The State College track and field team’s season was one of the highlights of 2016 in Centre County, ranking fourth on the top 10 sports stories of the year voted on by the CDT sports staff.
4. State College triumphs in PIAA track
The State College boys’ track and field team knew it was a contender for a state title before the PIAA Championships began, with talent across nearly every discipline. The Little Lions needed every point they could scratch out, totaling 54 points to edge Downingtown West’s 53.
The team got gold-medal performances from Griffin Thompson in the pole vault, Alex Milligan in the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 relay team of Milligan, Anthony Degleris, Nick Feffer and Owen Wing. The latter foursome broke the school record and posted, at the time, the No. 1 clocking in the nation. Only two schools have since run a faster time this year.
They also picked up medals from Kellin Valentine in the long (sixth) and triple (seventh) jumps, Tristan Daman (fourth) in the 100, and Feffer (fourth) and Degleris (eighth) in the 800.
“This is track and field, “ said Steve Shisler, who guided the program to its second state crown in its history in his first year as head coach. “We were able to do it sprints, middle distance, 1,600, long jump, triple jump, pole vault — the guys believed in it and made it happen.”
Their female counterparts also did well, finishing second as a team. They got a pair of second-place finishes from Veronika Karpenko in the long and triple jumps, Rachel Wylie was fourth in the 300 hurdles, Natasha Fedkina took sixth in the 1,600, Haley Crawford was sixth in the 200, Taylor Givens was seventh in the long jump and Givens, Crawford, Wylie and Zoe Wicks combined to take sixth in the 400 relay.
As a school, State College captured 16 medals at the state championships.
Karpenko and Thompson also had major victories earlier in the spring, winning triple jump and pole vault titles, respectively, at the Penn Relays.