To say the last few weeks have tested Kyle Bartlett is something of an understatement. Possibly the premier boys track distance runner in the area, the Bellwood-Antis High School senior seemed to be finding every way imaginable not to win. He even finished second despite setting a record in the mile at the Inter-County Conference meet last week.
So - after the top-seeded 3200-meter relay team he anchors placed third while running its best time of the year - he fell over the starting line to cause a restart in the boys mile at Tuesday's rain-drenched District 6 Class AA Track and Field Championships at Mansion Park, you couldn't blame Bartlett if he was asking 'Why me?'"
"I've never done that before. That was an eye-opening experience," Bartlett said. "At first I thought, 'Did I false start?' Then I realized there was a big, gigantic puddle in front of me. Yeah, that was exciting. Guess it gave me another chance, which is good. I'm glad they have that rule."
Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec
Tyrone’s Charles Wilson-Adams competes in the long jump.
After all that frustration, Bartlett came out and got back on the winning track at just the right time, winning both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs at the district meet, helping Bellwood to a runaway team title.
Bartlett accounted for two of the 12 gold medals claimed by area competitors or relay teams. Bartlett's B-A teammate, Ian O'Shea, won the 100 meter, 300 hurdles and was on the winning 400 and 1600 relays, while Blue Devil Seth Worthing won the 200 and punched his ticket to states in four events for the second year in a row.
Ben Makdad (400), Charles Wilson-Adams (long jump) and its 3200 relay brought home gold for Tyrone. Cambria Heights' Shawn Lacue won the high jump, and Williamsburg's Mike Biddle triumphed in the javelin.
All those finishing in the top three as well as those meeting a state qualifying standard earned the right to participate in the PIAA meet May 24-25 at Shippensburg University.
"It's the absolute best feeling in the world. Since ninth grade, I've been determined to win this race," Bartlett said after clocking 10 minutes, 12.68 seconds in the 3200 to edge Williamsburg rival Bryce England by slightly more than a second. "I had no clue that I would with the 16, too, and I thank God for that. Make sure that you put that in there. He definitely got me through that race.
"It's just a tremendous feeling. I ran against so many great runners. To win against this elite group is a great feeling."
Already a winner in the mile, Bartlett bided his time in the two-mile run, making his move to pass Westmont Hilltop's Kevin Dailey with just about a lap to go and leading the rest of the way.
In the earlier race, Bartlett was passed by Dailey with 650 meters to go and was thwarted twice attempting to regain the lead. However, with 100 meters left, Bartlett turned on the jets and passed Dailey to win, with England coming in right behind him.
Bartlett's time was 4:37.37, nearly a personal-record in the wet and cold conditions. Receiving congratulations from teammate Mike Wilson, Bartlett said the near-misses of the last few weeks might have paved the way to Tuesday's successes.
"I am the most competitive person on the planet, so, whenever anyone beats me, I always go and tell my dad, 'Dad, I will not lose again.' I just have that mentality and that mindset to push myself as hard as I can," Bartlett said. "I never lost my confidence. It actually did the exact opposite. It inspired me to come back and to do my best and to win, and this is the result of it."
O'Shea turned in his best time of the year by about a half-second in the 300 hurdles, sprinting a 40.62 to take the gold. Ligonier Valley's Justin Piper was second by 36-hundredths of a second.
O'Shea then equaled the state qualifying standard of 11.20 to clip teammate Seth Worthing by six-hundredths of a second to win the 100 meters.
"I feel really good. For the conditions with the weather, I had some really good times today. I PR'd in the 100 and the 300 hurdles. Everything worked out great for me," O'Shea said. "The 300 hurdles makes me feel best, definitely. They're a lot harder than the 100s. The 300 hurdles is a hard race."
O'Shea anchored the Bellwood 400 relay team than also consisted of Cameron Worthing, Seth Worthing and Owen Worthing to a winning time of 44.45 and ran the third leg of the gold-medal 1600 relay that produced a season-best 3:28.85 with Burget, Owen Worthing and Seth Worthing.
Bishop Carroll's team of Gabriel Gresko, Matt Karlheim, Dan Lesney and Brody Shuty was second in the 400 relay at 45.08.
Seemingly with a fire lit under him after coming in second in the 100, Seth Worthing scorched the field in the 200. He finished in 23.04. That was almost a half-second ahead of everyone else.
