AA GIRLS PREVIEW
By Cory Mull
Noticeably absent from the 100, 200 and 4x100 meter relays this year will be nine-time AA state champion Shanae Bailey of Swenson. Bailey had a nagging injury that prevented her from participating in the PIAA District 12 Championships. She had won gold in all three of those events since her freshman year in 2007.
PA#1 and Carver Engineering & Sciences Cierra White enters as the favorite in the 100 meter dash with her 11.88, which is only a tenth of a second slower than the PIAA Class record of 11.78 that was set in 2001. 2009 bronze medalist Paige Moody of Clairton (12.28) then follows in a crowded field. Jada Steward of West Philadelphia Catholic (12.29) is the third seed, Karli Balmer of Christopher Dock (12.32) is fourth, Julia Koloski of Montrose (12.38) is fifth and Joyee Wright of Swenson Arts & Technology (12.45) is sixth.
Country Day’s Ryanne Baldwin enters as the No. 1 seed in the 100 meter hurdles with a 15.10. But Tabitha Bemis of Quaker Valley, third in 2009 and one of three returning medalists, is right behind with a 15.14h. In all, the battle to reach the finals could be an interesting one since no time is significantly better than any other. Vanessa Rimbley of Lehighton (15.42) is the third seed, Margaret O’Keefe of Northern Schuylkill (15.47) is fourth, Sarah Hunter of Hughesville (15.49) is fifth and Hannah Jones of Lewisburg (15.50) is fifth.
PA#1 Cierra White of Engineering & Sciences has the opportunity to grab a double if she meets expectations in the 200 meter dash, where she is ranked No. 1 with a 24.26. Standing in her way are, though, are three West Philadelphia Catholic sprinters: PA#4 Chante Moore is the second seed (24.85), PA#12 Michelle Davis (24.95) is the third and PA#10 Jada Steward (25.41) is the fifth.
Ryanne Baldwin of Country Day (2nd seed in 2010) and Janice Erbe of Delone Catholic (5th seed) are the only returning medalists in the 300 meter hurdles. Swenson's Mariame Conde (44.61) and North Schuylkill's Kaitlyn McSurdy (45.78) enter with the top times in the state this season. Erbe was fourth in 2009 and Baldwin was fifth. Rachel Haupt of Montoursville (3rd seed) and Nikki Black of Northwest (46.04) are within striking distance.
Out in front in the 400 meter dash are two West Philadelphia Catholic teammates in PA#2 Chante Moore (1st seed with 55.97) and PA#3 Michelle Davis (2nd with 56.49). The race to the finals will include PA#6 Alyssa Lombardo of Saucon Valley (3rd), Imani Harris-Quillen of Swenson Arts & Technology (4th), Shanae Gee of Swenson A&T and Alexa Sarsfield of Springdale (6th).
Two-time defending state champion and PA#9 Kalyn Fisher of Lewisburg (2:15.95) has the chance to claim her third title in as many years in the 800 meter run, but standing in her way is No. 1 seed and PA#1 Angel Piccirillo of Homer Center, whose state-leading 2:11.19 is ahead of the pack. No doubt an interesting race could be in the cards. South Park’s Haley Pisarcik (2:17.46) enters as the third seed while Rebecca Atkins of Moravian Academy (2:18.74) and McKenna Spence of Cranberry (2:18.96) follow in fourth and fifth, respectively. But PA#2 AA Kelsey Seymour has run 2:13.45, and has raced Piccirillo all season.
Angel Piccirillo of Homer Center has the chance for a dream haul if she can capture the 1,600 meter run, where she’s ranked No. 1 and is PA#2 with a 4:53.11. But PA# 3 and Central Cambria’s Kelsey Seymour (4:56.50), last year’s state champion, could be the biggest competition standing in her way. Kandy Weisner of Elk County Catholic (5:05.15) is the third seed, but has run 5:01.48, Katrina Woods of Mount Union (5:08.87) is the fourth and Nicole Hilton of South Fayette (5:09.12) is the fifth.
Emily Gianotti of Coudersport, PA#6, is the only one of two runners below the 11-minute mark in the 3,200 meter run. She enters just a second better than the next best seed with her 10:52.13. South Fayette’s Nicole Hilton (10:53.85) enters as the two seed. Central Cambria’s Kendall Seymour is ranked fifth with her 11:22.50. Within striking distance is junior Leah Anne Wirfel of Forest Hills, who has posted an 11:07.41.
The top four seeds in the 4x100 meter relay are all from District 12, so a reunion of sorts could occur when West Philadelphia Catholic (1st seed), Carver Engineering & Sciences (2nd seed), Paul Robeson (3rd seed) and last year’s (and 2008 and 2007) champion Swenson Arts & Technology (fourth seed) look to qualify for the finals on Saturday. PA#1 West Catholic ran 47.41 at the Penn Relays this season. Lewisburg and Montrose are also below 50 seconds on the year and might want to crash a potential frontrunning District 12 party.
