QUOTES FROM THE 2003 PIAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS,
MAY 23-24, 2004 @ SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY
AA Pole Vault Champion: Leandra Golden, 12 Hanover (11-00.00)
Was your win by a foot as easy as it looked? "I expected to win today, because of the way the seedings were, but I would have liked to get higher." (Her PR is 12-00).What's next? "This was it for the season. Now it's off to college." (She'll attend Clemson University).
AA Shot Put Champion: Justin Clickett, 12 Union City Area (64-05.75)
Broke PIAA AA Record of 64-00.75 set in 2001 by Jeremy Silverman, Annville-Cleona
Talk about the progression of your throws today, and this season. "My first throw was a 62, and that one felt pretty good. I've known for a long time that I've had a big one somewhere down there, and I've visualized about it all week, and it came out on my second throw. It felt great. My best prior to this was 61-08.75 two weeks ago at our county meet. I've been over 60' quite a few times." What's the difference between 60 and the throw today? "There's not a lot of difference. A couple of thing go right here and there." So how much of it went right on today's throw? "Probably almost all of it. Well, probably all of it… yeah. But I know I have more in me."
AAA Triple Jump Champion: Michael Whitehead, 12 Norristown Area (49-08.00# NWI)
With all those jumps over 49', talk about your expectations for today and what unfolded. "Actually, I sat at home, and the first thing I did was I prayed, and I banged my gospel music. And then I came out and I hear that Dante Marshall (Hickory, 2nd place-48-05.50), had gone 49', and I was like, I'm not losing. I'm not losing. I won outdoor last year. I won indoor two years in a row. I was not going to wait until my senior year and lose again. I came out here and I was motivated, and I did it! I'm blessed today." Was the 49-8 the jump that felt the best? "They all felt nice. One time I turned on my ankle (first jump of the finals), I didn't finish it right. But really, they all felt nice. Even the 47-footer felt nice. I'm just blessed today. I just had a good day. I never jumped that well before, but I'll take it." Did you feel any pressure? "Oh yeah… oh yeah… oh yeah… my coaches and everybody just put the pressure on me real quick, because everybody knew that Dante had gone 49', and he's a good competitor. He was there last year, right behind me, pushing me again this year." How did you handle the pressure? "I felt the pressure, but I didn't let it get to me so much because you don't want it to overwhelm you. So I didn't let it overwhelm me, but I definitely felt it. It was there. I honestly believe I got blessed today, because I've just never jumped that well. It wasn't even supposed to rain today, I heard, and it just started drizzling after I got done jumping. It didn't drizzle until after my last jump." Will you be competing at the adidas meet? "I'm going to try to, and if I go, it won't be just for fun."
AAA 4x800 Champion: Hatboro Horsham (9:10.52)
1) Megan Rae, 10
2) Janine Ricci, 12
3) Nicole Murphy, 11
4) Caitlin Klaas, 10
(Interview with Janine Ricci, team captain)
Was that race as close to perfect as possible? "That was exactly what we wanted to do. To stay in the race. Hang on with everything we had, just race Haverford. And we did that. We knew we matched up perfectly with them. And with Caitlin's ability, we wanted to keep her in the race, and we knew she would take off. That was a best for our relay, by a lot." You've been chasing them all year, did you really believe you could take them? "Yeah, we've been chasing them since indoor. We did believe. Matching times with our race yesterday (trials) we really thought we could come out here and do it, and we wanted to prove it to everyone. This is our last 4x800 together, such a memory." Was Klaas the difference this year? "She is. She was just as good, well not quite as good, but she was a standout freshman. We rely on her so much, she's just amazing. She loves the excitement, she loves the competition. And she's mentally as strong as anything."
AA 4x800 Champion: Lewisburg (7:55.20)
(Interview with Chris Spooner, anchor)
Was that race as close to perfect as possible? "We talked about it last night, about me getting it in first and staying there. We visualized it all last night, the coach went through the whole race. It went exactly how we wanted it to. It went perfect." Did you think you needed that much of a lead on (Springfield Monto's Mark) Korich? "Yeah, I knew I had to. What place did they get? (2nd) I knew that was going to happen. I knew I had to keep going hard. Keep my lead. And that's what happened."
