The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 3, 2014

Todd Hummel's girls track column: Could this crop of athletes be best in recent memory?

Without a chance to see a meet yet this season, I had been thinking for a bit about what to write for my first column — then something hit me and it has happened way too often, lately.

Flipping through my preview papers, two assistant coaches’ names popped out at me — Lewisburg’s Ashleigh Wetzel and Selinsgrove’s Beth Hummel — and I felt old.

Again.

There is a point to all of this. I’ve seen plenty of girls track and field in this area and have seen some wonderful athletes compete and succeed on the state’s biggest track and field stage at Shippensburg University.

One question sticks out in my mind: Could this year’s crop of girls track and field athletes be the best this area has produced in recent memory?

There are plenty of state medalists returns this year and though historically, through Lewisburg dominance in the late 90s and the first 11 years of this decade, most of the state medalists would come from the Green Dragons.

The talent this season is spread up-and-down the Susquehanna Valley.

Start at Selinsgrove where junior Courtney McCartney has three PIAA medals in her trophy case, including a gold medal in the Class AAA shot put. Brianna Carnathan, healthy after an injury riddled junior season that saw her qualify for the PIAA meet in the 800, also returns for the Seals along with senior jumper Alexis Auman, the returning District 4 Class AAA triple jump champion.

Shikellamy has all of the members of the 1600 relay team (Lexi Colescott, Cheyenne Tumolo, Treicy Cedeno and Kurstyn Pfleegor), while Pfleegor returns as the top 400 runners, while Cedeno and her younger sister, Yoangelys Cedeno, will provide teams a challenge in the distance races.

Treicy Cedeno will get to continue one of the best distance rivalries this area has seen in many years as well with fellow sophomore Mackenzie Jones, of Danville. Cedeno is the two-time district cross country champion, beating Jones both seasons, but Jones earned measure revenge last year, winning the District 4 Class AAA 3200 champion.

Shelby Freedman, the Class AAA silver medalist in the javelin, also returns for the Ironmen. Freedman is already in mid-season form, ripping off a 126-foot throw last Friday in a dual meet. Freedman is also the returning district champion in the long jump.

Lewisburg is not without its own crew of returning state medalists. Seventy-five percent of Lewisburg’s PIAA fourth-place 3200 relay team (Jenna Farmer, Allison Graham and Maddie Scarr) are back.

Some athletes that have made their name in other sports this season aren’t slouches on the track either. Mount Carmel’s Ali Varano, the Red Tornadoes three-sport standout, is an outstanding hurdler as well. Warrior Run’s Steph Shamburg, one of the top basketball players in the area, is returning state medalist in the Class AA javelin.

This long-winded list doesn’t account for some of the outstanding Heartland Athletic Conference from outside our coverage area. Montoursville returns Kirsten O’Malley (400), Teri Stone (100 hurdles) and Jordon Long (discus) — all district champions from a year ago — along with all of the members from district champion 1600 relay and state qualifying 3200 relay team.

While Williamsport has two of the top young sprinters in the area in returning class AAA 100 champion Heaven Maeshack and double hurdles gold medalist Jaid Harsch.

Your first chance to see some of these great athletes compete against each other at one time comes Saturday at Selinsgrove when the Selinsgrove Invitational begins.

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