Trojans Baumgartner, Kelly claim indoor track & field state titles

STATE COLLEGE — The Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association held its indoor state championships on Sunday at Penn State’s Multi-Sport Facility and a pair of Chambersburg athletes came home with gold medals.

They were the Trojans’ first indoor champions since Marshay Ryan won the triple jump and long jump in 2013, and the boys also finished fourth in the team standings behind Episcopal Academy, Abington and Central Bucks West — the school’s best-ever finish.

Darion Baumgartner

Darion Baumgartner captured first place in the boys 60-meter hurdles and J.J. Kelly crushed the field in the triple jump.

In the 60 hurdles prelims, Baumgartner had the ninth-best time (8.48 seconds), but he dropped to 7.96 in the semifinals to produce the best time.

He dropped his time even further in the final, hitting the line in 7.89 to beat the runner-up, Antonio Votour of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who had an 8.03.

Chambersburg coach Bon Walker said, “Darion got better with each race. In the first one, he hit the fourth hurdle and limped across the line. But he got better in the semifinals and then won by a pretty good margin in the final — the announcer actually started saying his name before he crossed the line.”

Kelly overcame a bit of controversy to win the triple jump by nearly three feet.

J.J. Kelly

On his first jump, he hit 47-9, and the jump was originally ruled legal. But two of the officials conferred and raised the red flag, saying that he did four phases, which is illegal.

Walker said, “I was right there and I know he did only three phases, but two officials said it was four and one of the rakers said it was three. We filed a protest, but it stood. I told one of the officials that if J.J. actually did four phases, he might jump all the way out of the pit.”

Already in first place, Kelly put up a leap of 47-10.25 on his final jump to easily out-distance the second-place finisher, Jared Hess of Pennridge (44-10.75).

Kelly also tied for fourth in the high jump. He was one of six athletes who hit 6-4 to place behind winner Xavier McGreal of Kennett, who jumped 6-6.

Also for the Trojan boys, Peter Mertz placed 14th in the shot put (47-9.75) and for the girls, Natalia Holmes was 11th in the 60-meter dash. Holmes had the seventh-best time in the prelims (7.83) and ran 7.90 in the semifinals to miss out on the 8-girl final.

For Greencastle-Antrim, Claire Paci competed in the girls one-mile race and placed ninth with a time of 5:06.17.