High School Sports

Records fall, medals accumulate on Day 2 of PIAA track championships

By Gordon Brunskill

psheehan@centredaily.com

Medals were gobbled up and records fell at the PIAA Track and Field Championships on Saturday.

State College again proved to be one of the best at the 3,200-meter relays, with the boys taking second and the girls earning a stunning, come-from-behind third.

Owen Wing, a member of that relay team, added a seventh-place finish in the 1,600, and Jordan Bair was eighth in the discus.

Penns Valley’s Rebecca Bierly added a sixth-place finish in the 3,200. Her teammate, sophomore Isabella Culver, also picked up a medal with an eighth-place finish in the 400. Her time of 59.13 seconds broke her own school record set at the District 6 meet last week.

The Little Lion boys couldn’t quite match last year’s gold medal — the only 3,200-meter relay team of the four races that did not defend its title Saturday — but still raced to a 7:41.42 finish.

The time, based on rankings at the start of Saturday, ranks third in the U.S. Winner Central Bucks West is No. 1 in the country at 7:40.14.

“I got the baton right behind the CB West guy, which is exactly what I wanted,” anchor runner Nick Feffer said. “I tried to run off him. I knew he’s strong competition. I tried to go around him once or twice a little too early because I was feeling good, but I might have paid for it in the last 100.”

Joey Feffer, Chris DiPerna and Owen Wing also were part of the team, with Wing and Nick Feffer on last year’s title-winner. Wing returned to run the 1,600 in 4:14.68.

The Lady Little Lion win was even more stunning, since Esther Seeland, running the anchor leg, was still in ninth place with about 300 meters to go. Her closing kick over the final 100 meters gave the team a 9:14.06 finish.

“Adrenaline. Pure adrenaline,” Seeland said. “I knew my teammates were counting on me and we had a shot. I knew I had to pull through for them.”

She was joined by Sophie Bollinger, Elly Haushalter and Catherine Curtin.

Bair was a low seed but managed a strong throw of 125 feet, 4 inches in the discus to qualify for the finals and finish with an eighth-place medal — which will go along with Friday’s sixth-place medal in the shot put.

“I came in with the mental mindset to do my absolute best,” Bair said. “If my best gets me into finals, that’s great, if it doesn’t, then that’s how it is. There’s nothing more I could have possibly given today.”

Bierly finished her senior season sixth with a time of 11:02.41, which broke the school record by nearly eight seconds. The mark was previously held by Deanna Martz.

“It’s a good way to end the season and my senior year, so I’m happy,” said Bierly, who will be running and studying health and physical education at Lock Haven this fall. “I have the school record now. That was one of my other goals. I’m happy with my place, but I was also shooting for the record so I’m happy either way.”

Also, State College’s Emma Simon was 22nd in the 3,200 in 11:30.59 and Mitchell Etter was 15th in the 3,200 in 9:28.57.

For St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Sera Mazza was 11th in the 1,600 in 5:20 68, and Lance Hamilton also was 11th in the triple jump at 42-7  1/2.

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