---- — By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
LOCK HAVEN -- Arriving late to her high school Saturday morning, Milton's Joselyn Pascual understandably thought Saturday was not going to be a great day.
"My bus almost left without me," the senior said on the turf at Hubert Jack Stadium at Lock Haven University.
Instead, it was Pascual's competition in the high jump that was collectively left behind. Pascual won the event with a Lock Haven University High School Classic meet record and new Valley season-best jump of 5 feet, 7 inches.
"It's pretty amazing because that's the last thing I really expected to happen," Pascual said after demolishing her own Valley best of the season by three inches. "I didn't think it was going to be a good day at all but -- surprise, surprise -- it was."
"I was just coming in here looking for a first-place win, and having the meet record and going up for a chance at the school record is just amazing."
Pascual finished by missing three tries at 5-8, the Milton school record, and later took fifth in the triple jump with a 34-7 1/2.
Pascual was joined by six other girls and one relay team from the Valley to win gold. In addition, Selinsgrove tied with Williamsport for the team points lead with 83.
Among the other local winners was Danville freshman Mackenzie Jones, who sprinted past fellow freshman standout Treicy Cedeno of Shikellamy down the final stretch to take the 3,200 meters in a meet-record 11:06.38. Cedeno was second in her season-best, 11:13.19. Cedeno earlier won the 1,600 in 5:11.90.
The others: Selinsgrove's Courtney McCartney, 120-2 in the discus (topping her own Valley season best); the Lewisburg girls 3,200 relay team with a new season-best 9:51.90; Selinsgrove's Brianna Carnathan, breaking her own season-best in winning the 800 in 2:22.40; Danville's Shelby Freedman, 134-7 in the javelin; and Selinsgrove's Jessica Gill, 10-6 in the pole vault to top her own Valley season-best.
On the boys side, the Valley winners were Southern Columbia's Luke Rarig, 15.04 seconds in the 110 high hurdles; Shikellamy's Ryan Wary, 39.45 in the 300 intermediate hurdles; Mifflinburg's Brian Zimmerman, a Valley season-best 22.59 in the 200; and Milton's Norman Whaley, a Valley season-best 44-1 1/2 in the triple jump.
Some athletes also set new season-bests for the Valley without winning the event. For the girls, Selinsgrove's Alexis Auman improved on her season-best and school-record long jump, landing a 17-foot, 9 ¾-inch jump to take second; the Milton girls 400 relay team took third in a season-best 51.97; the Milton 400 relay team, third in 51.97; and Selinsgrove's Kayla Swartz, second in the 300 hurdles in 47.69.
For the boys, the Southern Columbia 3,200 relay team finished second but in a season-best 8:14.43, and the Milton 400 relay was second in a season-best 43.61.
Like most jumping events, the high jump was not the focus of attention until the public address announcer told the crowd to watch the girls jump where Pascual was about to attempt the meet record of 5-7.
Undaunted by the extra attention, Pascual easily cleared the bar on her first try. Although it wobbled slightly after she landed, Pascual did not notice. She jumps without her glasses and only sees the location of the bar by color.
"It was a real shock," she said. "I looked up and I said 'Is the bar still on?'
"I don't really let the pressure get to me," she added. "That's because I was at states (triple jump last year) and I was calm the whole time and took third, so I guess it works."
She did a 5-5 in the preliminaries, which gave her confidence that she could keep going higher.
Despite not getting the school record, she admitted. "It was a pretty good day."
McCartney was coming off the excitement of finishing second in the shot put at the Penn Relays on Thursday with a school-record 45-3. She sat out the event at Lock Haven, but went out and won the discus with a new Valley season-best 120-2.
"Coming here I knew I wasn't going to do anything like the Penn Relays, but I was going to try my hardest," McCartney said.
But the sophomore's focus will remain on the shot and all she wants to do is keep getting better.
"I'm just going to keep working hard," she said, "and just focus on throwing past my (personal records), just throw as far as I can."