2024 PIAA Championship Preview: Sprints and Hurdles

The PIAA State Championship is this weekend. What can we expect out of this year's final and who are the contenders in each event?

AA Girls 100m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Hayzes Robinson beats top seed Izzy Slezak in a close battle. 

Hayzes Robinson's(Avonworth) seed time of 12.05 comes more recent than Izzy Slezak's (Conemaugh Township Area) 12.04. Robinson ran her season-best mark to win the District 7 Championship, while Slezak's time was from a league meet just a few weeks ago. 

Robinson also has a faster overall personal best mark of 12.01 from 2023. 

It should also be noted that Slezak's time of 12.27 from the District 5 Meet was a solo effort in which she didn't need to run any faster to qualify for the state meet. The race between these two is going to be closely contested.

Hailey Jenkins (Catasauqua), Monroe Law (Winchester Thurston) and Tori Okorodudu (Masterman) aren't far off from the top seeds. 

AA Girls 200m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Viktorya Luckenbach will run 24.70 to defend her PIAA Title.

Viktorya Luckenbach (Pine Grove Area), the returning 200m dash champion, is the number one seed by over 0.2 seconds. She ran an impressive 24.62 personal best to win the District 11 Title last week, timing her peak for the championship portion of the season. Expect to see Luckenbach pacing the field this weekend.

Amirah Crabbe (West Catholic) and Tori Atkins (Laurel) are the only other girls to crack 25 seconds this season. Crabbe went 24.86 to win the District 12 Title. Atkins clocked a season-best of 24.87 in April and most recently won the District 7 Title in 24.89.

Izzy Slezak, Shaye Bailey (Freedom Area) and Monroe Law (Winchester Thurston) will also be in the mix.

AA Girls 400m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Tori Atkins dominates her way to victory with a 54.90 personal best.

Atkins will be in a league of her own as the top seed by over a second and a half. She ran an unbelievable 55.54 personal best to win the District 7 Championship just last week. Expect to see Atkins out with a vengeance after a runner-up finish in the 400m dash at last year's PIAA Championship. 

Savina Steele (Notre Dame Green Pond), Dashae Cochran (Winchester Thurston) and Raygan Lust (Warrior Run) are other runners who you can expect to see on the podium. 

AA Girls 100m Hurdles

Writer's Prediction: Freshman Abby Malesiewski will beat a slew of veterans to win the PIAA Title in 14.75.

Abby Malesiewski (North East) has remained under the radar for the most part this season. That is until she clocked 14.79 in the District 10 prelim and followed it up with a 14.83 in the final. If Malesiewski keeps this momentum going, we could see the rookie take down some of the state's top 2A hurdle talent. 

Chloe Diaz (Montrose) is the number two seed at 14.92. She is also the District 2 Champion, having won in 15.70. Diaz didn't need to go all out at the district meet, so it will be exciting to see her in full swing this weekend. 

Ella Corritore (Fort Leboeuf) and Amirah Crabbe have both cracked the 15-second mark this season, putting themselves in the conversation. Corritore was second to Malesiewski at the District 10 Championship with a 14.93. Crabbe won the District 12 Title in 14.94. 

We also need to mention Ava Rebuck (Central Columbia), last year's state runner-up. Rebuke has run 15.03 this season. 

AA Girls 300m Hurdles

Writer's Prediction: Camryn Pyle will win her second PIAA Title with a 44.45 PR. 

Camryn Pyle (Midd-West), just off a 44.50 at the District 4 meet, has the momentum to defend her state title. Although, it might not be as dominant as her win in 2023. 

Pyle is in for an epic battle with Savina Steele (Notre Dame Green Pond). Steele, the 300m hurdle champ out of District 11, clocked an impressive personal best of 44.64 this season. With these two athletes, we could see a pretty fast final unfold. 

Also, watch for Ellie Whippo (Mohawk) and Ava Rebuck.

AAA Girls 100m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Laila Campbell will run 11.70 to win a nail-biter for her fourth PIAA 100m Title.

You won't want to miss the 3A girls 100m dash. Get ready for a fast one between Laila Campbell (Spring Grove), going for her fourth straight title, and sophomore Amirah Nesmith (Cheltenham) as the top seed. 

Campbell, the second seed, is sharpening up just in time for her final state championship meet. Last weekend, she ran 11.89 in the District 3 prelim, followed by a 12.02 to win in the final. She won both races with ease. Campbell may not have the top time going into the PIAA Championship, but it should be noted that the six-time state champion has had an undefeated season in the 100m dash.

Nesmith ran a personal best of 11.84 to win the District 1 Title. She has had a strong start to 2024, with an impressive indoor season followed by three sub-12-second 100m dash races. She can potentially upset Campbell and shut down her fourth 100m dash title. 

AAA Girls 200m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Laila Campbell will win another close race in a season-best 24.20 to take home her fourth PIAA 200m Title.

Laila Campbell's season-best mark is 24.39, over a second off her personal best of 23.24. In a competitive state final, we can expect to see her run a significant season best to earn her fourth state gold in the event. 

However, there will be a deep field of athletes with their eyes set on Campbell. Faith Fuqua (Downingtown East) will be a strong contender. She ran 24.28 last weekend to win the District 1 Championship. Finishing just behind Fuqua was Janaisa Dearry (Chester) in 24.28.

Also from District 1 are Summer Mellow (Methacton), who's run 24.39, and Amirah Nesmith, who's run 24.52. 

AAA Girls 400m Dash

Writer's Prediction: Kaddel Howard dominates her way to second PIAA Title in 53.35.

There's no arguing that Kaddel Howard (Cedar Crest) is the 400m dash favorite. As the defending state champion and top seed at 53.63, the question isn't who will contest her for the win but how much will she win the race by? 

There should be an exciting battle for second place between the likes of Mimi Duffy (Central Bucks West), Janaisa  Dearry (Chester) and Julia Grant (Stroudsburg). All three runners' seed times are separated by 0.29 seconds, setting up for an exciting showdown.

AAA Girls 100m Hurdles

Writer's Prediction: Macaela Walker will defend her PIAA Title in 13.75.

Macaela Walker (Oxford Area), the defending state champion, is on fire after winning the District 1 Championship with a personal best of 13.88. The senior dominated her way to the state title last year in 13.94, and we expect to see her do the same this season.

Ella Bahn (Spring Grove) has established herself as a high hurdler this season after clocking 14.36 to win a District 3 title last weekend. Bahn is more than capable of contending in the 100m hurdles this weekend. 

Also, be on the lookout for Michelle Korsah (Cheltenham) and Aydriane Bowden (Kennett). 

AAA Girls 300m Hurdles

Writer's Prediction: Macaela Walker will bounce back to upset Ella Bahn for the PIAA Title in 42.25. 

Running the event for the first time in her career this year, Walker has proven she can also run the 300m hurdles at an elite level. She will enter the state championship as the top seed at 42.13, a personal best she ran to win a District 1 Title. 

It will take a considerable effort from the defending state champion and number two seed, Bahn. Bahn is seeded at her personal best time of 42.55 from last weekend's District 3 Championship. It could come down to Bahn running another huge PR if she wants to defend her gold. 

Aydriane Bowden and Maggie Scalzo (Easton Area) are two others to make note of.