It’s going to be a hot one at the District 3 Track and Field Championships this weekend. Action starts Friday afternoon at Shippensburg University and continues throughout the day on Saturday. Class AA and Class AAA competitions are mixed throughout both days. For anyone present at the 2021 championships, Friday’s weather will be reminiscent of what last season’s Friday weather was like. Staying well-hydrated and cool will be as much of a strategy for the athletes as the events.
The top 5 finishers will qualify for the state meet. The next 3 individuals (up to 8 total) can advance to the state meet if they hit the state qualifying standard.
Follow along with “centralparunner” on twitter and Instagram for live updates and videos from the weekend!
Live Results (to be updated when available)
Projected team scores based on posted entries/performance list:
The girls team race has tightened a bit over the past couple of weeks. The Cumberland Valley girls are loaded with talent, but come District Championship time decisions needed to be made. Mia Boardman (sr) and Riley Ebersole (jr) are both focusing their efforts on the 400m, 4x100m, and 4x400m relays, thereforethe Eagles project 0 points in the 200m. The rise of CV’s 4x800m relay should help absorb the loss of points from the 200m. Ashley Pines (jr) will run for the 800m title in what should be one of the most competitive fields of the day. She will also run important legs on the 4x400m and 4x800m relays as well.
For as strong as Cumberland Valley is in the relays, JP McCaskey may actually outscore the Eagles in those 3 events. As a fan, I can only hope that the District 3 title comes down to whoever wins the 4x400m relay! The meet record of 3:52 set by Warwick in 2019 could be in jeopardy. Isabella Shertzer (so – 800m, 4x400m, 4x800m), Milana Breuninger (jr – 800m, 4x800m), Kamyah Wright (jr – 200m, 4x100m, 4x400m), Lucie De Syon (jr – 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m), and Amyrah Kellam (so – javelin) will be counted on to score big points. Kamiah Wright (jr) will focus her energy on helping the McCaskey relays.
Carlisle enters the weekend with team title aspirations as well. Vanessa Alder (jr) is expected to score points in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m. Will she run on Carlisle’s 4th ranked 4x800m relay? The distance quad has been done before, most recently as last season with Caryn Rippey doing so for Wilson (she may be going for it again this season as well). Rhyan Mitchell (jr) and Ally Richwine (sr) have the potential to outscore their jumps projections above and Mitchell is also one of the top seeds in the 100m. Eva Leatherman (sr) is the #2 seed in the 300mH.
Event by Event Previews:
Let’s start with the three events on paper that appear to be the most competitive.
Based on state rankings, the girls discus could be the most competitive of the weekend. 9 of the states top 25 are represented by D3AAA competitors. Ella Lucas (jr, Warwick) is the top seed, entering the weekend with a best of 145-10. Harrisburg’s Ericka Jackson (jr) has been dominant in all three throwing disciplines this season and is the #2 seed in the discus with her 140-1 mark. Cumberland Valley could steal a few points for the team in this event with Lauren Bellows (sr) entering as the 9th seed.
8 of the states top 25 will be competing in the 3200m Friday evening. Olivia Walter (sr, Mechanicsburg) has been running great all season. Her time of 10:36.68 is tops in the field. 6 girls in total enter with season best times under 11 minutes and the 7th, Camy Kiser (jr, Chambersburg), has run 11:00. If the heat doesnt slow this group down, we could see as many as 10+ ladies break the 11-min mark. Keep an eye on Wilson’s Katie Dallas (sr, Wilson). She is a scary 12th seed. If she and Caryn Rippey (sr) run well we could be adding Wilson to team title talks. Both Dallas (800m, 3200m, 4x400m, 4x800m) and Rippey (800m, 1600m, 3200m, 4x800m) are scheduled to run 4 events this weekend.
8 girls from D3AAA are ranked within the top 25 in the state with 7 competing on Saturday. Laila Campbell is the only athlete from this list not entered in the 400m (more on her later). The Cumberland Valley duo of Mia Boardman (sr) and Riley Ebersole (jr) are ranked #1 and #2, but they will face a stiff challenge from Mid-Penn running-mate Jillian Sydnor (jr, Shippensburg). Sydnor enters with some momentum following her 400m victory and new PR from the Mid-Penn Championships. Jianna Long (so, Ephrata) won the LL League title in 57.01.
Laila Campbell‘s (so, Spring Grove) 11.24 100m run time from YAIAAs was faster than the PA State Record run by Thelma Davies back in 2018. It may not officially go down as a state record without an official wind reading, but she gets another crack at it this weekend. She’s not running the 400m and will focus her efforts on the short sprints. The heat wont be the only thing burning up the track! If not for Campbell, we would all be talking about Hershey’s Soleil Morrison (so) who broke the Mid-Penn Championship 100m record last weekend, running 11.96.
