Two big changes impact the landscape of distance events at this year’s PIAA State Track and Field Championships. 1) There will be no trials for distance events. So, the 800m and 1600m will be run in 2 sections. 2) The 1600m has been moved to Friday morning at 9am. These changes increase the odds that top qualifiers will compete in all 3 distance events (4 events with the 4x800m included). This also put a larger emphasis on District qualification and the need to run fast for seeding purposes at states. Look for several medalists to come out of the “slower” of 2 sections.
Saturday – 1:55pm (AA Girls-AAA Girls-AA Boys-AAA Boys)
Anna Chamberlin (sr, Boiling Springs) ran 2:16.31 at Mid-Penns and claimed the District 3 title in 2:18.97. Not sure if she can challenge for gold, but a top 3 podium finish is well within reach. Abigail George (jr, Central Cambria) PR’d to win the District 6 title in 2:20.13. Claire Thomas (so, Lancaster Mennonite) has shown good range from 800-3200m and is entered as the 7th seed with her time of 2:21.58. Reagan Ryen (jr, Marion Center) is also in medal contention with her time of 2:21.77. This should be a very close competition for the 4th-8th place medals.
Very few competitors PR’d at the District 3 or 6 meets which means there are some top competitors who will be running in the first section. District 1, on the other hand, posted incredibly fast times at their championship meet. In fact, the top 7 entries are all from District 1. Katie Dallas (sr, Wilson), Milana Breuninger (jr, JP McCaskey), Gabby Keith (so, Exeter Township), and Ashley Pines (jr, Cumberland Valley) will be running in the “fast section.” Sarah Ann Miller (jr, Twin Valley) will be the top seed in the first section. Katie Dallas was the state runner-up last year and I would expect her to break up the the District 1 contingent seeded ahead of her. It will likely take a 2:14 time to medal this year which speaks to the incredible talent state-wide in the girls 800m. Both Katie Dallas and Ashley Pines have season best (SB) times under 2:15.
Deer Lakes senior Carson McCoy has run 1:53 so far this season. Luke Seymour (sr, Schuylkill Valley) has posted a SB of 1:54, but owns a 1:52 PR. Look for these two to battle it out for state gold on Saturday. These two will also battle in the 1600m on Friday. Mason Moore (sr, Lancaster Catholic) ran his SB at the LL League meet, running 1:57.95. The field appears to be wide open after the top 3-4 seeds with 10 guys running 1:58-1:59 at their district meets.
2 of the big benefactors of the new state schedule are Gary Martin and CJ Singleton. Singleton is looking to run all 4 distance events this weekend while Martin will be running 3, opting out of the 3200m. Martin has run 1:49 this year for 800m and could be looking to break the state championship record time of 1:48.72. Sean Adams (sr, State College) was one who did not benefit by the elimination of trials. He ran 1:52.02 two weeks ago at Mid-Penns, but his winning time of 1:55.99 will place him in section 1 of the 800m finals. With Anthony Engle (jr, Twin Valley – 1:54.26 SB) and Jacob Smith (sr, Warwick – 1:54.49 SB) also in section 1, you can expect some very fast times. Running in section 2 will be Cumberland Valley’s Sam de la Riva (sr – 1:54.42 SB). This is another very deep field.
Friday – 9:00am (AA Girls-AAA Girls-AA Boys-AAA Boys)
Anna Chamberlin will be busy this weekend. She will run the 1600m on Friday and then the 4x800m and 800m on Saturday. She enters the 1600m competition as the #2 seed and has run 5:05.55 this year. Close behind Chamberlin is Delaney Dumm (jr, Forest Hills). Dumm has a SB time of 5:06.09 and will look to keep pace with the leaders.
4 local athletes are entered who have SB times faster than 5:00. They are:
All 4 of the girls listed above will be running in the fast section of the 1600m run. Additionally, Claire Paci (so, Greencastle-Antrim) ran 4:56 for the full mile indoors. As long as section 1 posts fast times for section 2 to chase, it will likely take a sub 5-min 1600m to get onto the medal stand.
Luke Seymour ran a 4:16.53 PR to win the District 3 title. He was never pushed during the race. That will change on Friday as he competes against Deer Lakes senior Carson McCoy. McCoy posted a SB time of 4:13.19 at the Butler Invitational on April 23rd.
