Punxsy squads unable to overcome State College's depth on track

PUNXSUTAWNEY — With one of its biggest opponents on the schedule, State College, in town, the Punxsy boys' and girls' track and field teams were more focused on personal best times, distances and heights than individual victories Thursday at Jack LaMarca Memorial Stadium.

State College controlled both of Punxsy's squads — the girls won 115-35, and the boys were 105-45 victors — but the Chucks and Lady Chucks were still pleased with their performance.

"Going into this meet, we just told the girls, realistically, heads up, we cannot beat State College," Punxsy girls' head coach Barry Young said. "The girls did a great job. We can't look at the score today. We had so many personal bests. It doesn't show in the score."

For the Punxsy boys, it was their second of three events in four days. The Chucks will compete in today's Butler invitational, and head coach John Smith didn't want to overrun his kids.

"We knew we'd have a big meet coming up at Butler tomorrow, so we didn't want to totally expend all of our energy because we knew State College is tough," Smith said. "They were really tough on the track, and they have outstanding field performers."

Punxsy's girls won three events, with distance runner and senior Milea Schall leading the charge. She won the 1,600-meter run in 5:32 and 3,200-meter run in 11:42 — both career bests.

"I keep saying the word consistent with her, but that's the only word you can use with her," Young said.

The Lady Chucks' final win came from senior Timi Shiock, whose 4-10 leap won the high jump.

"Our seniors are scoring points, and that's the way it should be," Young said.

State College's girls won all three relays, as Punxsy's only relay victory came from the 4x800 Chucks. The foursome of Tom Wagner, Derick Kelly, Nathan Ward and A.J. Meterko won that event in 8:34.

Meterko, Kelly, Wagner and Kevin Hughes nearly won the 4x400 as well, but the Little Lions pulled away during the final 50 meters after Meterko set the pace during the first 400 meters.

"We just did that tonight to get off to a good start and be competitive. It was competitive right to the end," Smith said about running Meterko first in the 4x400. "The 4x8 relay team got us off to a good start. All the relays were good. We were happy that we ran pretty good times on them, even if we didn't win two of them."

Meterko also won an event on his own — the 1,600-meter run in 4:48. That was the Chucks' final victory on the track, while State College swept the sprinting events.

"We did the best we could," Smith said. "They're loaded with sprinters, and that really helped them out a lot."

Punxsy fared better in the field, as it won three events and was led by juniors Kevin Byars and Brody Morgan.

Byars won the triple jump (42-8) and was second in the long jump (19-2), and Morgan placed three times by winning the javelin (153-9) and shot put (45-1 3/4) and finishing second in the discus (111-7).

Punxsy also received a second-place height from Tyler Presloid in the pole vault (11-6), and both Stephen Stumpf (discus, 108-9) and Jesse Reichard (triple jump, 40-3) achieved third-place distances.

"In the field, we figured it would be close," Smith said. "If they took a first, we were pretty sure of taking a second or maybe a second and a third. That kind of helped in the field."

On the track, Dylan Lettie (110 hurdles, 18.2) and Hughes (400 dash, 55.0) were second for the Chucks, and Lettie (300 hurdles, 47.6), Meterko (800 run, 2:14) and Luke Fugate (3,200 run, 11:21) were third.

The Lady Chucks were also more successful in the field, with Nickita Martz taking second in the shot put (32-2) and javelin (98-10); Kirsten Dean finishing second in the long jump (13-9 1/2) and third in the triple jump (31-0); and Santana Smith earning two third-place throws in the shot put (29-7) and discus (87-11).

"Kirsten and Santana are two girls that are getting better and better," Young said. "A lot of our times, distances and heights are getting better."

The Lady Chucks' other second-place marks came from Karah Hollis (100 dash, 13.6, in a tie with State College's Mary Edwards) and Alexis Young (1,600 run, 5:35). Their other third-place marks came from Hollis (200 dash, 28.8); Aly Dickey (high jump, 4-6); and Jacque Barnett (javelin, 86-8).