The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 24, 2014

High School Track: Valley boys bring home 13 medals Saturday

SHIPPENSBURG — After winning the Class AA bronze medal in the 110-meter high hurdles Saturday at the PIAA Championships, Southern Columbia’s Luke Rarig said his ankle felt pretty good — for the moment.

“I can’t feel (the pain) right now,” he said, “but I’m sure in the next couple minutes it will be there.”

He was right about that, but he also found it in himself to win another medal as he finished eighth in the 300 intermediate hurdles.

Rarig, who has been nursing a bum ankle for much of the season, ran the 110s in 14.62 seconds and the 300s in 40.4.

Saturday’s performance was an improvement for Rarig, a junior, who won one medal a year ago, sixth in the high hurdles. East Juniata’s David Brantley placed eighth in the same race.

And it was a banner day for Valley athletes, as 12 of them collectively took home 13 medals along with Lewisburg’s 3200 relay team.

Shikellamy’s Ryan Wary, in his final state championship meet, claimed his school’s first state track medal, taking eighth place in the AAA 300 hurdles in 39.93.

Lewisburg’s Nicholas Scullin anchored the fifth-place AA 3200 relay team (season- and area-best 8:10.24) and also finished fifth in the 800 run (1:56.52).

The latter was a showcase for District 4 as Mount Carmel’s David Fletcher and Southern Columbia’s Andrew Steely also medaled, taking fourth and fifth, respectively, in 1:55.98 and 1:57.47.

Southern’s Cody Pavlick finished fourth in the AA discus (151-11) and Milton’s Josh Brown took eighth in the AAA javelin (187-1).

Millersburg’s Philip Witmer finished in a tie for seventh in the AA high jump at 6-2.

Nate Bartos, Mount Carmel, opened the day with a seventh-place finish in the AA 3200 run in 9:39.95; Danville’s Tyler Vella won his second consecutive eighth-place medal in the AA 1600 (4:26.13); and Elias George, Warrior Run, took seventh in the AA 400 (50.95).

For the third season, Rarig did not make the finals in the long jump but just missed a big jump when he was off the board “by a centimeter.”

After that, he was determined to go hard in the high hurdles because, “I didn’t want to go home empty-handed.”

He considered backing off in the 300 hurdles, but, “When I got over the third hurdle and I saw the people out in front of me and I peeked back and saw the other guys were still in the stagger, I thought I should go for it because I’m running it anyway.”

Brantley, who is headed to Shippensburg, said the morning’s 110 trials were grueling because of nerves. “It was the most crucial race I ever ran in my high school career.”

Getting a medal of any kind was the goal, he said, after being motivated by his ninth-place finish last year.

“I had a little more drive and I just came out and pushed harder to get over the hurdles, try to be as smooth as possible. The medal is the best gift of all, I’m really excited about that,” he said,

Scullin took the baton in 10th place and began passing runners to help his team, also comprising Joey Bhangdia, Anthony Passaniti and Luke Permyashkin, not only to a medal, but to a personal and new Valley best.

“When I was 10th I knew all the anchors were really fast so my goal was to get a medal and after I passed eighth and seventh, I was like, ‘Now from this point I want to see how good of a medal I can get.’”

Scullin made it happen on the backstretch, but, with about 200 meters to go, he hit the wall. “I tried to make a move into third but those guys stopped me,” he said.

Scullin said the relay performance had him pumped up for the 800.

Fletcher, a sophomore, wanted to do his personal best, which he did by nearly three seconds with a new area-best 1:55.90.

“I had one of my best starts this year,” he said.

Steely, a senior headed to Susquehanna University, said he has had some problems as a result of things getting into his head. “It was just nice to put that behind me and come up with a decent showing.”

Wary was proud of getting that elusive medal, but also elated that he ran sub-40-second 300s on consecutive days (39.27 in Friday’s trials).

“Qualifying meant so much to me and it was definitely a blessing from my Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” he said.

He made the semifinals of the 200 but was eliminated Saturday morning.

“It was an honor to just make the top 16 and be in the semifinals, but this (300 medal) is a success. The last three times I came down here I ran in the 43s and 42s. To get two sub- 39s, I’m proud of that, and to get a medal in triple-A means a lot,” Wary said.

Pavlick, having watched the wind make things difficult for throwers on Friday, was smiling first thing Saturday morning.

“I was nervous thinking that the wind was going to be an issue like last year, but I got up this morning and came out and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day; a perfect day to throw discus.”

Pavlick had hoped for a top-three, but said, “Anything can happen, it’s so unpredictable, and I’m happy with what I did, I’m happy with my performance, happy to be down here again.”

Brown saw two javelin competitors crank out throws better than 200 feet to start the event. But, he said, having thrown a 202 himself this season, it did not psyche him out.

What did make him nervous, he said, was that with a throw of 184, he was on the bubble for a spot in the finals. He made sure with a 187-1, which stood as his best of the day.

Brown will compete in track and football at Susquehanna.

Vella went out strong, but dropped from the front pack to eighth on the front stretch.

“I went out and gave it my all, I had fun,” he said.

“My strategy was to keep with the top three, but I started to tighten up a little bit. I was just trying to hold it together with about 300 (meters) to go, to see if I could bring it around.”

George was on the inside lane and burst out to a big lead before the runners in the stagger began to catch him at the end of the backstretch.

“Being in the outside lane, you always want to go out in the lead and see what you can do with it. I tried to give it my all in the first 200 or 250, that was the plan and it worked pretty well I thought,” said George, who will play soccer at Susquehanna.

Bartos was running out of steam on the final lap of the 3200, but found enough to hold off Carter Smith of Eden Christian Academy, who was closing fast, by 11 hundredth of a second for the seventh-place medal.

Bartos finished one spot behind District 4 rival Chris Molino, of South Williamsport, who finished in 9:37.89.

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