AAA 4x800 Boys' Champion: Cumberland Valley (7:48.
(Interview with Brian Fuller, anchor)
That was tough competition with you at the end. What was your plan? "I knew that Mount Lebanon's and North Penn's anchor legs were strong, so my plan was to let them pass me on the first lap and then to hang with them, and then to outkick them. And I felt smooth the whole way." Did you know you had a better kick than they did? "That's what I usually do. I always outkick people." What was the race plan, and how close did you come to that? "We did exactly what we wanted to do. We were in good position the whole time. And our third leg was very fast, a 1:54. I don't know what I went, but I think it was fast." Was this as good as the team championship in 2002?"The team championship was pretty good, but our team doesn't have a chance this year, so this is the best we can get."
Head Coach, AAA 4x800 Champion Cumberland Valley Boys and 3rd place finisher Girls: Bill Bixler
So that was exactly the race you planned? "Planned? No, it was actually a little better than planned. The third place finish for the girls was great, and certainly winning the boys was a real thrill for us." What was the race strategy for the guys? "We thought we had four strong legs. We didn't think we had that one really, really fast leg, but Jon Fulginiti ran a 1:54.2 split for us, and that really helped. He was the third leg, and then (Brian) Fuller coming down that last straight-away and picking off those last two guys. Best of all, we don't lose anyone next year, it's three juniors and a freshman (Kevin Fuller) who ran 1:59, so that's exciting, too." How's this compare to winning the team championship last year? "It's always great when you can win a relay at States."
AA 3200 Champion: Lynn Morelli, 10 Saint Basil Academy (10:45.08)
What was the race plan, and how close did you come to executing it? "I was supposed to go with 800 left. but I started to pick it up coming down the straight with about 900 to go. They came with me, but my coach told me to stay relaxed and get into a rhythm and just to keep going. I was just going to run my race, and if it all worked out, great. It's a PR and only the 2nd time I've been under 11 minutes in my life."
AA 3200 Champion: Chris Spooner, 11 Lewisburg (9:13.93)
(Spooner anchored the AA champ 4x800 Lewisburg team earlier in the morning and still had the 1600 final schedule for the afternoon)
Are you tired yet? "Yeah, a little bit. I ran about 1:53-1:54 for my split this morning."Where did you find the strength for this? "I've been running four events each meet this whole year, so it's all been working towards the state meet and doing three events. Things are working out so far, so I can't complain." It looked like it went out quick. Did that work with your plan? "That was my strategy, to go out fast and to show them that I can keep my pace up. But they passed me, so it helped to draft off them for a little bit. I was comfortable behind them. I knew I had a pretty good kick because of all the 800's I've run. I just relied on that, and it worked out." Were you thinking about having a Foot Locker finalist in the race (Jon Pastore)? "I was thinking about that. I knew he went to nationals, and he was the second seed, and that he has great endurance. But I knew I had a little more speed."
AAA 3200 Champion: Ian Fitzgerald, 11 North Hills (9:13.81)
Is that the way you drew it up? "Yeah, it was. I was hoping for a faster time, but I'll take it. I was going for the win, and it all depended on how they took it out, because I wanted to go with 600 meters to go, and I did that. But we went out pretty slow, but I had run a 64 second first lap at Penn Relays, so I was feeling pretty good." But you knew (Eric) Fleming had a kick... "Yeah, I knew he was a 1600 runner, so I wanted to make sure I went early so I didn't have to worry about him." What about the rest of the season? "I got invited to the adidas meet, so I'll have to decide. And if I go, I'll have to decide what I'm going to race. I'll talk to my coach and we'll think about it." Does the success you had this season (with state-leading 1600 & 3200 times) raise your expectations for next year? "Yeah it does. I knew I was in pretty good shape, but I didn't know about everyone else. But this is more than I expected this year, because it's hard to tell how everyone out east is training, but as the season went on I felt a little more confident." And your feelings about getting Sam Bair's WPIAL 1600 record? "I didn't even expect to do that. I just came through and I saw the clock at 4:09 when I looked up and I managed to get in under 4:12 (4:11.97 broke Bair's 4:12.45). My coach thought I could do a 4:12."
