BROOKVILLE — On a chilly day along Interstate-80, Punxsy was still able to record many personal best efforts amongst a 22-team field at Saturday’s 15th Annual DeMan’s track and field invitational.
The Chucks boys, highlighted by Kevin Hughes' and Will Harmon’s days, totaled four first places, while the Punxsy girls had three top- three placings in the non-team scoring event.
As a whole, the Punxsy boys had a good day with various personal best performances recorded.
“It was a 22-team event with no team scores kept but times, distances and places meaning a lot,” explained Punxsy head coach John Smith. “We bested our seeds in many events and came away with many personal bests in performances.”
Smith continued, “Everyone seemed to step it up a notch, which is a good thing with the Chucks facing undefeated DuBois (today) at home. We are hoping for a good weather day and similar results.”
The lone individual Punxsy first-place winner was Hughes. The defending 400-meter champion blazed his way to a time of 50.16 to best Brookville’s Evan Matheny (51.86).
“Kevin Hughes avenged an earlier-season loss to Brookville’s Matheny by setting a new meet record time of 50.16, while also besting top seed Rocco Gratta of Youngsville,” explained Smith.
Senior Harmon continues to make his mark on the Punxsy track scene.
Harmon helped both the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays take the top placings. The Chuck also came in the top four in two other events.
The 4x100-meter team of Travis Perry, Tommy Renwick, Matt Burke and Harmon took down DuBois’ entry 46.23 to 46.34.
In the 4x400-meter relay, Punxsy’s Eric Ingros, Nate Ward, Harmon and Hughes produced a dominant outing. The quartet won the relay by just under five seconds in 3:34.97.
Individually, Harmon ran to a strong third place (11.93) in the 100-meter dash and added a fourth place in the 200-meter dash (24.15).
The outstanding Punxsy relay groupings recorded a fourth place in the 4x800 meters. Zach Moore, Luke Fugate, Seth Burkett and Ingros ran to their season best time of 8:46.35 for the fourth place.
Along with being part of the 4x400 relay, Ward posted two personal bests. The senior had his first personal best when he took third in the 800 meters (2:07.1). He made it an even better day with another personal best in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:42.79 for fourth.
In the same 1600 meters, Jerad Meterko joined the personal best producing Chucks with a final time of 4:59.21 (10th).
Sophomore Bo Dinger showed strongly in the 3200 meters. Dinger went across the finish line in fourth (10:23.85) but was just 10 seconds behind the highly-talented Aziz Yousif of Bradford.
Tanner Evans led the Punxsy field event athletes. Evans leaped 19-3¼ for third in the long jump.
Jordan London threw 117-9 in the discus for fifth.
Dylan Lettie had a strong day in the hurdles with seventh-place finishes in both the 110-meter (16.87) and 300-meter (44.71) hurdle events.
Perry Arrington rounded out the Punxsy highlights with a pole vault of 10-9 for seventh.
With the large field of area athletes, the Punxsy girls claimed eight top-six finishes for their efforts.
“I thought we did very well. There were 22 teams and a lot of times with 22 teams, getting a first-place finish can be tough,” commented Lady Chucks head coach Barry Young. “Even though, we did not have an individual champ, I thought we performed well. Many girls, who didn't place, had personal best performances, which is very encouraging going on to other meets.”
The Lady Chucks top placing athlete came in Juliann Boddorf. The junior ran to a time of 1:01.7 for a runner-up finish in the 400-meter dash.
“She is just so consistent, as she was the same last year. We know going into a meet what Juliann is going to run, basically,” said Young. “She is a very consistent person and never really has a bad meet, and as a coach, that’s something you really like.”
As was the case last week in the home dual meet, Ala Small came up with a strong 3200-meter run performance. Small garnered third in the event (12:50.09).
“That third-place finish was a true surprise,” admitted Young. “She came from eighth place in the last lap to third down the stretch. She is a really strong finisher in a race.”
Small also added a sixth-place finish in the 1600-meter run (5:55.89).
The Punxsy top performer in the event was senior Alexis Young, who took fourth (5:52.97).
Karah Hollis made her mark with an effort of 4-9 in the high jump for fourth.
“That was a nice high jump for Karah. She’s another one that has been consistent. She’s a senior, and she’s scored a lot of points for us over the years,” noted Young.
In the field throwing events, Alexis Minich was the Punxsy leader. Minich fired off a throw of 91-3 for third in the discus after taking sixth (31-4) in the shot put.
Santana Smith completed the throwers with a sixth-place throw of 83-10 in the discus.
“I was really pleased with our throwing events. The throwing events have done very well for us this year. Coach (Joel) Martin does a great job with them,” finished Young.
Both Punxsy track and field teams will be back at home today when they host rival DuBois starting at 4 p.m. in a dual meet.