High School Sports

Isabella Culver, Rebecca Bierly lead Penns Valley girls to top-5 finish

Penns Valley’s Isabella Culver in the 400 meter dash during the 68th Annual West Central Coaches Invitational on Friday, May 5, 2017 at Mansion Park.
Penns Valley’s Isabella Culver in the 400 meter dash during the 68th Annual West Central Coaches Invitational on Friday, May 5, 2017 at Mansion Park. adrey@centredaily.com

Penns Valley’s Isabella Culver wasn’t displeased with her performance at Friday night’s WCC Invitational — but she wished she was just a tad faster.

Culver was the winner of the Class 2A girls’ 200-meter dash, but it was the 400 meters — where she was the runner-up with a time of 59.33 seconds — that she just fell short of a record. She was 0.03 seconds away from setting a new school mark.

“It’s my goal every meet, and every meet I’m getting closer,” Culver said. “Hopefully, I can do it at districts with good competition.”

Culver’s Lady Rams finished fifth in a field of 30-plus teams at the Class 2A competition with 51 points. Penns Valley was the top local finisher in Class 2A girls. St. Joseph’s girls was the next local finisher with 12th place, and St. Joseph’s boys finished eighth to pace the county teams.

But it was Culver and the Penns Valley girls that might’ve shared most of the highlights.

Culver’s teammate, Rebecca Bierly, also had a memorable day as she recovered from a third-place finish in the 1,600-meter race to record the fastest time in the 3,200-meter race (11:24.70).

She was unfazed about running both long distances Friday night.

“I got the place I was hoping for,” Bierly said, referring to the 3,200. “I’m pretty happy with everything going into districts.”

Penns Valley boasted four other competitors placing in the top eight on the track: Marissa Stecko qualified for the finals in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, placing sixth and seventh respectively. Marcus Woodford placed seventh in the 110-meter hurdles, Chris Colwell finished sixth in the 1600-meters, and Jared Hurd finished eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy wasn’t far behind.

Both of St. Joseph’s 3,200-meter relays placed in the top four — with the girls placing third and the boys fourth. The quartet of Shannon Brawley, Sera Mazza, Lindsey Carmack and Addie Ebbs ran a time of 9:58.48. On the boys’ relay, Zach DeCarmine, Carter Koffman, Michael Peters, and Jacob Cusatis combined for a time of 8:32.37.

Mazza and Carmack would both race again following the relays in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Mazza had a strong finish to place second in the 1600-meter with a time of 5:24.84.

“I was glad to race with some good competition,” Mazza said. “I was hoping break 5:20 by this time of year, but hopefully I’ll start to peak at districts.”

On the boys’ side, one of the more exciting moments came during the 800-meter race, when Michael Peters made a move in the last 300 meters. Trailing by about 10 meters, Peters made a move and pushed for the lead down the final straightaway. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Peters lost the race by .06 seconds to Northern Bedford’s Cam Sherlock with a time of 2:00.45.

“As I slowly came down the final 100-meters I realized I was starting to catch him,” Peters said.

SJCA freshman Zach DeCarmine also had a pair of fifth-place finishes. And sophomore Lance Hamilton continued to impress, winning the triple jump with a mark of 42-7 and placing fifth in the long.

“I didn’t perform to the standards that I jumped last week,” Hamilton said, “but it definitely feels good to go out here and compete at such a young age.”

With a personal-best of 44-9, Hamilton is one of the best sophomore triple jumpers in the state and said he will look to improve his mental preparation to take the next step.

Philipsburg-Osceola’s Dane Soltys was the lone top-8 finisher for Mounties. Soltys jumped 5-8 to tie for sixth. The top female finisher for the Philipsburg-Osceola was Kristin Buttersworth, who was 13th in the shot put.

Mike Salvanish was the top boys’ finisher for Bald Eagle Area with a fourth-place finish in the shot put. BEA Junior Emma Thompson placed 14thh in the discus, as she was the highest placer for the Lady Eagles.