LOYSBURG - Maria Snyder didn't leave any doubt when she won. Carrie Baker preferred a little more drama.
No matter the method, the area juniors found their way to the top spot on the medal stand multiple times.
Snyder won the two long runs, was part of a first-place relay and fronted Northern Bedford's charge to a girls team championship, while Bedford's Baker was first in the pole vault and won a head-to-head battle with the Lady Panther star in the 800 meters at the District 5 Track and Field Championships on Wednesday at Panther Community Stadium.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
NBC’s Maria Snyder wins the 1600-meter run.
"These were the two events I wanted to do good in today. Those were the two I wanted to focus on,'' Baker said.
They accounted for five of the eight area first-place finishes for area girls. Everett senior Theole Feuillet won in the shot put for the second year in a row, while sophomore teammate Baylee Beegle nabbed a surprising gold in the long jump. Chestnut Ridge freshman Emily Finnegan rounded out the area victors by taking the discus.
Event winners advance to next weekend's PIAA meet at Shippensburg University, as did any competitor reaching a predetermined qualifying standard; Everett senior Keira Bair achieved the latter in the pole vault.
Baker was the top seed in the pole vault, but Bair gave her a stern challenge, with both making the state qualifying height of 10 feet, 6 inches but missing at 11-0. Baker took the gold because she made 10-6 on her first attempt, while it took Bair two tries to establish her new personal record.
Baker, though, was pleased with Bair's showing almost as much as the win.
"I was just really happy that she made it, because we're good friends from gymnastics. It was good that we could both go [to states] together,'' said Baker, who got into the pole vault on the advice of another friend from gymnastics, former Lady Bison track standout Brittany Kidd.
Baker got her personal record with a time of 2 minutes, 23.51 seconds. She started out fast, getting a big gap on Snyder, the top seed, at the start, but H.O.P.E. for Hyndman's Jalissa Snyder nearly ran her down at the end, eventually missing out by 22-hundredths of a second.
"I knew she was coming up on me. I just tried to finish it. I was just trying to get a PR and not to worry about what other people were doing. My plan was to get out early and to just keep it going, to avoid getting caught behind people on the second lap,'' Baker said. "I knew I was going to have to work for it, but I knew I had a definite chance, because this race means a lot to me, and I really wanted to win it.''
Baker's performance denied Northern Bedford's Snyder a sweep. A returning champion in the 1600 and 3200, Snyder won both those events without breaking a sweat - her 5-minute, 20.23-second mile was good to win by 11 seconds, and her 11:57.40 in the longer distance was more than a half-minute faster than anyone else.
"They were OK. I really need to work on my times. They weren't my best,'' Snyder said. "I need to be able to push more on my own, but some days you just have that extra and some days you don't.''
Snyder is scratching out of the mile at states, focusing on the two-mile run, in which she finished second at states as a sophomore. Macey Hollenshead of Southern Fulton will take her place as the District 5 representative in the event at the PIAA meet.
"You can't worry about what happened. You have to kind of be like, 'OK, I can do this.' It can hit anyone on any day. My neighbor [Northern Bedford boys basketball coach Barry Crawford] always says it's how the stars align. You never know. It might be your day. It might not be. You've just got to go down there and have fun and do it. I just feel fortunate to go.''
Snyder's day began as the anchor on the winning 3200 relay, which started out with senior Katlyn Reighard and then went to juniors Alyssa Smith and Jillian Bottenfield. Their time of 10:20.24 was 16 seconds faster than second place Shade.
"It feels really awesome. These girls and I put in a lot of hard work throughout the season. We had some tough workouts this year, but we pushed through. It's nice to see it pay off,'' Reighard, who also opened the meet with by singing the national anthem, said.
Although Reighard is a senior, she's the least experienced distance runner of the group. She joined the relay partway through the spring, coming over from the jumps, of all things, at the urging of her teammates and eventually at the decision of her coaches.
"Last year, the four-by-eight team needed an alternate, so they put me in there, and they ran me in a few of those, and they had times on me,'' Reighard said. "This year, they said, 'Let's go for it. Let's give it a try.' It was my last chance I had to try.''
Winning the relay was the first step in bringing Northern its first girls team title in more than 10 years. The Lady Panthers finished with 78.33 points. Bedford was second with 62.
Snyder said the relay was the highlight of her day, and it was evident the team title meant a lot, too.
"It's so nice, because, the rest of the year, I'm with myself. When you get on a team, you feel like other people are counting on you, and we all wanted to win together,'' Snyder said. "It's really nice, because we all had the same goal.''
