An incredible season came to a close on Saturday at Shippensburg, but not before Central PA athletes earned a lot of state medals. Here’s a quick recap of the boys distance events:
Mifflin County’s Chayce Macknair saved his best for last. He came into the state meet with a PR of 9:30 and left with a PR of 9:08.88. Maybe more importantly, he walked away with a state silver medal. He hung with the lead pack throughout the entire race and closed hard to earn the runner-up finish. Macknair will continue his career next year at Shippensburg University. After setting a 16-second PR at the District III Championships, Carlisle junior Casey Padgett dropped another 2-seconds to cross the finish line 8th in 9:23.14. Manheim Township senior Ian Miller and Mechanicsburg senior Brandan Knepper closed out their impressive high school careers finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Palmyra sophomore Jakolby Fackler finished 15th and will enter his junior season as one of the top distance runners in the state.
Penns Valley sophomore Colton Sands won his first career state championship in the AA 3200m setting a new PR of 9:24.75. With 2 more championship meets left for Sands to compete in, Chris Dugan’s PIAA record of 9:04.09 could be challenged. Logan Horst of Lancaster Mennonite timed his peak just right. In his last 3 meets he ran 9:46-9:45-9:30 times in the 3200m. Westmont Hilltop’s Nick Fetzer finished 4th in 9:31.78. He will look to push Sands in District VI next season. That competition will be good for both of them as they continue to push their PRs lower.
Manheim Township’s Evan Dorenkamp closed hard over the last 100m, sprinting past his competition with impressive speed and finishing with a US#10 time and new PR of 4:08.15. He ran relaxed and in control all race, waiting for an opening to make his final move. Once he saw an opening around the last turn he took it and didn’t look back. I am sure he didn’t come into the meet looking to break the PIAA record, but he may have broken it had he been pushed to the finish line. Dorenkamp is headed to Penn State in the fall, but will first test his fitness at the New Balance National Outdoor Championships. Zander Ermold of Governor Mifflin crossed the finish line just ahead of Seneca Valley’s Connor Volk-Klos to finish 8th overall. His new PR of 4:16.83 was .04s better than Volk-Klos and earned him the final spot on the medal stand. He will be continuing his career at Shippensburg University.
Juniata’s Garrett Baublitz used his strength and speed to separate himself from Jonah Powell over the last 100m of the AA boys 1600m run. His time of 4:11.54 is a new PR and just missed the National Federation Honor Roll time of 4:11.00. He has established himself as the top middle-distance runner in AA. Nick Fetzer came back from his 4th place finish in the 3200m to finish 7th in the 1600m.
Ephrata junior Tyler Shue added an outdoor 800m state title to the indoor state title he won this winter. He took the lead from the gun and never looked back. His lead only grew over the final 200m and he finished with a new PR of 1:51.55. That time currently ranks him US#12.
After setting a new PR in the 1600m earlier in the day, Juniata’s Garrett Baublitz came back and set another PR in the 800m, earning his second gold medal of the day. He pulled ahead of Jim Thorpe’s Samuel Hydro over the final 50m of the race. He joins Ephrata’s Tyler Shue as two of the top middle-distance returners in the state next year. Schuylkill Valley freshman Luke Seymour finished 6th in 1:57.41. He will be one to watch over the next several years. Trinity senior Will Bucher took the final spot on the medal stand with his 8th place finish as 5th-9th place were only separated by .55s.
4x800m relays in the state of Pennsylvania are often incredibly competitive and some of the fastest in the entire country. This year was no different. Leading our local contingent were the Cedar Crest boys who ran a season best time of 7:48.67 and placed 5th. That time earns them a US#20 ranking! State College Area placed 8th in the event lowering their season best to 7:51.46. Warwick also set a new season best when they ran 7:55.56, placing 10th.