zitnay and Brayden Kunselman also snagged qualifying times.
Dylan Simon, Lavar Jackson, Shaun McCoullum, Chase Morgan, Gabe Lewis, Kason Besecker, Lex Cyrus, and Jesse Myers qualified for the finals by running 10.75 or faster.
Dylan Simon (Parkland) leads the field out of prelims after running 10.57 (+2.2).
Then behind him, the next seven boys ran between 10.63 and 10.75. Lavar Jackson (Upper Darby) ran 10.63 (+1.7) to punch his tickets to the finals, he'll line-up next to Simon.
100m & 110m Hurdles Prelims
Taleea Buxton (West Catholic) ran a blazing 14.12 (+0.1) to lead the 2A Girls out of the preliminary rounds. She ran nearly a second faster than the next competitor.
Ava Rebuck, Ondrea Young, Joyce Martin, Chloe Diaz, Samantha Wechsler, Camryn Pyle and Emma Cline also qualified out of prelims.
Damira Allen (Chester) led 8 girls under 15-seconds. The freshman was the first girl out of the preliminary rounds as she ran 14.48 (+2.0). Macaela Walker, Aubrey Leneweaver and Ryleigh Marks were right behind her with times of 14.49 (+1.8), 14.53 (+1.8), and 14.54 (+1.1) respectively.
Michelle Korsah, Anyae Grissom, Keturah Darwon and Rose Kuchera also qualified for finals.
Levi Prementine (Slippery Rock) ran a quick 14.61 (+2.7) to outrun Antonio Votour (OLSH) who ran 14.62 (+0.4). They'll both advance to the finals.
Joining them will be Daquan McCraw, Isaac Wetzel, Jon Wess, Sam Albright, Josiah Schans and Nathan Oliphant.
Bernard Bell (South Western) scorched a 14.33 (-0.1) to lead the field out of prelims. Trevon Foster (Pottsgrove) also ran 14.33 (+1.0).
Andrew Beers slotted right in behind them. Tyrese Washington, Jermere Jones, Demetrius Bell, Jack Sanchez Cuesta and Tyler Burgess will join them in the finals.
AA Girls Long Jump
Nataly Walters (Palmerton) was decisive in her efforts to win her first State Championship. She soared to a mark of 18-5.50 (+0.0).
She opened with a solid 17-8.25 before improving with her second and eventual winning mark of 18-5.50.
Alison Watts (Bermudian Springs) gave her all down the stretch but came up just short with a 17-9.25 in her final attempt. Samantha Wechsler (Susquenita) also hit a series best in her final attempt, jumping 17-3.5.
Tatum Norris, DaSahe Cochran, Lara Defazio, Sydney Rush and Faith Yost rounded out the podium finishers.
AA Boys Discus
Landon Chalmers (Union-Allegheny CV) just scored a HUGE upset.
Chalmers entered the state meet as the No. 6 Seed in the AA Boys Discus. Not only did Chalmers pull out the win, but he threw a 16-foot PR in the process. He threw 171-5 in his final attempt , after moving to the lead on his previous attempt.
Brady Cooper (Laurel) was leading until Chalmers fifth attempt. He finished his series strong with a 167-8 for second. Michael Othites (Shenango) finished in third with a 167-5.
Gian Greggo, Alex Polenik, Cam Wagner, Cam Crocker, and Kyle Kapichok rounded out the podium finishers.
Finals Qualifiers - In Order:
AA Girls - West Catholic, Central Columbia, Hopewell, Paul Robeson, Somerset, Carlynton, Pine Grove, Bartram Motivation.
AAA Girls - J.P. McCaskey, North Penn, Chesterm Cheltenham, Parkland, Downingtown East, Souderton, Penncrest.
AA Boys - Brookeville Area, Wyomissing, Conemaugh, Carlynton, Central Cambria, Southern Columbia, Mastery Charter North, Beaver Falls.
AAA Boys - Chambersburg, Emmaus, Susquehanna, Spring Ford, Parkland, Cedar Crest, Roman Catholic, Coatesville
AA Girls Javelin
What in the world? Evelyn Bliss (Union-Allegheny CV) unleashed an unreal 170-02 to set the NEW State Meet Record, PA No. 3 All-Time, and earn a State Championship.
That throw was nearly a 15-foot PR for Bliss, as she saved her best for last.
Bliss threw the record setting mark on her first attempt. A Full Story on her efforts is to come.
Sophia Mazzoni (Derry) and Morgan Reiner (Milton Area) rounded out the Top 3 with throws of 143-6 and 143-2 respectively.
AAA Girls Triple Jump
Ava Alexander (Rustin) was successful in her Triple Jump title defense, scoring the 3A win with a jump of 41-5.5 over Rose Kuchera's (Canon-McMillan) 40-6.25.
Alexander put it together early and neared her personal best on her first attempt. She put up similar numbers through the rest of her series - but her first jump would stand strong and eventually win her the title.
Megan Baggetta (Butler) finished third with a jump of 39-8.75. Taylor Forbes and Lily Hendricks rounded out the Top 5.
AA Boys High Jump
Hayden Smith (Union-Allegheny CV) entered at 6-4 and never looked back. He cleared 6-4 and 6-6 on his first attempts. Upon clearing 6-6 he earned himself the PIAA 2A High Jump Championship, but he wasn't done there.
He then cleared 6-8 and made a run at 6-11. He ultimately came up just short, but proved that 6-11 and potentially 7-0 are within reach.
Noah Gunderson (Annville-Cleona) finished in second with his jump of 6-5, and Sam Lundeen (Kane) finished in third with his Jump of 6-4.
AAA Boys Shot Put
Brady Mider (Berks Catholic) put on a clinic in the boys shot put. He opened with a 56-6 before hucking his next throw 58-9.75. That was enough to score him the win, as he became a 3A Champion after placing second in 2A last year.
Peyton Murray (Hempfield 07) finished in second with his early throw of 54-7. Nathan Reese (Connellsville) was able to capitalize on his last attempt to throw 54-6 and move up to third.
Ivan Tejada and Logan Wegman rounded out the Top-5. Tyler Klambara, Cory Jubilee-Scott and Colin Melhorn joined them on the podium.
Wheelchair Boys Shot
Alex Brown became the first adaptive athlete to ever win a PIAA Track and Field Championship. He threw 14-9.75 in his effort. More on this story to come.
AAA Boys Pole Vault
In a stellar battle, the Top 8 Boys all jumped over 14-6.
Bradon Schneider (Erie) and Mason Bucks (Palmyra) both cleared 15-6 but were unable to pass 16. As a result - they competition was decided by attempts and Bradon Schneider was named the winner after having been flawless until that point.
Mason Bucks, just a junior, gave Schneider a round of applause after both of their last attempts, celebrating their collective excellence.
Breckin Swope, Andrew Brinker and Drake Risser all cleared 15-feet. They finished in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Jayden Packer, Nathan Lutz and Joe Ryan rounded out the podium finishers.