Feuillet toss of 32 feet, 11 inches in her first attempt of the shot finals went nearly a foot farther than anyone else as she defended her event championship. She came in as the No. 1 seed but said she felt pressure.
"It was pretty iffy out there. All these girls were close. This one girl [Tussey Mountain's Carlee Bussard] I thought would get first, she got fourth,'' Feuillet said. "It's a big accomplishment, especially twice in a row. It's very humbling to go to states.''
Feuillet hoped to challenge for the school record of 33-11, just 3 inches beyond her seeded distance. But she was in a battle just to survive after the preliminaries.
"I was fourth at that time. These girls are all nice. We're all back and forth. We keep trading places. They just keep throwing it farther, so you really get pumped, when you think 'Oh, I'm not going to win,''' Feuillet said. "Every year these girls are here. It's pretty awesome. We're laughing the whole time, and there's not a quiet moment.''
Beegle and top-seeded Chestnut Ridge's Jarica Seese were tied for the top spot in the long jump at 16-5. Beegle, however, won on her second-best jump, which was 16-4.75 on her second attempt, while Seese had scratched on a couple of her other jumps.
"I was pretty excited. I felt like I was in the air for a little bit, but I was surprised when they said 16-5,'' Beegle said. "I thought I had a chance, and then I saw Jarica was in it. I saw what she got, and I never got a 16-8.''
The best jump of Beegle's career entering the meet was 15-8. She only was seeded fourth, with Seese and eventual bronze medalist Leah Hershberger of Northern Bedford both with distances longer than 16-0.
"I was worried all day. I thought I'd get like fourth or something. States was one of my goals, though,'' Beegle said. "I wasn't really nervous [when I got to the meet, though]. I always jump my best here. Last year, at districts, I got my best jump, too.''
Just a freshman, Finnegan wasn't looking for district goal, even though she was the top seed in the discus. She came out and tossed a season-best 105 feet, 8 inches on her first throw to win the event.
"I was a little shocked, because I didn't think I was going to be throwing that far,'' Finnegan said. "I just wanted to do my best. Coach said, 'Whatever you get, be happy with it.'''
That was easy to do after winning the event. Finnegan is in her second year throwing the disc. She used to be a sprinter and shot putter.
"I decided I was going to try it. I threw horrible, but my coach told me to keep at it. I came up to varsity, and they really got me throwing,'' said Finnegan, who came back later to take third in the shot. "I never imagined I'd get this far. I'm really glad. I'm ecstatic. I don't know what else to say.''
Top 300 hurdles seed Allyson Gearhart of Tussey Mountain struggled around the turn and finished third behind Meyersdale' Janelle Long and McConnellsburg's Merissa Grey.
Bedford had a pair of top-seeded relays knocked off the top spot on the podium by Berlin Brothersvalley. The second-ranked Lady Mounties got Gina Trulick back from injury and pulled away from Bedford in the 400 despite the Lady Bisons timing 52.34. Sarah Luprek then pulled away from Bedford and Northern Bedford in the last 100 meters of a very competitive 1600 relay to give Berlin the gold there.
Meet notes: Fannett-Metal's Abbey Turner won three events - the 100, 200 and 400 - while Windber's Jenna Bracken won the 100 hurdles and the triple jump. Other individual champions included McConnellsburg's Nikki Fleming (high jump) and Windber's Katie Strapple (javelin).
KEY, TEAM SCORING: 1, NB-Northern Bedford, 78.33; 2, BD-Bedford, 62; 3, BB-Berlin Brothersvalley, 54.33; 4, W-Windber, 52; 5, SF-Southern Fulton, 50; 6, E-Everett, 47.33; 7, FM-Fannett-Metal, 46; 8, CR-Chestnut Ridge, 42; 9, MY-Meyersdale, 40; 10, MB-McConnellsburg, 37; 11, TM-Tussey Mountain, 18; 12, SH-Shade, 13; 13, H-H.O.P. E. for Hyndman, 8; 14, CT-Conemaugh Township, 7; 15, R-Rockwood, 3.
100 dash: 1, A. Turner, FM, 12.85; 2, Vaughn, MY, 13.09; 3, Seese, CR, 13.38; 4, Eutsey, BB, 13.40; 5, Hershberbger, NB, 13.41; 6, Gearhart, TM, 13.61.
200 dash: 1, A. Turner, FM, 26.89; 2, Luprek, BB, 27.11; 3, Hershberger, NB, 27.55; 4, Vaughn, MY, 27.85; 5, Seese, CR, 27.96; 6, Beegle, E, 28.26.
