SHIPPENSBURG - Michael Young sat down next to the media tent, looking down and meticulously wiping sand particles from the bench.
"I'm just thinking,'' Young said.
The Chestnut Ridge senior had a lot to reflect on, as a six-year track and field career was nearing its end.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Chestnut Ridge’s Michael Young lands in second place in the Class AA triple jump on Friday.
Bellwood-Antis’ Jeremy Claypoole wasn’t too excited with his fifth-place finish.
And he is ending it with a flourish.
Young launched himself a distance of 45 feet, 9.25 inches to earn the silver medal in the Class AA triple jump on Friday's witheringly hot opening day of the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
"I went out with a bang,'' Young said. "I got second. I bumped up the school record a few inches. I'm happy about that.''
Young's second-place finish highlighted the day for area boys competitors. The only other area boy to medal in Friday's field finals was Bellwood-Antis' Jeremy Claypoole, who placed fifth in the Class AA triple jump with a 44-11.
Several others punched their tickets into today's track semifinals and finals, including Bellwood's Seth Worthing in all four of his events - 100 dash, 200 dash, 400 relay and 1600 relay - and Ridge's Matt Dull in both of the hurdles.
The fourth seed coming in and a seventh-place medalist last year, Young got his best jump on his final attempt of the prelims and held on to the second spot through the finals.
"It feels good. Last year, my best was 45-4, and I only jumped 45-2 here. Beating my best here, I can't be mad about that,'' Young said. "I was overwhelmed by how many people came out to cheer for me. I didn't expect that many people to be screaming. I'm happy. It really helped make me feel good about what I did.''
Unfortunately for everyone else, Schuylkill Valley's Jared Horne leaped 46-9 in the prelims, making it largely a battle for the silver.
"[Horne] had to go and run the hurdles, too, and I thought 'If he doesn't get it here, it might not come,''' Young said. "But he got it, and I'm happy for him.''
Young took the opportunity to take a stand for Ridge's junior high track program, which was discontinued this year.
"My two years in junior high did wonders. Now my school doesn't have junior high track anymore,'' Young, who set a county record in the triple jump in eighth grade, said. "It's going to cripple us, because those two years were my foundation. Without that, it's going to be bad.''
Young is heading to Pitt to enter a pre-physician's assistant program. His athletic career probably will end today, when he competes in the long jump, one of several things about which he was thinking after the conclusion of the triple jump.
"That's it on the track. See what was running through my head?'' Young said. "For the long jump, I'm seeded 12th, so nobody expects me to do big things. I can relax out there and just do what I do and not think twice about it. I can put it in cruise control and go.''
Claypoole's mood was very different than Young's. He was visibly displeased as he prepared to step onto the award stand, and he didn't mince words about the reason.
"Disappointed. I should have jumped better,'' Claypoole said. "I just didn't jump. I [stunk] today. I was nervous, but I was pretty confident in where I was seeded. I don't know. It must have gotten in my head. It wasn't my best. It wasn't even anywhere close to my best.''
Having never triple jumped farther than 42-8 entering his senior year, Claypoole pulled out a 45-8.25 at the District 6 meet, giving him the second seed on Friday.
"I never suspected I'd be coming to states. I never even expected jumping 45s. Then doing that and coming here [and not matching it] is kind of disappointing,'' Claypoole said.
Cambria Heights' Zack Prohonic and Northern Bedford's Tayler Pressel also competed in the Class AA triple. Prohonic's 42-10 had him one spot out of making it to the finals and gave him a 10th-place finish. Pressel was 14th at 41-10.
Worthing will have a full day today with potentially six races. He ensured that in the 1600-meter relay by overtaking Paul Robeson anchor Marquis Howard in the last 20 meters to cross the finish line in 2 minutes, 23.22 seconds to get the second-seeded Blue Devils the win.
"I don't like to lose. I never liked to lose,'' Worthing said. "This has to be the highlight. We beat our last time by more than a second, so I'm happy with it. We haven't lost a race in four-by-four yet this year. Don't want to lose one at all.''