"I just wanted to win it. I kind of gave up on getting my times this year. I can't get back down. I can't get healthy," said Worthing, who was injured in the final game of football season. "Part of [winning] is my coach's motivation for me. I've been having a rough season. I'm not happy with it at all, and he knows that. He just told me just to forget everything and to go out and get a medal, just try to win."
Bellwood scored 102 team points to win its third consecutive team championship. Tyrone was next in line with 56 points.
"Three in a row is something special," Blue Devils coach Nick Lovrich said.
Makdad ran down Portage's Paul Husar down the stretch while simultaneously holding off top seed Derek Bearer of Northern Cambria to triumph in the 400 meters by five-hundredths of a second, timing at 52.03. All three area competitors made it to states.
"I felt like [Husar] was slowing down a little bit, and one thing we've really been stressing in practice is to finish the race. I think that really helped out today," Makdad said. "At the 110 mark I said, 'OK, I've got to go.' I knew I could take him then. With 50 to go, I knew he was mine. I knew [Bearer] would be there. I've been running against him since seventh grade."
It was the first time Makdad ever had beaten Bearer, who caught him at the end to win at the West Central Coaches Meet a couple of weeks ago. Makdad sustained a major ankle injury in the 2011 PIAA football semifinals but came back to win his individual district title.
"I think it made me faster, but I wouldn't recommend it," Makdad said of his rehabilitation. "It's awesome to get it in an individual event. I went on the four-by-four team as a sophomore; we got first. But it's awesome, especially in the 400, because [former 6-AA champion] Nick Patton was a great teammate of mine."
Lake Ingle managed to hold off Richland's Bobby Colvin and pull away down the stretch to give Tyrone gold in the 3200 relay for the first time ever. Wyatt Fowler, Adam Flick, Hayden Zook and Ingle, seeded second coming in, posted a time of 8:21.36, 12 seconds faster than their previous best.
Bellwood was the top seed in the event, and the Blue Devil quartet of Alex Bartlett, Burget, Sam Mills and Kyle Bartlett trimmed nearly 7 seconds off their season-low in finishing third and qualifying for states at 8:24.96. No team came in seeded with a time better than 8:31.51, but five ran better than 8:28 on Tuesday.
Wilson-Adams edged Penn Cambria's James Mardula by 2 1/2 inches to win the long jump, leaping 21-5. Lacue also earned his way to states in the event by finishing third with a 20-7 1/4 effort - five of the top six placewinners were from the area, including Bellwood's Cameron Worthing and Juniata Valley's Brett Grissinger.
Wilson-Adams, though, didn't win his signature event - the high jump, in which he is the reigning PIAA Class AA champion. He'll still be back in Shippensburg to try to defend his crown, however, he settled for silver at the district meet because he and Lacue both made 6-2, but the Tyrone star had more misses.
Northern Cambria's Tyler Olish was third at 6-0.
"I'm not too worried about what happened here. Next week is my biggest goal. That's what I'm focused on," Wilson-Adams said. "I've never jumped well here. I thought I would just go and give it my best, and whatever happens, happens. I just wanted to make it to states."
For Lacue, who was the top seed entering the event because he cleared 6-8 earlier this year, the win was an affirmation.
"It feels awesome. I didn't think I would win it coming in. I think I did a good job keeping him out of my head. There was some really strong competition," said Lacue, a junior. "I was a little nervous. I tried to keep focused."
Seeded second coming in, Biddle was able to throw pretty consistently in the mid-160s to capture first place in the javelin. His best throw was 167-9.
Northern Cambria's Evan Ludwig also advanced with a third-place finish, throwing 162-4.
"I'm just really happy and excited," Biddle, a sophomore, said. "I knew I was going to have to throw well because there's a lot of competition here. The first five people were within 5 feet of each other."
Biddle placed 12th in districts in 2012, but he spent the year working with his older brother and school record holder, Dakota, and has been a major player in the event around the region all season. He had the lead entering the finals, and top seed Mitchel Yard of Saltsburg was second at 165-0.
"It's just a lot of technique. I've spent a lot of time in the gym getting stronger," Biddle said. "I'm a little bit [surprised]. I just thank God for giving me the talent that I have."
Huntingdon's top-seeded Kobren Frederick was unable to take home gold in the triple jump, but he did qualify for states with a second-place showing in the event. Mardula took third.
Central Cambria sophomore Scott Holsinger moved on to states by virtue of a second-place finish by 64-hundredths of a second to West Branch's Lucas Kristofits in the 110 hurdles. The same was true for Northern Cambria's Gus Yahner, who was the top seed in the pole vault but had to settle for second behind Homer-Center's Jared Neeley with a height of 13-0.
