High School Sports

Philipsburg-Osceola 3,200 relay team ready for PIAA Championships

adrey@centredaily.com

In 2014, the Philipsburg-Osceola 3,200-meter relay team finished 19th out of 24 schools in the District 6 Class AA Championships. The Mounties’ time of 9:28.46 was a far cry from those at the top of the district.

Last year, they decided that their times just weren’t fast enough to warrant running the event at the district meet.

At this year’s district championships, the Mounties team of Kyle Albert, Michael Shimmel, Matthew Shimmel and Nick Patrick finished third to automatically qualify for the PIAA Class AA Championships. On Friday at Shippensburg University, the group will become the first-ever male P-O relay team to run in the state championships at Shippensburg University.

“I knew coming into the season that they would be competitive,” said first-year assistant coach Megan Dates. “Other coaches would say that, ‘Hey, that 4x8 team is something to keep your eye on.’”

P-O’s relay team finished in a school-record time of 8:28.11 at the district meet. Albert, Patrick, Michael Shimmel and Matthew Shimmel will be the first Mounties to compete at the state meet since Tiffany Bertothy (javelin) and Tim Eason (800) in 2013.

The team had its first big breakthrough of the season at the Mountain League Championship meet, dropping 19 seconds off of its season-best to win the event and break the school record with a time of 8:35.

From there, the team continued to improve.

“They broke their school record and then just kept breaking it,” Dates said.

At the West Central Coaches Invitational, the Mounties relay team dropped another five seconds for a second-place finish.

Going into the district meet, the P-O relay team was seeded second.

Albert led off the relay that day as he has all season.

“I got out hard and whenever we handed off the baton, we had a pretty good gap on third,” Albert said, “so I think my leg went probably as good as it could have gone.”

With a smooth handoff, Michael Shimmel took over.

“I’ve been doing relays for at least three years now, so I’ve had a lot of practice with handoffs,” Michael said. “And Kyle and I have worked at it together and have gotten pretty good at it.”

Michael finished his leg and gave the baton to his younger brother and the relay team’s only non-senior, freshman Matthew Shimmel.

“When I’m running, I don’t really have any emotions,” Matthew said. “I just wanted to finish and make I sure I got us into a good position that we could make it to states in.”

When Matthew handed off to Patrick, the team was in third, and all Patrick had to do was keep up the pace.

Patrick is motivated by running the final leg.

“It’s more exciting than, I think, any other leg,” he said. “It makes you push yourself more, considering you’re the last man.”

Patrick finished the team’s impressive race to take third and record a school-record time of 8:28.11, almost four seconds faster than fourth-place Southern Huntingdon.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy won the event in 8:20.32. Purchase Line was second in 8:26.69.

“I was ecstatic,” Michael said. “This will be my first time going to states. I’m a senior and I’m with a great group of guys.”

His teammates all echoed the sentiment.

With their district time, they are the the 25th seed out of 27 schools.

The low seed doesn’t bother Albert.

“There’s not too many high expectations for us,” he said. “I’m actually less nervous for states than I was for districts.”

It will be the final meet for the senior-laden team.

“The biggest thing I’ll miss is probably just the team itself,” Albert said. “The social aspect is my favorite part, meeting new people and making new friends.”

Michael will also be racing with his brother for the last time.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my season here, running with him has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s made so many great memories for me.”

“It was a lot of fun,” Matthew said. “I always had him pushing me and cheering me on, so it was nice to have that.”

The team has also formed a family-like bond.

“We’ve all become really close,” Albert said. “We started off the season as friends but then through the success and experience, we all have gotten way closer.”

PIAA Track & Field Competitors

Class AA Boys

▪ St. Joe’s 4x800 relay

▪ P-O 4x800 relay

▪ Eli Urban, St. Joe’s, 3,200

▪ Payton Moore, P-O, 300 hurdles

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

Class AA Girls

▪ St. Joe’s 4x800 relay

▪ Sera Mazza, St. Joe’s, 1,600

▪ Lucia Person, St. Joe’s, 3,200

▪ Destiny Andrus, PV, 100, 200

▪ Penns Valley 4x100 relay

▪ Isabella Culver, PV, 400

Class AAA Boys

▪ State College 4x800 relay

▪ State College 4x400 relay

▪ Tristan Daman, SC, 100

▪ Noah Woods, SC, 400

▪ Noah Oesterling, SC, 400

▪ Anthony Degleris, SC, 800

▪ Nick Feffer, SC, 800

▪ Alex Milligan, SC, 1,600

▪ Kellin Valentine, SC, high jump, long jump, triple jump

▪ Erik Ebel, SC, shot put, discus, javelin

▪ Griffin Thompson, SC, pole vault

▪ Lucas Gray, SC, pole vault

Class AAA Girls

▪ State College 4x800 relay

▪ State College 4x400 relay

▪ State College 4x100 relay

▪ Rachel Wylie, SC, 300 hurdles

▪ Jordan Rohrbach, SC, 300 hurdles

▪ Taylor Givens, SC 100, long jump

▪ Hayley Crawford, SC, 200

▪ Natasha Fedkina, SC, 1,600

▪ Sarah Almarzooqi, SC, 3,200

▪ Jordan Bair, SC, shot put, discus

▪ Jackie Horner, SC, javelin

▪ Veronika Karpenko, SC, long jump, triple jump

▪ Kinsey Thompson, SC, pole vault

▪ Lyndsey Reed, SC, pole vault

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