High School Sports

High school track and field: Fry, Karpenko lead State College girls to Class AAA West Central Coaches Invitational title

State College’s Veronika Karpenko won the triple jump with a leap of 38-10.5 during the West Central Coaches Invitational at Mansion Park on Friday.
State College’s Veronika Karpenko won the triple jump with a leap of 38-10.5 during the West Central Coaches Invitational at Mansion Park on Friday. CDT photo

For Megan Fry, it was a matter of flying higher and higher into the sky.

Veronika Karpenko flew farther and farther into the distance.

As a team, the margin of victory grew wider and wider.

The State College girls dominated the day at the West Central Coaches Invitational track and field meet on Friday night at Mansion Park.

The Lady Little Lions, who have had a virtual lock on the District 6 title, lapped the competition with 166.5 points. DuBois was a distant second at 66.

“We’re now hitting May and it’s time for championship season,” coach Jennifer Evans said. “We love running underneath the lights at Altoona. It always gets us ready to go and ready to roll.”

The Lady Little Lions captured the top spot in six events and had plenty of other high finishes in nearly every event to complete the dominance.

“We are balanced in all event areas,” Evans said. “We have some veteran leaders who are actually really young, leading in a lot of event areas, and we just have strength everywhere and the girls are so dedicated in their training.”

The State College boys finished second with 103 points, trailing champion Altoona’s 174.

Fry was a record-setter in the pole vault. First breaking the meet record of 12 feet, then her own school record of 12 feet, 3 inches, then eventually clearing 12-9, ticking the bar on her third and final attempt and watching it flutter at the top of the posts but staying in place.

“I was really hoping it would stay up there,” Fry said. “I’m really happy about that.”

She tried three more times at 13 feet — her goal by the time the PIAA meet rolls around — but missed. But just clearing 12-9 had her celebrating with a wide grin.

“I just need to stay focused and do what I need to do to jump high,” Fry said. “Staying focused is my main thing.”

Karpenko was a double winner, first covering 38-101/2 in the triple jump, just shy of her personal-best 39 feet.

“I wanted to break the record in the triple, but you can’t always get the P-R,” Karpenko said.

She was farther back from her best mark in the long jump, and couldn’t even surpass the 18-foot mark until the last of her six attempts.

“I’ve been progressing really well,” Karpenko said. “I think I’m well on my way to getting something big.”

State College also won two of the three girls’ relays. The 4x800 relay team of Natasha Fedkina, Julia Neely, Ellie Mhando and Larissa Burka raced to a winning time of 9:42.46. The 4x100 relay team of Emma Domico, Taylor Givens, Rachel Wylie and Haley Crawford grabbed first in 49.70.

Fedkina was the other champ, taking the 800 in 2:16.29.

On the boys’ side, Tristan Damon sprinted to the 100-meter dash title in 10.97 seconds, Alex Milligan turned in a winning time of 4:24.05 in the 1,600, Noah Woods circled the track one time faster than anyone, taking the 400 in 49.76, and Nick Feffer raced to the 800 win in 1:58.60.

Feffer entered the meet as the No. 3 seed, but had the lead seconds into the race and never gave it up, knocking a second off his best time.

“I felt like I always had a little bit more in the tank,” Feffer said. “I guess it just kind of came out today.”

He had run his previous best time at Shippensburg, site of the state championships later this month, and he’s primed for the team’s big meets on the horizon.

“I felt good coming into it, a little nervous because it’s one of the bigger (meets) of the year for us,” Feffer said. “I felt a little antsy, but I think the anticipation helped me run faster.”

Centre County had a strong presence in the girls’ 3,200-meter race. After Michelle Bauer of St. Marys won, the next three spots went to Sarah Almarzooqi and Cailin Saylor of State College and Bellefonte’s Anya Hoaglund. Hoaglund was the Red Raiders’ top finisher on the day with her time of 11:55.56.

Rachel Wylie was a double runner-up, following Maddy Muesseler in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, while Taylor Givens was second in both the 100 and 200. Givens added a tie for fourth in the high jump.

In other top finishes for the Lady Little Lions, Jordan Bair took third in the discus and shot put, Jordan Rohrbach was fourth in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles, Emma Domico took sixth in the 100, Courtney Poorman took fourth in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump, Adelyn Hardy took seventh in the 400, Kinsey Thompson was third in the pole vault, Ellie Strauss took fourth and Jackie Horner sixth in the javelin, and Horner also was seventh in the shot put.

The 1,600 relay team finished third with Rohrbach, Wylie, Wicks and Alyssa Valent.

On the boys’ side for State College, Eric Heatwole added a sixth in the 1,600, Josh Rickley took third in the 400, Tyler Smith grabbed third in the 300 hurdles with Kyle Chanley seventh, Bryan Quinn was sixth in the 800. In the 3,200, Matt Beyerle took second and Owen Wing was fifth, Ryan Matviichuk was sixth in the triple jump, Griffin Thompson and Lucas Gray were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the pole vault, and Andrew Miller was fourth and Erik Ebel seventh in the discus.

Altoona also raced to the win in the 4x100 relay, while injuries to a pair of Little Lion runners, including 100 champ Daman, kept them from competing in the event.

For Bellefonte, Hoaglund took sixth in the 1,600, and joined Samantha McCarthy, Jess Book and Madeline Durn for seventh in the 4x800 relay. Brooke Shirey added an eighth-place finish in the long jump, Aubrey Kuhn was eighth in the pole vault and Michael O’Donnell was eighth in the 800.