HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: Southern Columbia athletes capture 5 state medals
SHIPPENSBURG - Led by a double-medal performance by sprinter Joey Kleman, Southern Columbia had a very good day Saturday at the PIAA Class AA state track and field championships.
The Tigers won five medals and scored 15 team points.
Kleman doubled in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, taking fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 11.07 and 23.04. West Middlesex's Clay Allen won both races, in 10.72 and 22.79, respectively.
Luke Rarig took sixth in the 110-meter high hurdles, Cody Pavlick was seventh in the discus and the 3200-meter relay team of Dylan Swank, Jansen Ring, Tony Chiavaroli and Andrew Steely placed eighth.
Kleman was a little surprised at his performances. He was third in the 100 semifinal, also in 11.07, to advance, and ran a blistering 22.72 in the 200 semifinal in advancing.
"I felt pretty strong in both events," the Bloomsburg University-bound senior said. "I got a little lucky in the 200 semifinal because I may have jumped the start a little bit. In the 200 final, the wind played a major factor but I felt I did well in dealing with it.
"I wasn't expecting to do as well down here as I did. I hoped I could medal but I didn't expect to do this well. I have to thank my coaches, Coach (Lanny) Conner, Coach (Tom) Donlan and my sprint coach, Coach (Jim) Roth. I have the greatest respect for all of them. We had a pretty good time as a team down here."
Rarig was seeded second in the high hurdles and though he only placed sixth, he was pleased, because he finally broke 15 seconds in the event with a time of 14.83 in the semifinals. His finals time was 15.09. The race was won in 14.06 by top seed Todd Townsend of Neumann-Goretti.
"I feel good about it," said Rarig, who was also 14th in the long jump (20-31/2). "I don't feel I got out of the blocks as fast as I could have in the final. But that time in the semifinal makes me feel even better."
Pavlick threw five inches less (150-5) than he did in winning the district discus title, but he was pleased to medal as well.
"When I came down here Thursday night and saw some of the people throwing 195 feet, 180 feet, I tried not to let it get in my head," the junior said. "I didn't expect to finish first, second or third but I just tried to do my best."
Pavlick said the wind was a major factor in the event.
"I tried to do that (keep the discus low) because I knew if I got it up in the air too much the wind would just push it back. It did that to some of the throws. And I just tried to be consistent. I threw 145, 144 and then 150 on my first three throws, so I think I did that."
The Tigers' 3200-meter relay team didn't run as fast as it did at the District Four meet, with a time of 8:16.39, but it was enough to hit the medal stand, and again the wind played a major role in the race.
Swank ran the first leg in 2:02 and was eighth, Ring moved them into seventh and Chiavaroli kept the pace for Steely to run a two-minute anchor leg.
"I knew I'd have to run a strong first lap to keep us in contention and I really went out fast, probably too fast," Steely said. "It was a two-flat leg but it was a hard two-flat and it took a lot out of me."
Steely finished 11th out of 12 runners in the 1600 final with a time of 4:45.22.
He ran four races in two days and said it got the better of him.
"That's not really an excuse though," he said. "I set some goals this year and I don't think I accomplished any of them, but after last year, when I put a lot of pressure on myself and didn't so so well, I just decided to have fun this year. I had a good season but I have to do a little better job in training."
Shamokin Area freshman Chris Petraskie failed to clear the opening height of 6 feet in the AAA boys high jump.