Top Girl Returners Who Didn't Compete Indoors


With other sports going on in the winter and discus/javelin athletes not being able to throw their disciplines indoors, the outdoor season brings a range of new competitors to the world of athletics. Here are some of PA's top returning track and field athletes who didn't compete indoors.

Top Returners Who Didn't Compete Indoors:

Ella Bahn (Spring Grove), the 2023 3A 300m hurdle state champion, will be back in action this outdoor season.

Bahn won her hurdle title last year in an impressive 42.62 personal best. She then demonstrated her range by winning the USATF Mid-Atlantic Junior Olympic T&F Championship 400m hurdle race in 1:02.37 last June. We can expect her to continue dominating PA's long hurdle scene as the top-ranked returner this outdoor season. 

The high jump is where things start getting interesting for Bahn. She was 5th at last year's state championship meet, clearing 5-4. However, a month later, at an AAU qualifier meet, she cleared a ridiculous personal best mark of 5-9, a height that would have won the state meet by two inches. Bahn's 5-9 mark makes her the top returning high jumper in the state based on PR, but there's a long list of elite 3A competitors in the conversation. 

Niya Jeffers (Chester), the returning outdoor state champion, Sydney Jones (Haverford Township), the returning outdoor runner-up, and Katie Becker (Warwick), the returning outdoor bronze medalist, are just the beginning of the deep 3A high jump field Bahn will face off with this year. 

Don't be surprised if Bahn mixes things up in other events this season. She sports some solid distance personal bests, such as a 2:16.52 800m, a 5:27.62 1600m, and an 18:59.90 cross country 5k. 

Blue Mountain's Rosalind Gergely is the top returning javelin thrower in the state. 

Last year, she won the 3A state title with a throw of 150-8. This was Gregely's first time getting over the 150-foot mark, but it wouldn't be her last. She went on to win the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championship Javelin title with an impressive personal best throw of 155-1.

Gergely is also well-versed in other disciplines. She finished 12th in the 3A shot put competition at last year's state meet and has a solid personal best of 38-11. 

In 2024, we can expect to see Gergly defend her javelin state title and continue to climb the ranks as one of the nation's best. Don't be surprised if she also makes the podium in the shot put at the state meet. 

When discussing the state's top throwers who didn't compete indoors, we must mention Sasha Garnett (Richland).

Garnett won the 2A shot put title and finished second in the discus. She threw a monster personal best of 45-05.75 to beat Homer Center's Justley Sharp by 10.5 inches. She also threw a personal best mark of 126-7 to secure her silver medal in the discus. 

Garnett's gold medal mark makes her the top-returning girl shot put athlete in the state. She will likely defend her title. Garnett is also the top-returning 2A discus thrower, securing her name in the conversation as a potential for the state title in 2024. 

Hope Haring (Eden Christian) and Addie Cohen (Wyomissing Area) are two 2A distance runners to watch. 

Haring was the 800m state runner-up with a personal best mark of 2:15.25. In an impressive double at the state meet, she clocked 5:05.00, another personal best, to place fourth in the 1600m. It should also be noted that Haring went on to place fifth at the 1A cross-country state championship in the fall. 

As for Cohen, she was last year's 1600m runner-up with a personal best mark of 5:00.51. She also doubled at the state meet, finishing third in the 3200m with a time of 10:52.04. 

What are some predictions for these two distance runners in 2024? 

Both girls have the potential to win the 1600m state title as the top two 2A returners in the event. It will also be no surprise if Cohen and Haring break five minutes this outdoor season. We could also see big performances in their other events as well.

We anticipate another close showdown between Haring and defending two-time 800m state champion Kate Moncavage (Southern Columbia). Moncavage beat Haring in 2023 by just under one second. With another year of training for Haring, we could see a very exciting rematch.

Meanwhile, in the 3200m, Cohen is the early favorite for this year's 2A title as the top returner in the event. However, it won't be a walk in the park for Cohen with other returning medalists like Grace Neubert (Elk County Catholic), Chelsea Hartman (Shady Side Academy), and Gracelyn Laudermilch (Northeast Bradford) in the mix. 

Other Standouts Who Didn't Compete Indoors:

In the sprints department, be on the lookout for Monroe Law (Franklin Regional), Kaila O'Connor (Jim Thorpe Area), Jordynn Carter (Carlynton), Izzy Slezak (Conemaugh Township Area), and Mylee Harmon (Redbank Valley).

Ondrea Young (Sharon), Samantha Papcunik (Forest Hills), and Victoria Angelo (Pennridge) are hurdlers to have on your radar.

Moving to the field, Emma Snyder (Palmerton Area), Julia Rosenberger (Berks Catholic), DaShe Cochran (Palmerton Area), and Grace Bresnan (Reynolds) are standout jumpers. 

As for throwers, Margaret Bila (Lancaster Catholic), Maria Clark (Mechanicsburg Area), Karlee Buterbaugh (Knoch), Julia Pinter (Bangor Area), Madison Zalewski (Abington Heights), and Eris Pil (Winchester Thurston) will all be back in action.