ALTOONA — Centre County is turning out some pretty fast runners.
Actually, they are record-setting runners.
State College’s Alex Kenney and Chloe Schmidt each set meet records, as did the Lady Little Lion 4x400-meter relay team, at the 59th West Central Coaches Invitational on Friday night at Mansion Park to lead a pack of local winners.
Schmidt was one of several strong performances for the Lady Little Lions as they captured the Class AAA team title with 156.5 points, well ahead of Indian Valley’s 85.
State College also got 1-2 finishes from Olivia Kerr and Meghan Hart in the 300-meter hurdles, and 2-3 finishes from Lauren Kenney and Hannah Seeland in the shot put, while Christie Johnson was a double-winner in the high jump and 100 hurdles and the Lady Little Lion 4x800 relay team also picked up a win.
Christian Eck added a win in the 400 to Kenney’s victories in the 100 and 200 for State College, which had 107.3 points to trail Altoona’s 198.5, and Bald Eagle Area captured first in the 1,600 relay to round out the day’s top finishes.
The Eagles also finished second in the Class AA boys team standings with 67 points, just behind Chestnut Ridge’s 72.5.
“We didn’t hit the marks we were hoping to hit tonight,” said a disappointed BEA coach Jeff Jodon, who was aiming for the team crown. “Some things were looking good. We just have to get better for districts. That’s what we’ll focus on.”
Kenney shaved one-hundredth of a second off the old 100 record, turning in a winning time of 10.83 seconds. The time also set the school standard, breaking the mark of Ron Dickerson in 1989 of 10.84 (adjusted from a 10.6 hand-held time). Kenney then shattered the 200 meet record with a clocking of 21.64, busting the mark of Altoona’s Brenden Perretta of 21.97.
“I don’t have a favorite,” Kenney said. “Either one is fine.”
The old 100 meet record belonged to Altoona’s A.J. Alexander, a senior who was kicked off the Mountain Lion team two weeks ago for breaking team rules.
“It’s a bummer that A.J.’s not here to run,” Kenney said. “He’s ‘da bomb’ and everything. But I’m happy with my time.”
The Little Lions were not as fortunate in the 4x100 relay. They had a speedy time of 43.18, but Altoona outran the field in 42.37, a time that was announced at the meet as the best in Pennsylvania this spring.
“We all knew coming in Altoona was a powerhouse,” Kenney said. “It’s good to run against them because we haven’t been running the best times that we can run until we run against them. They dominated, but at least we gave them a good race.”
Kenney was not alone in the sprints. Teammate Phil Hartman finished fourth in the 100 while Bellefonte’s Brandyn Maddox was third and Kyle Lucas took seventh. In the 200, Gilly Motta of State College was fifth and Maddox took sixth, and the Red Raiders were right behind the Little Lions in third place in the 400 relay.Schmidt also had a fast turn around the track, posting a clocking of 57.34 seconds in the 400 meters, breaking the eight-year-old mark of 57.95.
“I knew what the record was before and I was trying to break it,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been doing a lot of good training and I got a good night’s sleep last night. I was well-rested and that’s it.”
Teammate Liz Regan added a fourth-place finish in the event.
The boys’ 400 also had a decided local flavor in the final results, with Eck leading the pack with a time of 50.45.
“It was really the first time I had used blocks in a meet so I was kind of shaky in how I was going to do with them,” Eck said. “But they helped me a lot and I got a (personal record) so I’m pretty happy.”
He was followed by Motta in second place, just under a second behind, and Bellefonte’s Greg Benscoter in fifth.Johnson earned her first-place finishes in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-foot-2, and the 100 hurdles in 16.22. Kerr was clocked in 47.14 in winning the 300 hurdles, right ahead of Hart’s 48.61. The 1,600 relay team rounded out the record-setting day with its win as Olivia Kerr, Schmidt, Regan and Izabel Scott turned in a time of 4:00.94.
Lauren Kenney won the shot put at 34-11 3/4, while Seeland was next at 33-9 1/2. The Lady Little Lions also got a second-place result from Kennney in the javelin.
In the 3,200, Tesia Chuderewicz was second and Lucia Sofo took third, and the 400 relay team also placed third. The Little Lion boys took third in the 3,200 and 1,600 relays, Andy Blunk was second in the 800 and Kyle Regan was third in the 1,600.
Bellefonte’s Ryan Singer added a second-place result in the 110 hurdles.
In Class AA, Penns Valley got school records in a pair of distance runs. Sarah Montminy was second in the 800 in 2:16.50, two seconds behind the meet record of Central Cambria’s Kelsey Seymour. Also, Matt Brooker was second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200, collapsing at the finish line after breaking his brother Jud’s school mark with a time of 9:41.23.
While BEA’s only win came in the 1,600 relay, the team also got a pair of runner-up results from Brock Bathurst in both the 200 and 400, while Tim Watson picked up a third in the shot put.
Penns Valley also got a third from Melanie Lutz in the pole vault and the Lady Rams and Philipsburg-Osceola were second and third, respectively, in the 400 relay.
P-O’s Dusty Golding missed out on victories, but he did pull off a surprise. He was seeded eighth in the 110-meter hurdles but raced all the way to second in 15.60 seconds, lopping 0.21 off his previous best time.
“That really didn’t affect me,” Golding said of his lower seeding. “I was a little nervous coming into the finals, but I just tried my best. A lot of my teammates were surprised.”
He also added a fourth-place finish in the discus as the Mounties’top male performer.
“Today it was really tough,” Golding said. “I had the hurdle finals, then I had to run over to shot put and throw a discus right after it.”
P-O also got a third in the high jump and a fourth in the long jump from Kaylee Adams.