BY Ed Farrell
Herald/Allied Assistant Sports Editor
MERCER COUNTY —
SHIPPENSBURG — This news bulletin just in: Mercer County athletes dominated during this weekend’s PIAA Track & Field Championships.
Specifically, Seth Grove Stadium became the personal playground of the Hickory High Lady Hornets.
Led by multiple medalists, including Lauren Lubarski, the program’s 1st athlete to garner gold in 2 different events, Hickory harvested the Class AA team title by edging Svenson Arts & Technology, 73-72.
Amongst Allied News area athletes, Grove City’s Dan Jaskowak led the way with a 2nd place in the Class AAA 3200-meter run.
“It’s truly amazing!” gushed co-head coach Mark Slezak. “We figured on paper that Svenson could score 90-some points and we thought, you know what? Maybe we could get 72 and come in second in the state. But we scored 73 and came in first!”
By mid-afternoon, shot-putters Jen Neider, Sophia Fustos and Taylor Woods — with a 1-3-4 finish — secured the school’s 1st track & field state championship (after runner-up berths last year and 1990) and 2nd commonwealth crown in the institution’s history (1989 football AA title).
“Everybody that came here did their very best, they met expectations. There’s always a couple disappointments — but, boy, they met our expectations and their own, and that’s why we won,” Slezak added.
Neider notched a gold medal-winning throw of 45-1 (Fustos, 40-1; Woods, 39-8). She was part of the Lady Hornets’ gold-silver-bronze sweep of the discus on Friday, led by Lubarski and Woods. Lubarski also won last year’s AA high-jump crown.
Good Greyhounds’ bloodlines continued for the Yohman family. Following in the footsteps of his brother Paul, Wilmington junior John Yohman yanked the discus 177-10 to garner gold Saturday morning.
Yohman cited his friendly competition with Hickory’s gold medal-winning shot-putter Matt Bell (also the 4th-place finisher in the discus at 157-8), as well as Wilmington assistant coach Brandon Phillian and, naturally, his older brother, both of whom taught technique.
“Coach Phillian’s the one who’s always coached me, but my brother Paul threw in college (Youngstown State University), and he’s a great coach without actually being a certified coach. Those two collaborate on Saturday’s action commenced with the legend of Morgan Richards continuing to grow.
Richards raced to a personal-best and school-record 11:02.10 in the 3200-meter run in the morning, then added a 2nd bronze in the afternoon in the 1600-meter run (5:01.43).
Her double-double concluded her 4th consecutive appearance on the statewide stage.
According to Hickory co-coach Mark Slezak, Richards has recorded medals in 7 straight state championship events, including cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field.
Richards’ alter-ego, Grove City senior Dan Jaskowak, was attempting to duplicate her 1600-3200 double-double, and actually did her one better by securing silver in a time of 9:14.79 in the 2-mile metric marathon; however he did not place in the latter (4:30.78).
“My game-plan going in was to try to run a nine-forty-nine, nine-fifty, just to finish, ’cause I really wanted to save up for the mile and really do well there,” Jaskowak explained. “But I felt good and felt I could take it from where I was, so I just kept going. I wasn’t exactly expecting a silver medal in the two-mile, I was kind’ve going into the race kind’ve bummed out, but that kind’ve angered something in me, and I went for it.”
Securing silver medals were West Middlesex’s Clay Allen and Jeremy Jancso. Allen annexed an 11.03 clocking in the 100-meter dash and a 22.09 in the 200, while Jancso long-jumped 22-41⁄2.
Allen also anchored the Big Reds’ sprint-relay foursome, which edged defending commonwealth kingpin Hickory, 42.70 to 43.03, in a 3rd-4th finish.
Allen’s relay mates included Sebastian Grasso and Colin and Luke Patten, while Hickory’s quartet included Markus Schumacher, Matt Voytik, Kenny Ezi-Ashi and DeShawn Colemen.
Included among other Mercer Countians who also medaled were: Greenville’s Nico Zahniser (3rd, 400-meter dash, 49.43); Lubarski — bound for East Carolina University — brought home bronze in the javelin (138-4), just slightly shy of her PR (147-9); shot-putters Emily Campbell of Slippery Rock (39-4) and West Middlesex’s Rachel DeMaria (37-11); Kennedy Catholic’s Marina Wareham (7th, 400, 58.8), who just missed her PR of 58.07, but still moved up one place from last year’s showing); Slippery Rock’s Ryan Thompson, who ended 8th (1:54.72) in the 800-meter run, and high-jumpers Johnathon Jacoway of Sharon and Hickory’s John Mudrey, who shared 6th, clearing 6-4.
