The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 24, 2014

Girls Track: Lewisburg 3200 team closes out states with third-place finish

SHIPPENSBURG — Lewisburg junior Jenna Farmer had a simple goal entering the finals of Saturday’s 1600-meter race.

“All I wanted was to break five minutes, that was my goal,” Farmer said. “The medal is just a perk.”

Farmer won a fourth-place medal in the 1600 in 4:56.49 to go along with the bronze medal she helped the Lewisburg 3200-relay team claim early in the morning.

The Lewisburg contingent on the medal stand on Saturday’s final day of the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University included Mount Carmel’s 3200 relay team, which earned a seventh-place medal, and Selinsgrove’s Courtney McCartney and Greenwood’s Emily Fisher, who each claimed their second medals of the weekend.

The top two runners in the 1600 — Kennedy Weisner of Elk County Catholic and Elizabeth Chikotas of Saucon Valley — set a quick pace from the beginning, but Farmer combated that by pushing to the lead in the first 200 meters and the settling in behind the two leaders for most of the race.

“I knew the race was going to be like that. It’s why I fought to the front at the beginning. I didn’t want to get stuck in the pack,” Farmer said.

As Weisner, who won in 4:45.99, pulled away, Farmer and Beth Schenk of Avonworth were should-to-shoulder most of the final lap battling for third.

“(Battling for third), really pushed me and helped me break five minutes,” Farmer said.

The Green Dragons continued their excellence in the 3200 relay, finishing in the top five for the 11th time since 2001. Blake Baylor, Maddie Scarr, Kathryn Edwards and Farmer finished third in 9:27.22, more than three seconds faster than their top-seeded time of 9:30.43.

Baylor, who also finished 10th in the 800, opened the relay, giving the Green Dragons the early lead.

“I wasn’t worried about my individual race. My main focus was the 4x4 since I knew we had a shot,” Baylor said.

The next two legs — Scarr and Edwards — used the experience of running at Shippensburg to push them along.

“The big crowd helps. I was nervous before the race,” said Scarr, who, along with Farmer, returned from last year’s fourth-place medalist. “I needed to get pumped up and the crowd really helps with that on the track.”

“I’d run in the 4x400 before down here, so I knew what to expect,” Edwards added. “But like Maddie said, the adrenaline you get from the crowd is a huge help.”

The Mount Carmel team of Ali Varano, Jen Bollick, Karen Hause and Maria Kleman rallied from back in the pack to claim its seventh-place medal in a school-record 9:39.69.

“It wasn’t about our splits or anything,” Varano said. “We just knew we had to run good times and if we could do that individually, we thought we had a chance to medal.”

“We just had to race the girl that was in front of us,” Bollick added. “We couldn’t be concerned about where we were in the race.”

McCartney, who finished fifth in the discus last year, moved up one spot this season, finishing fourth in 132-6.

The Selinsgrove junior, who owns two shot put gold medals, was happy with moving up a spot in the discus, but was a bit disappointed with her throw.

“Last year, it was hard for me to make the switch (between the shot put and discus),” McCartney said. “I think I came a long way this year on knowing what to do with the discus. I just didn’t have my best day.”

After needing a huge throw on her final throw on Friday to claim a second consecutive medal in the discus, Fisher won her first shot put medal in similar circumstances.

Fisher and Carlee McClease of Conwell-Egan were tied for the eighth spot with a throw of 38-0¼. The tie breaker is second-best throw, which McClease had until Fisher beat that on her final throw.

“I came wanting to PR because I was borderline to medal by seed, so I knew I had to do my best to medal,” Fisher said. “I did PR, but it came to my last throw (for the medal).”

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