Four Punxsy athletes are headed to states
KANE — The ultimate goal for any athlete heading into the District IX AAA Track and Field Championships is to earn a berth to states, and Wednesday afternoon in Kane, four Punxsy athletes found out they'll be making that trip to Shippensburg next weekend for the PIAA state tournament.
One athlete, boys' runner Kevin Hughes — who is just a sophomore — qualified by finishing first in the district. Hughes' event was the 400-meter dash, and his time of 50.26 seconds was his best of the season and gave him first place by more than 1.3 seconds.
Another Chuck heading to the state tournament, as well, is senior Brody Morgan.
Although Morgan finished second in the javelin to Bradford powerhouse thrower David Reinhardt, Morgan's toss of 179-7 beat the state qualifying mark of 178 by more than a foot.
Punxsy head coach John Smith said he was proud of both athletes for reaching this goal, adding that Morgan's toss was a season-best throw. Morgan's second-place throw was more than 20 feet better than the third-place competitor's.
Morgan also placed second in another throwing event — the shot put — where his throw of 48-1 was second only to Reinhardt's 55-0.
On the girls' side, Punxsy head coach Barry Young also had two athletes for whom he could be especially happy in sprinter Juliann Boddorf and distance runner Alexis Young.
Leading up to the meet, Young said he had been preaching to his girls the importance of doing their best, even if it meant finishing second, as second-place finishers are often granted a bid to states if the first-place finisher passes on competing to focus on another state event.
That was the case for both Boddorf and Young thanks to DuBois runner Catherine Sheffo — who won both the 1600-meter run and the 400-meter dash at districts — deciding she would like to focus solely on the 800-meter run, where she has her best chance to compete at the state level.
Boddorf — who was also Punxsy's best finisher in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.07 seconds — took second behind Sheffo in the 400 with a time of 1:01.07.
Meanwhile, Young — who also finished well in the 800 with a third-place finish — earned her bid in the 1600-meter run, finishing second to Sheffo's 5:33.25.
Young was just three seconds off that pace with a time of 5:36.69.
A pair of Lady Chucks also finished second in their respective events, with Karah Hollis taking second in the 100-meter dash (13.41 seconds) and senior Kirsten Dean taking second in the triple jump (34-9.5).
Hollis also scored in the high jump, where she tied for third with a height of 4-11.
Alexis Minich had a successful day in the field, where she placed in a pair of events with third-place points in both the shot put (31-7) and the discus (100-5).
Her fellow thrower, Sydni Bowers, also placed with a fourth in the shot put (30-3.5).
Freshman distance runner Ala Small also earned points for the Lady Chucks, finishing fourth in the 3200-meter run with a time of 12:50.77.
A pair of Lady Chucks finished sixth, just missing points, in junior Anna Monyak (pole vault, 7-6) and sophomore Emily Reitz (300-meter hurdles, 54.74 seconds).
Hannah Rummel was Punxsy's top finisher in the long jump with a jump of 13-6.
Coach Young said he was proud of his team's performance, and he was looking forward to Alexis Young and Boddorf — both underclassmen — gaining the valuable experience of heading to states.
On the boys' end, the Chucks finished in third overall, behind both Bradford and DuBois, with 61 points.
Junior Nathan Ward finished second for Punxsy, giving it some major points, and Jerad Meterko finished in fifth in the 1600 to place.
Ward also just missed placing in the 800-meter run, where his time of 2:10.28 was sixth-best.
Dylan Lettie had an impressive day both on the track and in the field, Smith said.
On the track, he finished third overall in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 16.78 to lead the Chucks, and his fifth-place time of 43.92 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles gave him his second point-winning finish of the meet.
His best finish, though, came in the high jump, where his jump of 5-9 was just edged by Bradford's David Ackerman at 5-11.
Senior Tyler Presloid also scored in a pair of events with a second-place finish in the pole vault (12-6) just behind Bradford's Brandon Teribery (13-6) and a fifth-place score in the long jump (19-2.5).
Freshman distance runner Bo Dinger finished third in the longest event — the 3200-meter run — with a time of 10:41.03 behind Bradford's strong distance runner, Aziz Yousif, and his St. Marys counterpart, Gideon Woelfel.
A pair of Chucks placed in the discus, with junior Jordan London (132-6) taking fourth and senior Stephen Stumpf (117-6) just behind him in fifth.
Senior Kevin Byars also had what Smith called a "very strong jump in a very strong field," leaping 41-6 in the triple jump for a fourth-place finish.
In addition to Hughes' victory in the 400, his teammate Eric Ingros also finished fifth in the 400 to earn a point in the meet.