Laila Campbell enters as the heavy favorite in the 200m. Of all the events on Saturday, this one appears to have the most “opt-outs” amongst top contenders, thus opening the door for some different competitors to claim one of the 5 state qualifying berths. Campbell holds a 1.3s second advantage over her closest competitor which happens to be Shippensburg’s Jillian Sydnor. Sydnor’s 24.88 time ranks 7th in PA.
4 athletes are entered with times inside the state top 25. I have a feeling more than 4 will leave the meet Saturday ranked inside the top 25. This is a tightly bunched field, led by Wilson’s Katie Dallas. She was last year’s state runner-up in the 800m and has posted a time of 2:14.51 so far this year. Ashley Pines (jr, Cumberland Valley) is close behind with a time of 2:14.73. Twin Valley’s Sarah Ann Miller (jr) and JP McCaskey’s Isabella Shertzer (so) have both run under 2:16. In total, 11 competitors in the field have run sub 2:20.
With 10 girls entered with season best times under the state qualifying standard of 5:10.00 you can be assured of a great race. 8 of the 10 will be doubling back from the 3200m the evening before. The 2 that aren’t – Allie Engle (sr, Northern) and Sydney Werner (jr, Conrad Weiser). Vanessa Alder (jr, Carlisle) is the top seed with the 4:53.07 time she ran at the Shippensburg Invitational. Wilson’s Caryn Rippey is the #2 seed and owns a season best and PR time of 4:58.80. Keep an eye on Chambersburg’s Camy Kiser (jr). She is peaking at the right time and is coming off of a runner-up performance at the Mid-Penn Championships where she ran a new PR of 4:59.78. Olivia Walter (sr, Mechanicsburg) and Lydia Tolerico (sr, Dallastown) also ran PRs at their Conference Championships and shouldn’t be counted out. This could end up being the race of the day.
Maddy Brooks (jr, Bishop McDevitt) is the favorite to claim both hurdle titles at Shippensburg. She should face good competition in the 100mH from Susquehannock’s Rileigh Marks (jr), Garden Spot’s Bryna Kelly (sr), and New Oxford’s Maya Richwine (jr). Marks (YAIAA) and Kelly (LL League) won their conference titles.
Eva Leatherman (sr, Carlisle) is the #2 seed in the 300mH and has run 46.44 on the year. Chanel Hercules (jr, Fleetwood) is a newcomer to the event and most recently captured the BCIAA title in a new PR and state #25 time of 46.45. Someone outside of the top 8 seeds to keep an eye on is Dover Area’s Gemma Galligani (jr). She has been shaving time of her PRs in both hurdle events all season long. Another PR could have her back in Shippensburg next weekend for states.
Annika Ermold (sr, Governor Mifflin) was nursing a lower leg injury 4 weeks ago, but has bounced back in a big way. She has several throws over 40-feet in recent weeks. Ermold holds a lot of post-season experience and success and should be ready to go this weekend. Harrisburg’s Ericka Jackson (jr) also enters with a season best throw over 40-feet. Should be a fun competition.
The Javelin is an event that could have significant team score implications. This is an event where JP McCaskey could close the gap between themselves and Cumberland Valley in the projected team scores. The Red Tornadoes have two competitors entered amongst the top 7 seeds and could score above their projected 10 points. Kaylla Williams (sr, Harrisburg) owns the top seed by 8-feet over McCaskey’s Amyrah Kellam (so). Lampeter Strasburg’s Maggie Swarr (jr) has thrown over 130-ft this year and is the 3rd seed.
Katie Becker (so, Warwick) has been the areas best high jumper all season. She was pushed at the LL League Championships by Maddie Knier (jr, Manheim Central), but eventually prevailed as victor, setting a new PR of 5-8. Knier would clear 5-6 for 2nd. They are your top 2 seeds.
This will be one of the more wide-open competitions of the day. 1.75 feet is all that separates the 1st seed from the 19th seed. Cumberland Valley and Bishop McDevitt both have 3 girls entered in this competition. For Cumberland Valley, scoring more than 1 point in this event goes into the plus column for the Eagles point total as they chase another district title. McDevitt could move into the team title talks with a big performance out of their 3 athletes. Chanel Hercules (jr, Fleetwood) is the top seed (17-11.75).
While not as deep as the long jump field, the top end talent is quite impressive. Rhyan Mitchell (jr, Carlsile) is ranked 5th in the state and has jumped over 38-ft this season. Rebecca Tirko (sr, Northern), Anne Bair (sr, Gettysburg), and Kate Etter (sr, Chambersburg) could all realistically walk away with the district title. All 4 may end up state medalists next weekend.
State Indoor Champion Katie Urbine (jr, Solanco) will be looking for a 13-ft clearance at Shippensburg on Friday afternoon. That would match her state indoor championship performance from this past winter. Expect a very close contest for the 5 automatic qualifying spots into states.