Coach Young likes what he sees, ECC drops Lady Chucks

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” With some mechanical difficulties preventing Hollidaysburg's girls' track team from making the trip to Punxsy, the pair of dual meets the Lady Chucks had scheduled for Tuesday turned into a single dual meet against Elk County Catholic, and the Lady Crusaders earned an 87-63 victory over Punxsy in the season opener.

Despite the final result, Punxsy head coach Barry Young was pleased with his squad's performance against a difficult ECC team.

"It was pretty close to what I expected," Young said. "Elk County is an outstanding track team, and we were close to them for a while. They had some outstanding girls, though, who were able to score a lot of points."

ECC jumped out to an early lead in the track events with a win in the 4x800-meter relay giving the Lady Crusaders the meet's first five points.

In the next track event, Punxsy took its first points when Lindsay Reed took second place with a time of 19.2 seconds.

The Lady Chucks grabbed their a first place finish in the 100-meter dash, where Karah Hollis finished in 12.9 seconds.

"Karah Hollis got off to a good start with her times today," Young said. "It was good to see her running so well."

Punxsy kept it close with a second place finish by Alexis Young in the 1600-meter run and second- and third-place finishes for Juliann Boddorf and Emily Reitz, respectively, in the 400-meter dash.

Next up was the 4x100-meter relay, and Punxsy's squad โ€” consisting of Maija Carol, Mikayla Ishman, Kayla Cameron and Hollis โ€” earned five points by defeating the ECC crew with a time of 56.3 seconds.

Reitz picked up what Young called a bit of a surprising win as a newcomer to the program in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 54.5, defeating a pair of ECC girls.

"Emily's job in the 300-meter hurdles was a very pleasant surprise for us. We didn't expect that, because that event was a question mark for us, but she stepped in and did a really good job for us."

Young picked up a second second-place finish in the 800-meter run behind Kennedy Weisner, who Young said is earning talks of making a run at the state championship in some events this year.

Punxsy packed a one-two punch in the 200-meter dash, where Hollis grabbed first with a time of 27.9 seconds, and Boddorf was right behind her with a time of 28.4.

At that point, Punxsy trailed the track events by just one point, 37-36, but Ala Small's second-place finish in the 3200-meter run was Punxsy's final opportunity to score, as Weisner ran an impressive 11:11 to win the event. ECC claimed the 4x400-meter relay, as well, to give the Lady Crusaders a 48-39 edge in track.

Hollis earned her fourth place in the first of the field events, the high jump, with a third-place height of four feet, six inches.

Kirsten Dean, Punxsy's leading senior jumper, earned first-place finishes in both the long jump (15 feet, 2 inches) and triple jump (34 feet). Punxsy's Aly Dickey also placed with a triple jump of 30 feet, 3 3/4-inches.

In the shot put, Alexis Minich placed second at 29 feet, two inches, and teammate Santana Smith finished third with a shot of 29 feet.

Elizabeth Nicklas, of ECC, won the shot at 29 feet, 10 inches.

Nicklas also won the discus with a distance of 93 feet, 10 inches, with Minich and Smith finishing second and third, respectively, again. Minich threw the discus 86 feet, three inches, and Smith hurled it 85 feet, four inches.

In the javelin, Nicklas completed the sweep by throwing 72 feet, 11 inches, and Smith placed second just eight inches behind.

Rachel Barnett also placed for Punxsy with a distance of 71 feet, one inch.

Overall, ECC took the field events, 39-24.

For the first meet, Young was pleased with what he saw.

"As a team, we did not do too badly," he said. "We had a lot of good performances, but sometimes, you just have to give credit to the other team. They were a better team than us today. We got the jitters out of the way. We had some outstanding performances."

Young saw strong performances out of many of his athletes, and he was clear with his girls after the meet that the team loss isn't the end of the world.

"Lots of the girls did really well," he said. "It's just one of those days where the other team was better. The sun'll come up tomorrow, and we're going to be just fine."

The Lady Chucks are off until they take on the Lady Raiders of Brookville, St. Marys and Altoona April 3.