Chase Longenecker got the chance to redeem himself a little Friday at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
After tripping not once but twice in his two hurdle races at the District 6 championships to miss the state meet in both events, Longenecker did get to run on the Seth Grove Stadium track in the 1,600-meter relay.
He joined Ben Oesterling, Joe Messner and Matt Russell for a turn of 3 minutes, 30.27 seconds in the relay, as they finished sixth in their heat and 23rd overall.
Last Thursday the sophomore — one of the top seeds in District 6 for both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles — tripped on the second and third hurdles of the 110, lost his balance and never recovered. Then, about an hour later, almost at the end of the 300 hurdles, he clipped a hurdle again, fell and took out Altoona’s Treyvaugn Toney in the process. Toney got to run the race again and qualify, but Longenecker could only watch in dismay.
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“Probably the most frustrating track experience I’ve had,” Longenecker said.
As his coaches reminded him, it was an obvious learning experience, but getting to race with his teammates Friday helped Longenecker feel a little better.
“Last meet of the season, I just want a really good time,” Longenecker said.
Denied on appeal
State College pole vaulting coach Joe Serra got in a good workout running around the infield, then outside the stadium, trying to appeal an official ruling.
Sophomore Luke Knipe missed his first attempt at 13 feet, 6 inches, but he and Serra thought something had interfered with his pole as he attempted to plant it in the box. Serra said he wanted to see between the pads, but was turned down. The same thing happened on Knipe’s second attempt, and Serra asked again, this time able to see that a bun — one of the pieces of padding — was in the cavity between the pads.
Since Knipe is left-handed, he brings in his pole in an opposite direction from the other competitors in the field and, according to Serra, was the only one affected by the issue. Serra fixed the pad and Knipe was able to smoothly plant his third attempt but missed. Serra went through several attempts at the appeal process but was turned down each time.
“The judges and meet referee determined that the equipment was set properly,” said Mark Byers, the chief operating officer for the PIAA who was part of the final jury of appeals. “There was nothing that ... (would) cause us to overturn the decision of the event judges and referee.”
After racing around, Serra understood it was tough to get the extra tries for Knipe.
“At the end of the day you have to fight for your kid,” Serra said. “You try to get he justice that he deserves.”
The stadium infield had its own production of Hamilton on Friday morning.
While State College’s Stanley Hamilton was competing on one side in the Class 3A triple jump, brother Lance was in the Class 2A long jump for St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy.
Both were trotting back and forth checking on each other on opposite sides of the track.
“It’s easy to get lost out here with all these people around,” Lance said. “It’s definitely good having someone here you know has your back.”
While both were supposed to stay in their own areas, each slipped out and saw at least one jump on the other side, since they were in different flights and not jumping simultaneously.
“I told my brother he has to be here for my last jump,” Stanley Hamilton said. “That’s when I’m going to jump my best.”
Stanley said he did have his best jump with Lance watching, but was over the board by a half-inch to scratch. Stanley’s best jump that counted was 42 feet, 6 1/2 inches.
Stanley also returned the favor a little later for Lance and passed along a few notes. That was comforting for Lance, so he didn’t have to ask another jumper he didn’t know.
“That’s always really risky because you don’t know who’s going to sabotage you for their own personal gain,” Lance Hamilton said. “It was nice having someone I knew give me advice and make me better.”
State College’s Taylor Givens was busy Friday, competing in the triple jump, 100-meter dash and 1,600 relay. It’s not an unusual scenario for the junior, and it was actually easier since the events were spread over the whole day instead of compressed over a couple hours.
“I feel great,” Givens said. “I was just happy to (compete in the triple jump). ... It was different because I’m used to running from one event to the next. I think it worked.”
A pair of future Penn State football players had some impressive performances Friday. Meadville senior running back Journey Brown, the defending state champion, had the fastest time in the 100-meter dash in 10.89 seconds.
Meanwhile, Camp Hill 6-foot-8 junior Zack Kuntz, a verbal commit as a Class of 2018 tight end, had the fastest time in the 110 hurdles in 14.76, won his heat in the 300 hurdles at 40.16 and took seventh in the high jump at 6-2.