AA 1600 Champion: Ashleigh Wetzel, 12 Lewisburg (4:55.12)
Two days in a row, you've smiled at the camera during your race. Is that a part of your race now? "I knew how I felt. I felt awesome. And it just feels great to be winning. I guess I was just happy." You kept looking back during your race, even with the big lead. Were you worried? "I wasn't worried so much as I wanted no doubt in my mind. I just wanted to know." Does this meet your goal for your high school career? "Yes, this is what I wanted. It's everything I wanted since my freshman year. Just to win gold." And now you're off to Vanderbilt with the Huss twins... "We're all excited. We're going to train together during the summer. It's gonna be fun."
AAA Javelin Champion: Thomas Jordan, 12 Cedar Crest (US#1 224-02 | Broke Ryan Sherwood's 222-10
What was the best part of the winning throw? "Probably hearing the crowd. That was definitely the best." Was being tied for US#1 after last week motivation for this week?Yes, it definitely was. And I think the record here was a little motivation too, because I was right there and I was shooting for it." Talk about your throws today. "My first throw I put everything I had into it and fouled. That would have been the big one. They said it was around 230, maybe a little over. But in my second one I tried to come back and I put all I had into it, and it felt great. The throw felt great, except for the landing. I scraped my knees a little bit. It felt great, though." What's your post-season schedule?I'm going to the Golden West with Brad (Zimmerman-2nd place). And I'm thinking about Junior Nationals the weekend after."
AAA 800 Runner-Up & anchor for State Champion 4x800: Caitlin Klaas, 10 Hatboro-Horsham (2:10.69)
An incredible day, coming from 40 meters back to win the 4x800 and then getting 2nd in a very fast 800. "Yeah, i went 2:10 in the open and got a split of 2:10 in the 4x800, and my best time before those was a 2:13." What's been the difference over the last couple of weeks? "We knew we had a shot at it, but coming in, we were so confident. Everyone did their part. I think everyone got a PR." What has the senior leadership of Janine (Ricci) meant this year? "She's the captain, and she always pumps us up. She gets us in the right frame of mind."
AAA 400 (55.50) & 300 Hurdles (42.64) Champion | Anchor 4x400 Champ (3:49.59) | 200 Runner-Up (24.93): Tiffany Abney, 12 Merion Mercy
You've been dealing with a hamstring pull for most of this season. How'd it happen?"I first hurt it indoor at the Colgate Women's Games (in New York). I got sick, went on antibiotics, and didn't practice for a week or so. For some reason, I decided I wanted to finish running Colgate, so I went to practice. I hadn't been eating or drinking a lot, so I ended up straining it." How did it feel during today's races? "It was kind of pulling a little bit. I wasn't trying to push it too hard. I really didn't want to pull my muscle. especially going into college." Did you ever imagine a high school career as successful as this? "I was not expecting all this, no." Did the pressure change from year to year? "It didn't change much for me. Of course, I knew everybody was looking at me now. I guess I shocked a lot of people my freshman year. But when I came back my sophomore year, I guess people were looking at me to see what I was going to do. But that didn't get me down too much, or make me too nervous." What do you do with all the hardware you've won? I have a place in my house where I keep all my tropies. It's a lot of stuff." Did the fact that your college coach to be is from the Philadelphia area have any bearing on your choice of Houston (Leroy Burrell, Penn Wood)? "It's cool that he's from around here, but I think he's an excellent coach. He's got a good program, and they're starting to come up a lot. Next year I hope we do very well."