SHIPPENSBURG — Greencastle-Antrim junior Taryn Parks apparently saves her best for last.
In this case, the PIAA Track & Field Championships.
Parks made history Saturday afternoon at Shippensburg University when she captured the Class 3A girls 1600 race. It was her third straight gold medal in the event.
But the history part was the time — 4:37.07.
That shattered the longest-standing PIAA record in the books, 4:41.08 set in 1981 by U.S. Olympian Kim Gallagher.
Parks also bested her rival, Marlee Starliper of Northern York. Starliper, the defending champion in the PIAA 3200, passed up that event to take on Parks in the 1600. And Parks, who would have been the favorite in the 800, also raced in only the 1600.
In the District 3 1600 last week, Starliper took off from the start and slowly expanded her lead to win easily over Parks. After that race, Parks said that from week to week in the postseason, strategy changes are sometimes needed.
She made a change, and it worked to a “T.”
Saturday, Parks took the lead from the get-go and never gave it up. Starliper was always in touch, and early in the final lap she made her move, closing in to be nipping at Parks’ heels.
After Parks pulled ahead again by several strides, Starliper came at her again at the top of the stretch. But Parks had enough in the tank to gradually build a lead big enough to hold Starliper off at the finish.
Parks crossed the line first in the best time in the nation this year (4:37.07) and Starliper was second, and her time of 4:37.45 also crushed Gallagher’s record. Starliper and Parks came in ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in the event, and now they’ve switched positions.
Chambersburg junior Tyeshawn Worrell had a busy — and rewarding — day at Shippensburg and he helped the Trojans place 11th in the team standings with 15 points.
Worrell placed fourth in the 3A boys 100 in 10.98, anchored the 4 x 100 relay that placed seventh in 42.73, and anchored the 4 x 400 team that took fifth in a school record time of 3:18.68. He also ran in a 100 semifinal in the morning.
“Doing three events at the state meet is a very tiring thing,” Worrell said, “but I fought through it and got three state medals.”
In the 100, which was won by CD East’s Shawn Brown in 10.89, a false start might have worked against Worrell, who got a great jump.
“The false start did throw off my focus, ’cause the first time, I was the first one out of the blocks,” Worrell said. “I was ready to get that first (place).”
In the 4 x 400, Aaron Maynard had the Trojans in second place after the first leg, but moving in from the far outside lane early in the second leg cost some precious time and when Worrell got the baton, his team was sixth.
Kenan Korkutovic and Diontae Barbour were also on that team.
Trojan coach Bob Walker said, “Maynard ran as fine a leadoff leg as I’ve ever seen from Lane 8. It was a difficult assignment and he put us in position. Kenan ran a 49.9 — this is his first year of track and I’m glad he came out. Diontae ran a 49.4 split and it was cool to have him be a part of the team that broke a record of a team that had his father (Ralph Barbour) on it.”
Also on the 4 x 100 team were Jayden Jones, Jonathan Jeffrey and Donovan Moses.
Walker said, “2019 was a special season for us, but 2020 could be very special. We have a terrific group of sprinters.”
Three other area athletes competed in finals on Saturday.
McConnellsburg’s Hailey Dodson placed 10th in the Class 2A girls shot put with her best effort of the season, 36-1. Her seed throw was 34-10.
In 3A boys, Chambersburg’s Brock Harmon placed in a tie for 11th in the discus (147-1) and Shippensburg Kevin Suero was 20th in the long jump (20-10).
The Trojans’ Bre’ya Clopper ran in the semifinals in the girls 100 hurdles, but her time of 15.35 fell short of making the final and she finished 12th.
PIAA Track & Field Championships
(Local athletes only)
100 H — Bre’ya Clopper (Chbg) 15.35, 12th, did not qualify
Class 3A Finals
1600 — 1.Taryn Parks (G-A) 4:37.07 (PIAA record)
Class 2A Finals
Shot put — 10.Hailey Dodson (McConn) 36-1
100 — Tyeshawn Worrell (Chbg) 11.01; qualified for final
100 — 4.Worrell (Chbg) 10.98
4 x 100 relay — 7.Chambersburg (Jayden Jones, Jonathan Jeffrey, Donovan Moses, Worrell) 42.73
4 x 400 relay — 5.Chambersburg (Aaron Maynard, Kenan Korkutovic, Diontae Barbour, Worrell) 3:18.68
Long jump — 20.Kevin Suero (Ship) 20-10
Discus — 11.(tie) Brock Harmon (Chbg) 147-1