No. 1 seed and PA#1 West Philadelphia Catholic (1st seed) goes into the 4x400 meter relay with the top seed, though PA#8 and fourth seed Swenson Arts & Technology and PA#5 Academy of Notre Dame might be a hair away in the bigger picture. Second seeded Lewisburg (3:58.56) took a bronze medal in 2009 and earned the two seed. Wellsboro enters as the third seed.
A six-second difference might seem small, but it could be a giant gap in the 4x800 meter relay if Saucon Valley holds to expectations as the No. 1 seed (9:26.53). They’ve made up 20 seconds from their 10th place finish in 2009. South Park will have to make up ground at No. 2 (9:32.27), while Bethlehem Catholic (9:34.31) could look to latch on to someone’s shadow. Central Cambria has potential at No. 4 (9:34.81), Christopher Dock could look to move up at No. 5 and Lewisburg, who has a 9:30.87 on record, is sneaking by at No. 6. The best two anchors in the race will be Lewisburg's Kalyn Fisher and Central Cambria's Kelsey Seymour, both top seeds in the open 800.
Emily Woods of Hickory, PA#2 with a throw of 140-11, enters the discus as the top seed. She’s been a runner-up for two straight years, but perhaps this is the year things change. She enters as the favorite over second seed Megan Dornish of Elk County Catholic (PA#8). Aubree Ray of Middletown (3rd seed in 2010 and 3rd in 2009) owns the fourth-best throw in Pennsylvania with a heave of 135-11. Ashley Ward of EL Meyers (4th) and Jenna Wargo of Lewisburg (5th) could contend if they hit personal bests. Don‘t forget Taylor Woods of Hickory (6th) either, Emily’s younger sister, who might make a go of the title too.
Elk County Catholic’s and PA#1 Megan Dornish sports the top seed in the shot put. She took bronze in 2009, but looks likely for an upgrade in 2010 with a recorded throw of 45-1 ½ this season. PA#4 Emily Woods of Hickory, seventh in 2009, is within an earshot with her 42-03, though, and can make a statement with a win. Fellow Hickory teammate Symone Somerset is the third seed with a 40-09 ¾. Kalene Anderson of Pine Grove (4th seed in 2010 and 8th in 2009), Aubree Ray of Middletown (5th seed) and Ashley Rolick of Kane Area, fourth in 2009, are in contention.
Be ready for some fireworks in the javelin. PA#2 and Tamaqua’s Allison Updike, seventh in 2009, enters as the top seed with her 157-11. But just a few positions down in fourth place is PA#5 and Lakeview’s Fawn Miller, who cannoned a 2008 PIAA Class AA record 167-02 in the event as a sophomore that year to win state gold. She repeated gold last year, as well (151-09). PA#4 Kaitchen Dearborn of Blue Ridge comes in as the No. 2 seed and PA#6 and third seed Jenna Wargo of Lewisburg, last year’s fourth-place, has a 147-03 on record. 2009 bronze medalist Meghan Morton of Saint Pius X reenters as the No. 5 seed this time around.
Reynolds product and PA#4 Kara Mostoller, 2008’s state long jump champion, is back after an absentee 2009 and claims the top seed. Her 18-08 is a slight favorite over PA#6 Shali Muhammad of Paul Robeson, who leapt 18-06 ¼ and was 18th in 2009. Returning medalists Janae Dunchack of Northern Cambria (7th) and Harlee Staller of Annville-Cleona (8th) are also back. Plus, Lehighton’s Vanessa Rimbley (10th in 2009) has an outside shot with her sixth seed and 17-11 ¾.
In the high jump, its PA#1 and Northern Cambria’s Janae Dunchack’s event to lose. If her 5-08 holds up, she’ll become a repeat champion. But she’ll first have to stave off competition from PA#2 Regan Rogers of Wellsboro, who comes in with a burgeoning 5-07. EL Meyer’s and PA#3 Ashley Ward (3rd), Lehighton’s Vanessa Rimbley (4th), Northern Cambria’s Breanna Kochinsky (5th) and Huntingdon’s Bethany Ledford (6th) will look to contend.
Julia Koloski of Montrose (PA#4), last year’s runner-up, has an eight inch edge on the next closest competitor in the triple jump, so perhaps her 38-08 ½ will hold up against South Park and PA#7 Cassie Raymond‘s 38-0. Iyisha Weaver of Paul Robeson (3rd in 2009) could butt into the conversation, though, as might Tabitha Bemis of Quaker Valley (3rd) and Meghan Riley of Reading Central Catholic (5th).
Returning champion Georgia Williams of Bermudian Springs is on the outside looking in with a 12 seed entering the pole vault. But PA#3 Allison Vanek of Wilson Area, last year’s state runner-up and the 2010 Penn Relays Carnival champion, is right where she needs to be at 12-5. If she hits her career best, she would break the 10-year old state record of 12-3 set by Kim Stuyvesant of Fairview. Second seed and US#9 Elise Buffinton is ranked second at 11-9. State medalists Kelly Vann (T-3rd) of Conemaugh Township and Vanessa Munley (T-3rd) of Riverside (2) also return.