Ian O'Shea also played a big part in Bellwood's first-place finish, taking the baton in fifth place but getting it to Worthing before any other team. With Zach Sinisi and Andrew DeGol running the opening legs, the Devils' time was the best in Friday's preliminaries. Bedford's team of Josh Wakefield, Dakota Hess, Stephen Stroup and Dylan Evans ran in the same heat, missing out on the finals by coming in fifth in a time of 3:31.27.
Worthing, DeGol and Ian O'Shea teamed with Cameron Worthing to take second in its heat and posted the fifth-best time of the preliminaries by completing the 400 relay in 43.12, shattering the school record it's been chasing for weeks by nearly three-tenths of a second. Chestnut Ridge's foursome of J.P. Hillegass, Trent Lohr, Chase May and Steve Frankenberry was disqualified in the same race after a fall.
"Amazing,'' Seth Worthing said. "After missing the record at districts by .03, we wanted it so bad. To get it now is just like a weight off our chests. Now we can focus more on the race at hand.''
Seth Worthing crossed the finish in the 100 in a time of 11.35. That put him at third in his preliminary heat and put him in the semifinals. Later, he added this morning's 200 semifinals to his docket when he ran 22.68, the fastest time not to finish in the top three in a heat.
"I'm really excited,'' Worthing said.
Altoona's Rafeeq Barnes also garnered a spot in the 100 semis, placing fourth in his heat by matching his District 6 Class AAA meet time of 11.20. That qualified him for having the fastest times outside of a top-three finish.
That will be Barnes' only shot at a medal today. The 400 relay he ran with Dreux Stamford, Jake Healy and Killian Steinbugl bettered its 43.38 time at the 6-AAA meet with a 42.86 to place third in its heat, but the Lions needed a 42.35 to earn a spot in the top eight.
Dull recorded the third-best time in the 300 hurdle preliminaries, winning the second heat with a result of 39.14. Dull didn't even look like he was running with his usual fluidity.
"You've got to do your best, because you never know who can beat you out. I just ran it. Sometimes stuff works out. Sometimes it doesn't. That felt pretty good,'' Dull, a fifth-place medalist as a junior, said. "Definitely a confidence builder. Now that I'm through, I'm in the finals. I've just got to do everything I can do to keep climbing up the ladder.''
Sinisi also ran in the 300 prelims, but his 40.21, while it put him at third in his heat, wasn't enough to qualify him for the finals.
Dull advanced to today's semifinals in the 110 hurdles, as well, by posting the third-best time in his heat at 15.47. Central Cambria's Matt Pride also moved along with a sixth-place heat finish at 15.74.
Philipsburg-Osceola's Cole Curtis, however, was knocked out with a time of 16.04, which put him eighth in his heat.
"I didn't think it was as good [of a time] as it could have been,'' Dull said. "But my coach said, 'Relax. You're in.' [Saturday] I have to run my really good time.''
With two of its better runners out to concentrate on today's two-mile run, the Altoona four-by-800 relay finished 11th in its Class AAA heat at 8:24.28. The Mountain Lions' team consisted of Pat Reade, Brad Foust, Dalen Stroh and Mitch Endress.
Lion 300 hurdler Uthman Hill also fell by the wayside, posting a 41.59 in his preliminary heat to come in sixth. Teammate Kevin Johnson couldn't make it into the finals of the triple jump and settled for 18th place with a best effort of 44-4.
In Class AA, Central Cambria had to change up its 3200 relay because of an injury to Jake Fedore. Junior Alex Chiappini filled in, running with Grant Barber, Tim Hite and Brandon Long, but the team missed out of the finals, checking in 10th in its heat with a time of 8:18.96.
Northern Cambria's Derek Bearer and Portage's Dean Bimle were eliminated from medal contention in the 400 meters. Bearer posted a 51.88 to place fifth in his heat, while Bimle was eighth in his prelim at 52.77.
Everett's Robbie Miller was 14th in the first heat of the Class AA 1600, timing 4:51.69.
Tyrone's Corey Snyder threw the javelin 163-9, putting him 13th in Class AA.