BROOKVILLE — Punxsy seniors Nickita Martz and Milea Schall felt pressure to perform for different reasons at the District IX Class AAA Track and Field Championships Thursday in Brookville.
Martz, a three-time champion in the javelin, was in search of a four-peat. Schall, who was seeded first in the 3,200-meter run, was trying to reach the state track meet for the first time ever.
Both girls accomplished their goals, and they did it by blowing away the competition.
Although Martz won a javelin championship during her first three years with the Lady Chucks, she was nervous about falling short during her final season. Those nerves quickly subsided once her first heave went 123-5 — a throw that stood as the district title-winning mark.
"I was so scared. As soon as I threw that, all the stress was gone," Martz said. "I was just there to have a good time after that."
Even though she was the reigning three-time champion, Martz was seeded second to Bradford's Emily Marshall entering districts due to their best throws in 2011 counting toward their seedings. The second-seeding served as extra motivation for Martz.
"I would rather be seeded second. It makes me go hard, and I'm not (overconfident)," Martz said. "Having Emily ahead of me kind of made me a little stronger."
Martz beat Marshall (108-3) by more than 15 feet. Punxsy senior Jacque Barnett finished a close third with a throw of 106-11.
Punxsy first-year head coach Barry Young said that all this success couldn't have happened to a nicer girl.
"Winning four-straight championships is pretty incredible," he said. "She's a great kid."
Schall didn't have the luxury of having someone push her. Still, she won the 3,200 run in 11:43.54, or 37 seconds better than Punxsy senior Shannon Byerly, who finished second in 12:20.54 The next finisher was Bradford's Myriah Wiseman in 12:34.84.
The senior, who is a two-time district cross country champion, hadn't won a district track title until Thursday.
"I feels awesome because I've been wanting to go to states since my freshman year," Schall said. "It's nice to finally be able to go."
Byerly and Wiseman were able to keep pace with Schall for the first two laps, but as lap Nos. 3 through 8 transpired, Schall began to pull away more and more.
"She sets the pace from the very beginning," Young said. "If you can keep up with her, you may beat her, but sometimes, it's pretty tough to keep up with her."
When the race was over, and the district title was hers, Schall was happy with the weather and relieved that she's headed to states.
"It was a beautiful day for a run," Schall said. "I felt like it was a good race, and I'm kind of glad that it's over. It feels nice that it's done."
Martz and Schall's teammates, Byerly, Timi Shiock and Karah Hollis, came close to district titles. All three had to settle for runner-up status in their respective events.
Shiock, a senior, placed in a tie for second in the high jump. Shiock and DuBois junior Amber Hryn, who both finished with a height of 4-11, were unable to clear 5-1 on three tries. On her third try, DuBois junior Kaitlyn Corby surpassed 5-1 for the district title.
"Timi could have won it," Young said. "Timi's always been there for the last four years, consistently scoring for us."
Hollis, a sophomore, was seeded second after the 100-meter dash preliminaries. She improved her preliminary time of 13.44 seconds to 13.24 in the final, but DuBois freshman Chereese Langley won in 12.94.
Young was excited about the 200- and 400-meter dash performances by freshman Juliann Boddorf. She was in the slower heat for both events, but earned a fifth-place medal in both dashes in 28.14 and 63.74 seconds, respectively.
"That was pretty incredible, the way she increased her times," Young said. "That was a great day for Juliann."