By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
SHIPPENSBURG -- The first trip to the PIAA meet at Shippensburg University can be an eye-opening trip for a freshman.
Danville's Mackenzie Jones was no different.
The District 4 Class AAA champion in the 3,200 meters, set a PR (personal record) of 11 minutes, 5.45 seconds in finishing 16th on Saturday at the state meet.
"I wanted to go under 11, but I still got my PR, so I'm happy," Jones said. "It was a hard race. It was like a war zone. It was like everybody for themselves."
However, Jones knows she can certainly use it as a learning experience.
"I know what to expect (now)," Jones said. "Coming in here, I saw all the people warming up, then watching starts of races, you see people getting boxed in. It was intimidating. When you get out there and the race starts, it might take a while, but you get used it."
Southern Columbia's Cody Pavlick was also watching, but his focus was on the Class AAA discus throwers on Friday.
"Watching some of those throws on Friday (in AAA), I tried not to let it get in my head, and I just buckled down and I focused," Pavlick said after winning the seventh place medal in Saturday's Class AA discus event. I was focused and I'm really happy with my place today.
Like most of his fellow athletes, the wind was something he had to battle. "At some points in time the wind was blowing right into us and some of the throws barely went over 130 feet and it was a big game-changer on how some of the kids threw.
"It was pretty hard to throw today at some points," he said.
But, as he did with other distractions, he tried to not allow the windy conditions to get into his head.