Huntingdon's Alex Hall and Logan Fultz and Philipsburg-Osceola's Tim Eason advanced as the bronze medalists in the pole vault, 200 dash and 800 run, respectively. Hall jumped 13-0. Fultz clocked in at 23.48. Eason ran 2:03.97.
Meet notes: England scratched out of the two-mile run at the state meet to focus on the mile. Fourth-place finisher Bryce Descavich of Central Cambria will take his place in the event at Shippensburg. ... Central's Chris Carder, Bishop Guilfoyle's Nick Ceschini, Williamsburg's Brandon Leidy, Worthing and Zook were the recipients of the Blair County Chapter of Track and Field Officials Outstanding Performer Awards.
KEY, TEAM SCORING: BA-Bellwood-Antis, 102; 2, T-Tyrone, 56; 3, R-Richland, 52 1/2; 4, LV-Ligonier Valley, 47; 5, CC-Central Cambria, 38; 6, HC-Homer-Center, 34 1/2; 7, NC-Northern Cambria, 32; 8, PL-Purchase Line, 29; 9, HUN-Huntingdon, 28; 10, WI-Williamsburg, 27; 11, FH-Forest Hills, 26; 12, PC-Penn Cambria, 24; 13, WH-Westmont Hilltop, 23; 14, CH-Cambria Heights, 22; 15 (tie), BEA-Bald Eagle Area and BC-Bishop Carroll, 20; 17, JUN-Juniata, 19; 18, WB-West Branch, 16; 19, PM-Penns Manor, 15; 20, U-United, 11; 21 (tie), POR-Portage and SB-Saltsburg, 10; 23 (tie), PO-Philipsburg-Osceola and SH-Southern Huntingdon, 9; 25, BG-Bishop Guilfoyle, 8; 26, BM-Bishop McCort, 7; 27, JV-Juniata Valley, 5; 28, MC--Marion Center, 2.
100 dash: 1, O'Shea, BA, 11.20; 2, S. Worthing, BA, 11.26; 3, DiFlauro, FH, 11.44; 4, Fultz, HUN, 11.56; 5, Shuty, BC, 11.56; 6, Karlheim, BC, 11.69; 7, B. Grissinger, JV, 11.74; 8, Robenson, SB, 11.89.
200 dash: 1, S. Worthing, BA, 23.04; 2, DiFlauro, FH, 23.47; 3, Fultz, HUN, 23.48; 4, Flick, R, 23.68; 5, Shuty, BC, 24.04; 6, Thomas, LV, 24.06; 7, Madey, BG, 24.11; 8, S. Bearer, NC, 24.40.
400 dash: 1, Makdad, T, 52.03; 2, D. Bearer, NC, 52.08; 3, Husar, POR, 52.34; 4, Ingle, T, 53.40; 5, Styles, BEA, 53.76; 6, McClintock, FH, 54.35; 7, S. Bearer, NC, 54.41; 8, Logue, BG, 54.51.
800 run: 1, Colvin, R, 1:59.53; 2, Lichvar, U, 2:00.20; 3, Eason, PO, 2:03.97; 4, Long, CC, 2:04.90; 5, Zook, T, 2:05.83; 6, Chiappini, CC, 2:07.55; 7, Karadus, PL, 2:08.08; 8, Moody, BEA, 2:08.99.
1600 run: 1, K. Bartlett, BA, 4:37.37; 2, England, WI, 4:37.71; 3, Dailey, WH, 4:37.88; 4, Moody, BEA, 4:40.10; 5, Sutton, PC, 4:46.89; 6, Eckenrod, BM, 4:48.31; 7, Anderson, MC, 4:48.63; 8, Dimond, FH, 4:51.40.
3200 run: 1, K. Bartlett, BA, 10:12.68; 2, England, WI, 10:13.84; 3, Dailey, WH, 10:14.47; 4, Descavich, CC, 10:28.21; 5, A. Bartlett, BA, 10:30.17; 6, Neumann, CC, 10:34.35; 7, Eckroth, R, 10:34.41; 8, Sutton, PC, 10:43.38.
110 hurdles: 1, Kristofits, WB, 15.26; 2, Holsinger, CC, 15.90; 3, Piper, LV, 15.97; 4, Gilbert, JUN, 16.07; 5, Madey, BG, 16.09; 6, Brown, CH, 16.11; 7, Onder, POR, 16.20; 8, Ilgren, BEA, 16.22.
300 hurdles: 1, O'Shea, BA, 40.62; 2, Piper, LV, 40.98; 3, McCracken, HC, 41.55; 4, Gilbert, JUN, 41.98; 5, Luciew, R, 42.80; 6, Lieb, CH, 42.81; 7, Ilgren, BEA, 43.33; 8, McNemar, JUN, 43.50.
400 relay: 1, Bellwood-Antis (C. Worthing, S. Worthing, O. Worthing, O'Shea), 44.45; 2, Bishop Carroll (Gresko, Karlheim, Lesney, Shuty), 45.08; 3, Westmont Hilltop (Cernansky, Fisher, Gagan, Sabo), 45.11; 4, Forest Hills, 45.66; 5, West Branch, 45.70; 6, Ligonier Valley, 45.73; 7, Richland, 46.64; 8, Bishop Guilfoyle, 46.66.
1600 relay: 1, Bellwood-Antis (Burget, O. Worthing, O'Shea, S. Worthing), 3:28.85; 2, Ligonier Valley (Crusan, Jackman, Finger, Piper), 3:32.99; 3, Homer-Center (Capitosti, Zayac, Neeley, McCracken), 3:33.23; 4, Tyrone, 3:35.37; 5, Richland, 3:41.74; 6, Southern Huntingdon, 3:42.95; 7, Central Cambria, 3:42.97; 8, Philipsburg-Osceola, 3:42.98.
3200 relay: 1, Tyrone (Fowler, Flick, Ingle, Zook), 8:21.36; 2, Richland (Eckroth, Luciew, Marx, Colvin), 8:22.52; 3, Bellwood-Antis (A. Bartlett, Burget, S. Mills, K. Bartlett), 8:24.96; 4, Central Cambria, 8:26.61; 5, Purchase Line,8:27.45; 6, Southern Huntingdon, 8:43.06; 7, Ligonier Valley, 9:06.09; 8, Saltsburg, 9:07.43.
High jump: 1, Lacue, CH, 6-2; 2, Wilson-Adams, T, 6-2; 3, Olish, NC, 6-0; 4, Mardula, PC, 6-0; 5, Civis, R, 5-10; 6, Frederick, HUN, 5-8; 7, Brown, POR, 5-6; 8, Switzer, BC, 5-6.
Long jump: 1, Wilson-Adams, T, 21-5; 2, Mardula, PC, 21-2 1/2; 3, Lacue, CH, 20-7 1/4; 4, C. Worthing, BA, 20-5 1/2; 5, Somiari, R, 19-10; 6, B. Grissinger, JV, 19-9; 7, Donoughe, FH, 19-3 1/2; 8, Barnard, BEA, 19-3.
Triple jump: 1, Bytner, PM, 44-2; 2, Frederick, HUN, 43-3; 3, Mardula, PC, 43-0; 4, Somiari, R, 42-9 1/2; 5, Wilson-Adams, T, 42-9 1/2; 6, Crusan, LV, 41-7;7, Maurer, PO, 40-8 1/2; 8, Donoughe, FH, 40-1.
Shot put: 1, Dickert, LV, 48-6 1/2; 2, Price, PL, 47-8 1/2; 3, Newhouse, HC, 47-6 1/4; 4, Seymour, CC, 47-3 3/4; 5, Joy, R, 47-0; 6, Ferens, PM, 46-11 1/2; 7, Thomas, SH, 46-6 3/4; 8, Leidy, WI, 45-9 3/4.
Discus: 1, Price, PL, 136-0; 2, Bodley, JUN, 130-2; 3, Miller, HC, 130-1; 4, Davis, BA, 129-3; 5, Urch, LV, 127-2; 6, Hall, BEA, 125-11; 7, Brown, PM, 125-5; 8, Thomas, SH, 123-1.
Javelin: 1, Biddle, WI, 167-9; 2, Yard, SB, 165-0; 3, Ludwig, NC, 162-10; 4, Stolitza, PL,159-9; 5, Woloschuk, BM, 159-2; 6, Long, U, 158-6; 7, Slippey, WB, 157-2; 8, Paronish, NC, 153-6.
Pole vault: 1, Neeley, HC, 14-0; 2, Yahner, NC, 13-0; 3, Hall, HUN, 13-0; 4, Barron, WH, 12-6; 5, Denny, BA, 12-0; 6, Struble, BEA, 12-0; 7, Kozorosky, CC, 12-0; 8 (tie), Mikulsky, R, and Zayac, HC, 11-6.
n-met state qualifying standard.