SHIPPENSBURG — The weather wasn’t exactly prime for the PIAA Track & Field Championships on Saturday.
But several area athletes did not let the cold, dreary weather interfere with their ambitions — and came home sporting medals around their necks.
The lone gold medal was captured by Shippensburg junior Dakota Arana in the Class 3A high jump. Arana, James Buchanan’s Grant Ellis, Conrad Moore of State College and Shaheem Hill of Williamsport all cleared a height of 6-4. The places were decided by fewest misses in competition, and Arana won that battle, while Ellis, a senior, placed third.
In the boys 3200 race, Weber Long of Greencastle-Antrim had his work cut out for him to try to take down the heavy favorite, Gary Martin of Archbishop Wood, whose qualifying time was 10 seconds better than Long.
Long, a junior, did his best — literally — but it was not quite enough. He picked up nearly two seconds on Martin on the final lap, which Long ran in a scorching 1:02.67. But Martin took gold in 8:54.87, a PIAA record by almost a full second, while Long hit the line 8:58.15, which reset his own school record.
“He had a tremendous effort to go sub-9 in tough conditions,” G-A coach Devin McCauley said. “Very impressive.”
Chambersburg’s 4 x 800 relay team collected a bunch of bronze medals, running a time of 9:32.29 to place third. The team included junior Olivia Rieck, senior Keira Whitehead, senior Maddie Kinton and sophomore Camy Kiser. Whitehead turned in the best time for her two laps, 2:21.93.
Trojan coach Chris Monheim said, “I couldn’t be happier for that relay. Those four girls work hard year-round and it paid off in a big way today. The conditions made it very rough, but I thought our girls showed a ton of mental toughness. We beat some powerhouse schools today.”
Claire Paci of Greencastle was the only local athlete to bring home a pair of medals. Paci, a freshman, finished the 3200 in 10:50.04, which was 2.5 seconds better than her qualifying time, and earned her a fourth-place medal. She later ran in the 1600 and placed eighth with a clocking of 5:06.70.
“Paci had a real nice double and used a strong kick to get the second medal of the day,” McCauley said.
The other fourth-place medal was earned by Shippensburg senior Jacob Cramer in the triple jump with his effort of 45-9.75. His teammate, sophomore Spencer Edey, also medaled in the event, hitting 44-8 to take eighth.
Other results from Saturday:
— Kate Etter took 11th in the triple jump with a leap of 36-6.25
— Shanelle Burrowes was 14th in the long jump with her 16-10.5 jump
— The 4 x 100 relay team of Natalia Holmes, Jahnaya Wimberley, Tayah Warren and Burrowes was 22nd in 50.77
— Warren ran 13.03 in the 100 prelims, but did not advance
Monheim said, “Etter, Burrowes and Warren all had decent days, and Etter and Burrowes weren’t far from medals. The 4 x 100 team was off today, but I was proud of their effort and (freshmen) Holmes and Wimberley some some great experience for the future.”
— The 4 x 100 relay team (Darion Baumgartner, Kenan Korkutovic, Rhaigeon Parker, Kevin Lee) was 19th in 44.52
— Avery Parks ran a time of 46.98 in the 300 hurdles to win her heat, and took 11th place overall
— In the triple jump, Karleigh Bubeck hit 35-10.75 to place 16th
— Long also ran in the 1600, and managed a 14th place with a time of 4:25.31
— Nathan Kirkwood competed in the long jump and his 20-9 jump put him in 15th place
“Parks had a real nice race and closed well to win her heat,” McCauley said. “All of our kids competed well and we were very happy with all five of our kids … and they are all underclassmen.”
— Isaiah Houser had a busy day. He placed 10th in the 400 with a fine time of 49.96, ran a 22.65 in the 200, but did not get out of the prelims, and anchored the Hound 4 x 400 relay team to 12th place in 3:28.37. The team also had Edey, Travis Bigham and Trae Kater.
— Edey placed 17th in the long jump (20-7)
— Dalton Foore was 18th in the shot put with a heave of 46-6.5