In what will likely be the fastest 1600m championship of all time in PA, 5 of the top 7 seeds belong to District 3 athletes. After setting the District 3 Championship 3200m record on Friday night, Weber Long (sr, Greencastle-Antrim) came back Saturday morning to win the 1600m in 4:13.37. He owns a SB time of 4:11.05 from the Shippensburg Invitational. The top 3 seeds in this event are all headed to the ACC upon graduation. Gary Martin is heading to Virginia, CJ Singleton is headed to Notre Dame, and Weber Long is going to Wake Forest. Just 6 weeks back into training from an injury suffered indoors, TJ Roden (jr, Central Dauphin) posted a PR of 4:14.66 to place 2nd to Long at District 3. What type of time will he throw down this weekend with an additional week on his feet? The big surprise at the District 3 meet was Cole Stevens. The freshman from Manheim Township dropped a 6 second PR to run what I believe to be the 2nd fastest 1600m time ever run by a freshman in PA (Craig Miller, also of Manheim Township, ran 4:14.26 at the 2003 state meet to place 3rd overall). Jacob Smith and Aidan Hodge (jr, Hempfield) have also been shedding time in their 1600m this season. Both could be looking for sub-4:15 times and top 5 finishes on Friday morning.
25 boys in class AAA broke 4:20 in the 1600m this season. That is more than any other year in history per the PAMilesplit database!
Saturday – 9:00am (AA Girls-AAA Girls-AA Boys-AAA Boys)
Delaney Dumm posted her SB and PR of 11:01 in winning the District 6 title by over 30-seconds. Jolena Quarzo is entered with a 10:49, but has run 10:27 on the season. Can Dumm keep it close and challenge for the win? Addie Cohen (so, Wyomissing) took home the District 3 title in a new PR time of 11:24.87. Braetan Peters (sr, Annville-Cleona) placed 2nd and owns a SB and PR time of 11:25.44 from the LL League Championships. Morgan Hess (sr, Juniata Valley) ran 11:27.53 at the Shippensburg Invite. All 3 should compete for a podium spot.
8 District 3 girls are seeded within the top 9 of the 3200m run. 12 girls from District 3 actually achieved the state qualifying standard, but only 8 were permitted to advance per rule. It was one of the greatest races I have ever watched in Central PA, or anywhere for that matter. Claire Paci took home the win in 10:38 with Kaitlyn Highduch (so, Governor Mifflin) getting the final qualifying spot in 10:51! Moon Area’s Mia Cochran (sr) has run the fastest time so far this season, posting a 10:30.26 on May 10th. The Arkansas commit (Cochran) may be the favorite, but she can expect a heavy contingent of Central PA girls willing to challenge her for state gold. Olivia Walter (sr, Mechanicsburg) has run the 2nd fastest time of the field, running 10:36.68 at the Shippensburg Invite. She is committed to Arkansas State, thus setting up a fun Arkansas vs Arkansas State showdown. Caryn Rippey (sr, Wilson), Lydia Tolerico (sr, Dallastown), Marissa Pritchett (sr, Northeastern), Camy Kiser (jr, Chambersburg), and Brooke Preputnick (jr, Hershey) are all strong medal threats. All of these ladies appear to be peaking at the right time and any of them could finish inside the top 3. I can’t wait to watch this one on Saturday morning!
Matthew Nawn (sr, Hanover) moved into medal contention following his PR and district 3 win in 9:38.42.
While not quite as dominant as the girls in District 3, the District 3 boys still have 8 of the top 13 entries for Saturday mornings final. Weber Long leads the way following his 9:06 performance at Districts. The senior owns an 8:58 PR from last year’s state championship meet. Look for he and Butler’s CJ Singleton to battle it out for the win. Colin Whitaker (so, Lampeter Strasburg) ran 9:07 at the Shippensburg Invitational. That time is the 3rd fastest amongst the field. He’ll look to bounce back from his 8th place finish from districts. Matthew O’Brien (jr, Susquehannock) has been tripling or quadrupling all season. That wont be the case this weekend where he has decided to focus all of his energy in the 3200m. Look for him to run with Singleton and Long up-front. Aidan Hodge looks ready to join the group out front at under 9:10. He has run sub 9:20 4 times this season and should challenge for a top 3 finish. Tyler Stevens (sr, Manheim Township) has PR’d in the 3200m in each of the past 2 weekends, running 9:19 at LL Leagues and then 9:17 at Districts. He could be ready for another time drop this weekend. Cole Perry (sr, Northeastern) ran his PR at the CY Fritz Invitational in late April, running 9:16. He is entered as the #9 seed. Kevin Shank (jr, Carlisle) was the surprise of the 3200m at District 3, dropping nearly 20 seconds to PR in 9:18. What might he have in store for states? Cole Adams (sr, York Suburban) also PR’d at District 3 running 9:20.
38 boys in PIAA Class AAA have run faster than 9:30 this season. As it was in the 1600m as well, that is more than any other year in history per the PAMilesplit database! This is the deepest distance running has ever been in PA history.