Stars battle rain at Heartland Conference track meet
SELINSGROVE - The Heartland Athletic Conference Coaches Invitational is a tough meet under any circumstances because it puts all of the conference's athletes together for a day, regardless of class.
But when you throw in a steady rain, which occasionally became a pouring rain, and that annual rite of May - proms - and it becomes even harder to deal with.
So it's not too surprising that Mount Carmel' Eric Joraskie was the only area athlete to come away with a gold medal from the meet, which he won by throwing the discus 154 feet, 4 inches. Joraskie was also part of Mount Carmel's second-place 400-meter relay team, along with Nick Troutman, Elijah Duran and Christian Kelley, and was fourth in the shot put.
Southern Columbia's Luke Rarig, Mount Carmel's Rob Varano and Shamokin sophomore Chris Petraskie also had second-place finishes, in the 110-meter high hurdles, pole vault and high jump, respectively.
Petraskie's eight points were the only points that Shamokin scored. Many of the Indians were at the prom on Friday night and with the weather as bad as it was, boys coach Mike Rogers either gave upperclassmen the day off or opted for some of his best kids, such as defending 400 champion Matt Gass, who has been hampered by injuries, to rest up for next week's District 4 champions.
In fact, Shamokin's girls team showed up, pitched their tent and, as soon as the rain got as hard as it did, took it down and went home.
Other runners, such as Southern Columbia's Andrew Steely, ran in one event, then took off to attend another proms at other schools.
Which all adds up to this - while you have to be good to win at the Heartland meet, sometimes the results are still a little skewed.
Rain stops in time
Joraskie said he got a break in the discus because the rain, which had been steady to that point, stopped when his heat was ready to throw.
In addition to his winning throw, he had another only two inches shorter.
Joraskie's discus win and his leg of the 400-meter relay, which Mount Carmel ran in 44.85 to Milton's 44.28, made up for what he thought was a sub-par performance in the shot put. His fourth-place throw of 47 feet was almost four feet less than his personal best.
"I didn't throw as well as I'd have liked to," he said.
But between his throwing events came the 400 relay, which features Joraskie and Christian Kelly on a team that's a little bigger than most 400 relay units.
"I think the running benefits me in the throws," Joraskie said. "Since I've been running, I've been throwing better and more consistently. I think it gets me charged up more."
The Northwestern-bound senior said he feels he's where he needs to be at this point in the season.
"I think I've been pretty consistent in the discus all season, and I think I just need to make some minor adjustments in the shot to get back over 50 feet," he said. "And in the 4 x 100, if we can get our handoffs down, we're pretty good."
Rarig ran 15.22 in the high hurdles, .20 behind Selinsgrove winner Mike Ede. and was fourth in the long jump, just missing 21 feet. He also ran on the Tigers' fourth-place 400-meter relay team.
Varano tied his best in the pole vault at 13-6, finishing behind Jersey Shore's Mac Thompson, who went 14-0.
Petraskie tied his best in the high with a jump of 6 feet, trailing only Loyalsock's Wes Lapoint's 6-2.
Southern Columbia's 3200-meter relay team of Tony Chiavaroli, Jansen Ring, Dylan Swank and Steely finished third, and the Tigers' Cody Pavlick was third in the discus (138-6).
Other area male placewinners were:
Fifth - Joe Kleman, Southern Columbia, 200; Justin Skavery, Mount Carmel, 1600; Mount Carmel's 3200-meter relay team;
Sixth - Elijah Duran, Mount Carmel, triple jump;
Seventh - Kleman, 100; Duran, long jump; Cody Olson, Southern Columbia, high jump:
Eighth - Skavery, 800; Dominic Farronato, Mount Carmel, javelin.
Milton's Chris Reuss was the only double individual winner in the boys meet, taking the 100 and 200 meters, as well as running on the winning 400 relay, to lead the Black Panthers to the team title with 102 points. Selinsgrove was second (81) and Williamsport third (77). Mount Carmel was fourth (56) and Southern eighth (42.5).
Southern Columbia's Bailey Bzdak and Mount Carmel's Ali Varano were the top area performers on the girls side. Bzdak took second in the long jump (16-3¾), sixth in the triple jump (33-8½) and was part of the Tigers' 400-meter relay team, which finished seventh.
Varano was third in both the 400 (1:02.14) and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (47.30), fourth in the 100 (13.25), and ran on the 1600-meter relay, which finished seventh.
Other area girls medalists were:
Fourth - Lauren Hause, Mount Carmel, 1600;
Fifth - Teanna Shutt, Southern Columbia, pole vault;
Seventh - Shutt, 3200;
Eighth - Gabrielle Scherer, Southern Columbia, 100 high hurdles; Miranda Long, Southern, javelin.
Williamsport's Jaid Harsch (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Selinsgrove's Courtney McCartney (shot put, javelin) and Montoursville's Kaylee Caruso (long jump, triple jump) were double winners on the girls side.
Selinsgrove edged Montoursville by a point, 108-107, for the team title. Mount Carmel finished 10th and Southern 12th.