Long takes Huskies’ only gold at Mid-Penn championship

CHAMBERSBURG – The first Mifflin County athlete to earn a Mid-Penn Conference gold medal in track & field will have a chance to add to his laurels in the coming years.

Sophomore Zachary Long conquered the field in the boys javelin event on Saturday at Chambersburg’s Trojan Stadium in the Mid-Penn championships. His winning throw measured 177-0, more than five feet better than the runner-up, Taylor Carey of Shippensburg.

“I didn’t even know about it until the coaches said something,” Long said. “I guess that’s pretty cool being the first.”

The Huskies fared pretty well on the boys side, earning places in three other events to score 25 points and place 12th among the 26 teams at the event.

Mifflin County’s girls had just one placewinner and tied for 21st with nine points.

“Overall, it was not probably what we would have expected,” Mifflin County coach Scott Gantz said. “We hoped for a little better result today.

“But I think coming into the Mid-Penn has helped us. In the conference we were in, I think the kids were getting a little complacent, and now they have to scrap for everything they can get.”

Long has been a quick study in the javelin. Last year as a freshman he didn’t try the event until late in the season and managed a throw of about 130 feet in his first real event. By the time of the District 6 Class AAA meet, he’d reached around 150.

In his first competition this spring, also at Chambersburg for the Tim Cook Invitational, he was still in the 150s on a raw, cold day. So he’s increased his distance nearly 30 feet – his best is a throw of 178.

“I’d have liked to be in the 180s today, but I still have districts and hopefully states to get that,” Long said.

“He was the top seed today and his best was 178, so he was right there,” Gantz said. “He’s been pretty consistently in the 170s. With him being a sophomore, we’re pretty excited about his future.”

Mikayla Rearick made a throw of 35-4.5 in the girls shot put to finish as the runner-up. She was just an inch behind the winner, Madison Bleiler of Northern York.

Nathan Baumgardner came home with a pair of medals in the hurdles events. He ran a 15.46 to place third in the 110-meter hurdles and came back later to clock a 41.05 to take sixth in the 300 event.

Jon Colwell was the Huskies’ other point scorer with his fifth-place effort in the 1600. He ran a time of 4:25.10.

“Baumgardner had a pretty decent day – that’s pretty consistent to what he’s done previously. Colwell did well in the 1600 and Rearick had a pretty good day in the shot put,” Gantz said.

The only other Mifflin County athlete to finish in the top 10 was Megan Becker in the girls 400, in which she placed eighth in 1:00.61.

The weather at the meet was definitely a factor. It rained steadily for most of the morning, then stopped and it got nice. Then around 3:30 p.m., a storm rolled through to soak everything again and cause about a 45-minute delay because of lightning.

Four stadium records and three meet records were broken.

Chambersburg’s Marshay Ryan won the girls triple jump (42-0) and the long jump (19-0.75) to set meet and stadium records in both. Palmyra’s Tim Moses hit 16-0 in the pole vault to break both marks, and Cedar Cliff’s 4×400 relay broke the stadium record with a time of 3:57.75.

Mifflin County will head to the District 6 Class AAA championships Thursday in Altoona.