SCRANTON – Going into and coming out of Monday’s District 2 Class AAA Track and Field Championships, the girls javelin and girls pole vault had the strongest and deepest groups of competitors.
Marley O’Brien, Taryn Ashby and Abby Norwillo used their abilities to compete with those talented fields to land Pittston Area’s three spots at Shippensburg University for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships May 27-28.
“I think we all knew where we were seeded,” O’Brien said after finishing third in the javelin. “Everyone was aware of how good the competition was.”
The two events began with the most athletes who had exceeded state qualifying standards prior to the meet and the most who actually surpassed those standards at Memorial Stadium to secure state berths.
Norwillo finished third in the pole vault and Ashby was fourth in the javelin.
District 2 champions and those able to meet challenging pre-determined standards advance to Shippensburg. The district is sending four competitors in both events.
While six non-winners qualified in the javelin and pole vault, only five others advanced from the other 16 events combined.
That made for intense competition in both events from the start.
On her first attempt in one of the first field events contested, Ashby went beyond the required 122 feet with a throw of 124-1. She went two inches farther on the second try for the distance that ultimately ranked her fourth in the district.
“Of course, it’s competition, so you never just want to think ‘I’m done throwing as far as I can’,” Ashby said. “Once I hit that mark, I had one obstacle down.
“But you’re always listening to hear how far you have to throw and what you have to do to place.”
Although she has since added the other throws – O’Brien also managed a third-place finish in the shot put – she knew her best hope to finish her high school career at a state championship was in the javelin.
“It’s been my goal since districts last year to qualify for states this year,” said O’Brien, who made the climb all the way from 15th a year ago. “So, the week leading up to districts, I was really focused on throwing 122.”
Norwillo was one of four to make it over the state standard of 11 feet in the pole vault, but was unable to make another jump after that. She beat out Danielle Heine from Abington Heights on a tiebreaker of fewer misses to take third behind Coughlin school-record holder Madisyn Hawkins and North Pocono’s Lucianne Burner, who has earned a scholarship to Arkansas State for her efforts in the event.
The three state qualifiers helped Pittston Area finish fourth out of 19 girls teams with 62 ½ points.
Norwillo also placed fourth in the long jump.
Sam Mayers was fourth in the 800-meter run and part of the fifth-place 3200 relay and seventh-place 1600 relay.
The top six in each event earned district medals while the top eight scored team points.
Jamie Chisdock was fourth in the 200 and ran a leg on the fifth-place 400 relay.
Abbie Sheerer tied for fourth in the high jump and placed eighth in the triple jump.
Anjelica Singer was fifth in the long jump and anchored the fifth-place 400 relay.
Tara Johnson was seventh in the 3200 and on both the 3200 relay.
Maddy Mimnaugh joined Mayers in running on both the 1600 and 3200 relays.
Jenna Smith was on both the 400 and 1600 relays.
Jessica Tighe ran the 400 relay and was eighth in the 100.
Arianna Boccardi completed the 3200 relay team. Mia Barbieri led off the 1600 relay.
Tiffany Tubiolo, in the 100 hurdles, and Iana Davis, in the shot put, were also eighth.
Colin Tracy and Paul Moska were the top finishers for the Pittston Area boys, each earning silver medals while the team finished 12th of 19 with 24 ½ points.
Tracy qualified second in 15.75 seconds, then finished second with a time of 15.43 in the 110 high hurdles finals.
Moska was second with a 6-3 high jump.
Walter Coles placed fifth in the javelin, Matt Ambrose tied for sixth in the high jump and Naseem Guillaume took eighth in both hurdles races.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.