400 dash: 1, A. Turner, FM, 59.95; 2, Luprek, BB, 1:00.67; 3, Baker, BD, 1:02.45; 4, Folk, TM, 1:02.75; 5, A. Smith, NB, 1:04.01; 6, Walker, R, 1:05.39.
800 run: 1, Baker, BD, 2:23.21; 2, Snyder, H, 2:23.53; 3, Snyder, NB, 2:26.67; 4, Tokarsky, W, 2:28.39; 5, Diehl, BD, 2:35.14; 6, Lake, SF, 2:35.20.
1600 run: 1, Snyder, NB, 5:20.23; 2, M. Hollenshead, SF, 5:31.02; 3, J. Hollenshead, SF, 5:33.58; 4, McClatchey, SH, 5:41.88; 5, Baker, MY, 5:46.68; 6, Feathers, W, 5:53.28.
3200 run: 1, Snyder, NB, 11:57.40; 2, J. Hollenshead, SF, 12:33.25; 3, M. Hollenshead, SF, 12:35.74; 4, Deneen, SF, 13:05.49; 5, Dice, R, 13:21.80; 6, Vasas, W, 13:40.94.
100 hurdles: 1, Bracken, W, 15.61; 2, Long, MY, 16.12; 3, Hittie, BB, 16.49; 4, Grey, MB, 16.77; 5, Weyant, CR, 17.11; 6, McMullen, W, 17.25.
300 hurdles: 1, Long, Meyersdale, 47.98; 2, Grey, MB, 48.35; 3, Gearhart, TM, 50.29; 4, O. Turner, FM, 50.68; 5, Hittie, BB, 50.95; 6, J. Smith, NB, 51.33.
400 relay: 1, Berlin Brothersvalley (Luprek, Eutsey, Hittie, Trulick), 51.24; 2, Bedford, 52.45; 3, Meyersdale, 53.04; 4, Southern Fulton, 53.40; 5, Chestnut Ridge, 53.80; 6, McConnellsburg, 55.18.
1600 relay: 1, Berlin Brothersvalley (Craig, Trulick, Hittie, Luprek), 4:15.61; 2, Northern Bedford, 4:17.19; 3, Bedford, 4:17.99; 4, Fannett-Metal, 4:28.40; 5, McConnellsburg, 4:29.07; 6, Southern Fulton, 4:37.27.
3200 relay: 1, Northern Bedford (Reighard, A. Smith, Bottenfield, Snyder), 10:20.24; 2, Shade, 10:36.80; 3, Windber, 10:36.89; 4, Bedford, 10:36.91; 5, Meyersdale, 11:01.73; 6, Southern Fulton, 11:14.11.
High jump: 1, Fleming, MB, 5-2; 2, Lischerelli, CT, 5-0; 3, Morningstar, E, 5-0; 4 (tie), Batzel, NB, and Folk, TM, 4-10; 6 (tie), Diehl, NB, Mountain, E, and Will, BB, 4-8.
Long jump: 1, Beegle, E, 16-5; 2, Seese, CR, 16-5; 3, Hershberger, NB, 15-11.5; 4, Reighard, NB, 15-6; 5, Lippencott, BD, 15-0.5; 6, Bracken, W, 14-10.25.
Triple jump: 1, Bracken, W, 35-4.25; 2, Lippencott, BD, 34-9.75; 3, Will, BB, 33-8.25; 4, Reighard, NB, 33-0.5; 5, M. Hollenshead, SF, 32-10; 6, Bair, E, 32-0.75.
Shot put: 1, T. Feuillet, E, 32-11; 2, Strapple, W, 31-11.5; 3, Finnegan, CR, 31-10; 4, Bussard, TM, 31-9; 5, Deaner, CR, 31-4.5; 6, Roman, SF, 30-9.5.
Discus: 1, Finnegan, CR, 105-8; 2, Swope, FM, 93-2; 3, T. Feuillet, E, 92-2; 4, Green, MB, 88-2; 5, N. Feuillet, E, 87-7; 6, Roberts, MB, 87-2.
Javelin: 1, Strapple, W, 115-0; 2, Strait, SF, 106-8; 3, Nero, MB, 106-4; 4, Beegle, BD, 104-6; 5, Steckman, E, 98-10; 6, Berkebile, SH, 97-8.
Pole vault: 1, Baker, BD, 10-6; n 2, Bair, E, 10-6; 3, Batzel, NB, 9-0; 4, Kostryk, CR, 8-6; 5, Fetters, BD, 8-0; 6, Nero, MB, 8-0.
n - advanced to state meet by achieving qualifying standard.