Two medals landed around the necks of Centre County athletes during the morning session of the PIAA Track and Field Championships on Friday.
State College’s Jordan Bair took sixth in the shot put and the Little Lions’ Brandon Clark was seventh in the triple jump at Seth Grove Stadium.
Also, the Little Lions’ 3,200-meter relay teams advanced to the finals for both the boys and girls, and Sera Mazza of St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy and Owen Wing of State College made the finals of the 1,600-meter run.
Clark turned in a leap of 44 feet, 11 inches, but it was a disappointment for the junior.
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“I just had a bad day of jumping,” said Clark, who hit 46-6 at the District 6 meet. “I wish I did better.”
Clark, who also plays football and basketball, is already making plans to get back next season and grab a medal after finishing his first state meet appearance.
“I’m going to be in the weight room every single day and working out,” he said.
Bair was nearly two feet off her personal best with her top throw of 40-6, but she had a lower mark during preliminaries and was worried about even making the finals.
“I’m lucky I made it into finals,” Bair said. “My preliminary round was not so hot. I’m glad I got into finals and stepped up to the plate, and I got onto the podium.”
After missing a medal last season by less than an inch, however, the senior easily took the optimistic view.
“I have a medal around my neck,” said Bair, who will compete in the discus on Saturday. “That’s what I was looking for. I did the best I could do.”
Brothers Lance and Stanley Hamilton missed out on medals. Stanley, of State College, scratched on two tries in the triple jump and was only able to register a 42-6 1/2 mark. Lance was 18th at 20-6 3/4 in Class 2A for St. Joseph’s.
Among those who advanced in track preliminaries, the Lady Little Lions’ Sophie Bollinger, Catherine Curtin, Elly Haushalter and Esther Seeland turned in a time of 9 minutes, 25.29 seconds in the 3,200-meter relay. Their male counterparts, defending their state title, had a time of 7:51.67 for Joey Feffer, Chris DiPerna, Wing and Nick Feffer.
In the 1,600, Wing advanced with his time of 4:18.78, while in Class 2A Mazza was clocked in 5:17.56. Mazza’s time was two seconds better than her previous best, though she has been faster in a non-high school race.
“I think that was one of my best races of the season,” Mazza said. “I gave it my all the whole time. It felt like I couldn’t give any more.”
The sophomore had a little bit of a battle around the track with some sharp elbows from competitors.
“The more competitive you are, the more pushy you are,” she said. “This race was definitely the most pushy race I’ve ever had. I battled the elbows with one girl.”
Missing out on medals were State College pole vaulters Lyndsey Reed and Lily Plute, each of whom cleared 11-6 but missed their three tries at 12-0, which would have put them on the stand.
It was a long day for the vaulters, with a stiff breeze and a light rain that fell for a few minutes when Reed and Plute were attempting their 12-foot jumps.
“This is kind of what we’ve been dealing with all year, so it wasn’t a surprise, but I was hoping for better weather,” said Reed, who sat on the infield for nearly two hours before she finally had her first attempt. “If I keep a towel wrapped around the pole, it does some good things.”
Also, Curtin ran the 1,600 in 5:30.02 and didn’t advance to the finals.