High School Sports

State College’s Nick Feffer looking to end career on high note at PIAA track championships

State College Nick Feffer competes in the 800 meter during the District 6 championships on May 18, 2017.
State College Nick Feffer competes in the 800 meter during the District 6 championships on May 18, 2017. gbrunskill@centredaily.com

Owen Wing can be excused for being a little frustrated over the years.

The State College senior has always been a pretty good distance runner but, in eighth grade, Little Lion junior high track coaches convinced Nick Feffer to change from sprinting to running the 800 meters. After that, “pretty good” often didn’t lead to first place anymore.

“He killed me in eighth grade, killed me in ninth, beat me in 10th grade and 11th — and he’s fast now,” Wing said.

Needless to say, Feffer’s got a bit of speed, and there are a lot of other runners around the state who also are tired of seeing Feffer’s back by the end of races.

They’ll all get one last chance to sprint past Feffer, as both he and Wing lead a sizable contingent of Centre County runners into the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium on Friday and Saturday. The meet begins at 9 a.m. both days.

For Feffer, the weekend brings an end to an impressive high school running career.

He has a fifth-place medal in the 800 from last year, a state title in the 3,200 relay, a third-place medal in that same relay when he was a sophomore and school records broken in that relay during each of the past two state championships.

When he’s not running, the senior leader encourages his teammates — some of whom have been running with him even longer than Wing — and, when he is on the track, he tends to make it all look easy.

“We see what he’s doing and we think, ‘Why can’t we do that too?’” said Joey Feffer, Nick’s younger brother and another member of the 3,200 relay team, along with Wing and Chris DiPerna. “He’s leading the workouts all the time.”

Feffer discovered even before reaching high school that he was a natural. Since he sprinted so much on the soccer pitch, his friends convinced him to give track a try. He initially wanted to become a pole vaulter, but the coach of that event persuaded him to also take a shot at the 800.

In his first meet, he competed in both — and beat all of his more established teammates in the 800, including Wing.

Feffer still felt nervous in those early races, but not anymore. Even while competing in huge stadiums with some of the nation’s top runners — in meets such as the Penn Relays and Millrose Games — Feffer said he no longer shies away from the spotlight.

“I haven’t gotten butterflies since I was a sophomore,” said Feffer, who is ranked 13th in the state, regardless of class, in the 800 at 1 minute, 54.50 seconds, according to MileSplit.com. Based only on district races around the state, he is seeded sixth.

“Competing in all those big races as a sophomore and junior made that all go away. I was really stressed out at Penn Relays the first time I was there. Those other races are icing on the cake. These (state championships) are the meets we value way more.”

The relaxed, competitive fire will be taking him places beyond this week as well. Feffer is set to enroll at Dartmouth and run for the Big Green.

This weekend, however, Feffer and his teammates have state medals on their minds.

“It’s going to be good,” Joey Feffer said. “It’s pretty much what our whole season since the beginning of November has been gearing toward. We just want to leave it all out on the track.”

Actually, Nick Feffer has been waiting since the end of last May to take one last shot at a state title, one he can claim all his own after taking part in relay and team championships last spring.

“I kind of marked it on my calendar to win the thing,” Feffer said. “It’s been in the back of my mind that I think I can do it if I have the right race.”

Follow Gordon Brunskill on Twitter with live updates throughout the meet: @GordonCDT

PIAA Qualifiers

Centre County competitors at the PIAA Track and Field Championships

May 26-27 at Shippensburg University

Class 2A Girls

Sera Mazza, St. Joe’s, 1,600

Isabella Culver, PV, 400

Rebecca Bierly, PV, 3,200

Penns Valley 1,600 relay

Class 2A Boys

Lance Hamilton, St. Joe’s, long jump, triple jump

Zach Decarmine, St. Joes, 300 hurdles

Michael Peters, St. Joe’s, 800

Dane Soltys, P-O, high jump

Class 3A Girls

Taylor Givens, SC, 100, triple jump, long jump

Zoe Wicks, SC, 400

Esther Seeland, SC, 800

Catherine Curtin, SC, 1,600

Emma Simon, SC, 3,200

Jordi Rohrbach, SC, 300 hurdles

SC 1,600 relay

SC 3,200 relay

Jordan Bair, SC, shot put, discus

Lyndsey Reed, SC pole vault

Lily Pluter, SC, pole vault

Class 3A Boys

Ben Oesterling, SC 400

Nick Feffer, SC, 800

Owen Wing, SC, 1,600

Mitchell Etter, SC, 3,200

SC 1,600 relay

SC 3,200 relay

Brandon Clark, SC, triple jump

Stanley Hamilton, SC, triple jump

Luke Knipe, SC, pole vault