SHIPPENSBURG —Abby Norwillo had no idea she’d reach such heights.
Yet, the Pittston Area sophomore was able to clear 12 feet in the pole vault Friday to reach the medal stand in the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
Norwillo won tiebreakers over two other girls who had cleared the same height, by missing less often during the competition while securing a fifth-place finish in Class AAA.
An 18th seed coming in, the Pittston Area sophomore wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the last few pole vaulters competing for the state title. But Norwillo kept clearing each height while watching 27 other competitors in the event fall out.
She cleared 12 feet faster than Spring Grove’s Nathalie Elliott, who finished sixth, and Hempfield’s Molly DeBone, who wound up seventh, before Norwillo got hung up on the 12-6 height to wind up fifth.
“It’s such a shock, honestly,” said Norwillo, who was almost speechless after making the state medal stand. “I wanted to PR (set a personal record) today. That was the goal, to clear 12 feet. I’ve been working so hard for it, ever since I made it (the state meet) in districts. “
Wyoming Area senior Bree Bednarski was already assured of competing Saturday in the second of two days of competition at Shippensburg.
Bednarski’s effort during 200-meter qualifying Friday gave her a second event for the final day.
District 2’s only four-event state qualifying was involved in three qualifying events on the track Friday.
Bednarski ran the 100-meter dash in 12.79 seconds to finish 23rd of 30 competitors. She needed to make the top 16 to reach Saturday’s semifinals.
Wyoming Area teammates Jalen Rhodes, Jillian Spak and Vanessa Shedlock joined Bednarski for the 400 relay. They ran a time of 49.18 seconds to place 15th out of 27 teams that were chasing 8 berths in Saturday’s final.
Bednarski advanced in her third attempt on the track. Her time of 25.87 seconds grabbed the 15th of 16 available semifinal spots that 28 competitors were pursuing.
The javelin competition was scheduled for Saturday afternoon with Bednarski and Pittston Area’s Marley O’Brien and Taryn Ashby all seeded in the top half of the field of 30 throwers.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski