HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: North Schuylkill's Shearn earns state silver
SHIPPENSBURG - North Schuylkill's Brendan Shearn concluded his brilliant high school running career with a grand, if not winning, day Saturday at the PIAA Class AA state track and field championships.
Shearn traded places with the guy he beat for the 3200-meter title last year, Holy Cross's Rico Galassi, finishing second in a great race with a time of 9 minutes, 13. 33 seconds, then took sixth place in the 1600 to finish his high school career with five track medals to go along with three cross country medals.
In addition, his teammate, Dan McSurdy, took fifth place in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
Galassi won the 3200 by catching Shearn down the final straightaway to win in 9:12.48 but Shearn wasn't too upset.
"I couldn't be happier with the way my career went," said Shearn, who sandwiched seconds in the 3200 as a sophomore and this year around his win as a junior. He also finished eighth in the 1600 as a sophomore.
In cross country, he was a state champ as a junior, and second as a sophomore and senior.
"It seems like yesterday when I was here as a sophomore, throwing up in the bathroom because I was so nervous."
Shearn led most of the 3200 with Galassi running on his tail until the end.
"It was a tough race," he said. "We're that close that if we run 10 races, we're both probably going to take five, and he got the better of me today. I think I could have done a little better if I had backed off a little at the start. I knew he had a real good kick and I wanted to try to put him in a little pain but it probably took some out of me, too."
Shearn was running in the top three for the first three laps of the 1600 but tailed off on the final lap to finish sixth in 4:34.53. Even so, it topped last year, when he hit the wall in the 90-degree heat and finished last in that race.
"Last year I was really dissatisfied with this race, so I feel a lot better today," he said. "The weather was a lot better for me. That last leg was rough. I tried to run as hard as I could but my legs didn't feel that good."
McSurdy, disappointed after failing to make the 100-meter final, made up for it with his run of 40.47 in the 300-meter hurdles final. He matched the fifth place finish his sister had in the race a couple of years ago.
"Again, the wind was really terrible coming into the turn," McSurdy said, alluding to Friday's heat in the event. "It almost took me off my stride.
"I was really disappointed in my 100 but there wasn't much I could do about it. I had a good start but after about 40 meters, when I usually start to catch people, my legs just didn't feel like they were doing anything. I went under the stands and cleared my head after that race, then went up to my room. Brendan's family, my mom and some of my teammates kind of got me back up too and I got focused again."
Another North Schuylkill athlete, Cody Antalosky, finished 21st in the long jump (19-4½).
Shearn's and McSurdy's medals came on top of a second by Carter Green in the AA girls discus and a fourth by Carly Gregas in the high jump on Friday.
"We had a pretty good couple of days down here," McSurdy said. "Even the people who didn't medal gave it their all. It was a great senior season."