Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Track and Field Athletes Preparing for States after Strong Showing at Districts

More than 50 student-athletes from the Diocese’s high schools competed in track and field events at the district-championship level May 17 and 18, vying for top spots on the medals stand to punch their tickets to the PIAA State Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University on Memorial Day weekend.

This year’s district competitions challenged competitors in rainy conditions – both at the District 4 finals at Williamsport Area High School and the District 3 championships at Shippensburg, especially on a rain-plagued Saturday morning as events were kicking off.

Battling through the elements, a number of Diocesan high school students sprinted, jumped, heaved and catapulted their way to gold and silver medals and will compete for state medals this weekend.

In District 4, Olivia Kopitsky of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School in Mount Carmel won the shot put competition with a throw of 38’.07” to become a repeat champion in the event. She also placed second in the discus. In boys’ action, Billy Rishel earned silver in the 400 meter dash and was a member of the 4×400 team that won the district title. Kopitsky and Rishel are among several Lourdes students who compete for Mount Carmel Area High School through an athletics co-op.

In District 3 competition, Lancaster Catholic’s Margaret Bila and Trinity’s Emmma Holloway finished one and two in the discus, with Bila throwing 126’7” to win gold by more than 16 feet. A discus silver medalist in districts last year, Bila told the media that she worked hard to improve and “found motivation in not getting second again.”

Trinity’s high jump tandem of Julianna Prokop and Ashley Berkheimer earned gold and silver for their efforts in reaching 5 feet and 4’10”, respectively, as the rains lingered.

“I just went into it knowing that we’re all competing in the same conditions – it’s rainy and it’s wet and miserable. It was on us to jump well and we accomplished that,” Julianna said.

Ashley added that they pushed each other by competing together. “We always do a handshake before every jump, and I’ll do a little prayer so that God can help me push through it,” she said.

Another Shamrock soared to silver, as Trinity’s Adeline Woodward climbed to 11’06’ in the pole vault. Teammate Lila Shore earned silver medals in both of her competitions – the 800 meter and 1600 meter runs.

Elsewhere in field events, Trinity’s Jeremiah Hargrove won the boys’ triple jump with a distance of 45-00.75, and placed second in the javelin at 171-11, an inch shy of the gold-medal throw. In the boys’ high jump, fellow Shamrock Jaydon Gist completed a 6-foot attempt to earn silver, an inch shy of the winning distance.

On the track in District 3, Lancaster Catholic’s Brandon Way ran an 11.28 time in the 100 meter dash to take second place, and then joined Crusader teammates Caden Hummer, Charles Warren and Eli Cunningham in an exciting silver-medal performance of 43.84 in the 4×100 relay, narrowly missing gold by .04 seconds.

(Photos by Chris and Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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