Area athletes who competed, but did not place Saturday included: Jacoway (19-81⁄4) and his Lady Tigers’ teammate Sabol Csatlos (javelin, 117-8; shot put 35-111⁄2); West Middlesex discus-thrower Trevor Harrison (148-2, missing a medal by less than 4 feet); Wareham (2:21.49) and Greenville’s Zach Anderson (1:58.78) in the 800, and high-jumper Jancso (6-2).
Grove City high-hurdler Eliza Lowe advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, but did not reach the finals after turning in a 15.55 effort.
Her teammate, pole-vaulter Kelly Baglia, sustained an injury during an awkward landing during one of her initial attempts. Baglia was unable to continue in the competition.
On Friday, three Hickory High athletes captured gold medals — Matt Bell in the shot put, Lubarski in the discus and Corrin Regginello in the high jump.
Matt Bell, after settling for silver last year, put the shot 59 feet, 63⁄4 inches to garner gold. The behemoth Bell — bound for Youngstown State University as a football lineman and also intending to continue throwing — earned his 2nd state gold medal in a matter of months, including his indoors title.
Wilmington’s John Yoh-man (58-31⁄2), Sharon’s ZachPorterfield (54-2) and Hickory’s Luke Lewis (52-2) finished 2nd, 5th and 7th, respectively, behind Bell.
Lady Hornets Lu-
barski (142-6), Woods (139-2) and Neider (personal-best 135-8) notched gold, silver and bronze in the discus. Ironically, mere moments after Lubarski launched her winning throw, teammate Corrin Regginello recorded a personal best, equalling 5-foot-5 in the high jump to continue Hickory’s gold rush.
A year ago, Lubarski — while Regginello’s broken collarbone was mending — won the Class AA high-jump gold. However Lubarski, missing on a trio of attempts at 5-2 at last week’s District 10 Championships, did not qualify for this year’s state meet, creating an opening for Regginello’s return.
A 2-time state qualifier as a freshman and sophomore, Regginello rebounded from breaking her collarbone April 28, 2011 to return with a resolve to Shippensburg.
Among other Mercer County-area athletes who placed on Friday:
Greenville’s Rebekah Petty pole-vaulted a personal best-equalling 12 feet, to share the silver medal with Central Columbia’s Virginia LaMacchia.
Sharon junior triple-jumper Johnathon Jacoway eclipsed his own previous school standard (45-23⁄4) by more than 3 inches (45-5) to earn the bronze medal.
Other medal-winners included: Lakeview junior high-jumper Courtney King collected a bronze, tying with Milton Area’s Joselyn Pascual at 5-2; West Middlesex junior discus-thrower Rachel DeMaria (6th, 118-8), senior Wilmington long-jumper Alexis King (3rd, 17-91⁄4), who was making her 3rd consecutive trip to Shippensburg (finishing 4th in last year’s long jump); her Greyhounds teammate Tyler Donati, who ended 8th in the javelin (169-3).
Among the area aggregation who did not advance to Saturday’s finals: Slippery Rock girls (9:54.53), Hickory girls (10:33.88), and Grove City girls (10:04.16) and boys (8:31.37) distance-relay teams; Grove City (51.03) and Wilmington (52.58) girls 4x1 relays; Grove City 400-meter sprinter Lauren Decker (1:01.66), and a pair of hurdlers in Grove City’s Eliza Lowe (highs, 15.21) and Reynolds’ Clayton Stoyer (intermediates, 40.52), and Grove City girls and West Middlesex boys (3:40.40) mile relays.
Those who did not advance to today’s semifinals: Grove City sprinters Courtney Corbin (13.14) and Erik Record (11.26), a junior and senior, respectively; high-hurdlers Kristen Belko (16.67) of Hickory and Slippery Rock’s Heather Urbaniak (DQ’d), and 200-meter sprinters Emily Moroco (26.78) of Reynolds and West Middlesex’s Sebastian Grasso (23.19).
Countians who did not place included: long-jumpers Mariah Burns of Wilmington (16-101⁄4) and Hickory’s Allyssa McClure (16-3) and Lubarski (16-1); Wilmington shot-putter Bryn Kaufman (51-81⁄2), and Greenville high-jumper Linda Roldan (5-2). Also, triple-jumpers Brian Jones (44-11) and Kyle Trinch (44-81⁄2) of George Junior Republic and Grove City, respectively; pole-vaulters Luke Patten (13-6) of West Middlesex and Reynolds’ Alex Kilgore (13-0). Patten — as with Roldan, ended in a 9th-place deadlock, narrowly missing medals — and Sharon discus-thrower Marketta Jackson (96-8).