Winters and Rearick earn MC medals

LOCK HAVEN – Some of the teams go to the Lock Haven University Classic Track and Field meet to win it, while others might go to see areas where they need to improve in or jump start them for the rest of the season.

Neither Mifflin County nor Midd-West won the team title in either the girls or boys division, but both teams saw a lot of things to work on for the rest of the season while coming up with some solid efforts along the way.

Leading the parade for Mifflin County was the girls team as the Huskies racked up 31 points to earn a tie for the eighth spot in the team standings with Montoursville.

Pacing the Huskies were a pair of individual medalists in Hannah Winters and Makala Rearick along with the 4×400 relay quartet.

Winters was the top placewinner for the Mifflin County ladies with a silver-medal finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 61.34.

“I was really tired at the beginning, but I could tell once I got around the third turn that I was ahead,” Winters said. “Once I got around the last turn I just tried to go as fast as I could. If I know that I am ahead a little bit I like to go (hard), but I also like to gauge where I am with the people around me. My time today was a PR for me so I am happy with that, but I am going to work hard to try and get better.”

For Winters, it was sort of a change of pace.

“Hannah has been running the 800, but we decided to bump her down to the 400,” Mifflin County coach Scott Gantz explained. “We had her there (in the 400) last year and she picked up right where she left off. She also gave us a solid effort in the 4×400 so I think she found her home.”

Later in the day, Rearick became the second medalist for the Huskies as she tossed the iron ball 35 feet, 11 inches in the shot put for a bronze medal.

“Makala has been solid for us all year,” Gantz said. “She just needs one big breakout throw. She has been at 35, 36 all year and I think she is capable of throwing 38 or better. But third place in a big meet like this one is real good. You can’t ask for anything more.”

Wrapping up the individual placewinners on the girls side of the meet was Kelsie Kennedy as the sophomore narrowly missed a bronze medal in the 100 hurdles when she finished fourth in 16.55 before she took fifth in the 300 hurdles with a clocking of 49.94.

“I don’t think my start was awesome (in the 300), but it was good,” Kennedy said. “I never do very well on the turns because I don’t keep up my speed. One thing I have is a good kick coming off the turn and the things I have to work on can be done in practice. Staying on the inside of your lane is something I can work on so you are ready for the next hurdle, especially on the turns. I am pleased and very excited with my efforts here today.”

Gantz is happy to have her around for two more years.

“She has just made steady progress,” Gantz said. “She is a hard worker and one of the kids that we (the coaches) have high expectations for. We are looking for big things from her on down the line.”

Completing the trifecta of placewinners in the relay department were the 4×800 and 4×100 teams. The 4×800 quartet passed the baton to a clocking of 10:17.2 good for eighth place, while the 4×100 foursome combined for an eighth-place time of 53.10.

Leading the Husky boys to an 11th-place finish in the team standings were gold medal winners George Donahey in the pole vault and distance runner Darien Knudsen.

Donahey vaulted to gold medal with a best effort of 14 feet, 6 inches. Donahey made his height on his second attempt at 14-6 before going out of the competition when the bar was moved up to a possible new meet record of 15-feet, 1-inch.

“I expected to get 15-1,” Donahey said. “I really need to push myself because I want to get that 15-foot (vault) in this year. The jump was great despite my having problems with my run. The jump at 14-6 felt real good, then the 15-1, if I would have dropped my shoulders and had more power in my run, I would have easily cleared it.”

Donahey was joined in the winners’ circle by Knudsen, who finished strong to easily outdistance the 3,200-meter run field with a winning time of 9:39.77. Knudsen’s winning time was nearly 12 seconds better than that of runner-up Brody Beiler of Selinsgrove.

Knudsen kept pace with a pair of runners for the first four laps, stretched the lead to 20 meters in the next three laps before blowing away the rest of the field with a strong kick down the home stretch.

“My original plan was to go out and run 71 (seconds for first lap) and that would average out to about a 9:28,” said Knudsen. “It was windy and I knew the kid who was seeded first so I realized that it wasn’t the strongest competition. I kind of paced off of him for about a 4:52 mile, but after that, I knew that I could kick pretty hard for the last mile. I sort of looked over my shoulder and saw that I had a good lead so in the last 400 I just gave it everything I had.”

Other place winning efforts for the Husky boys were a fifth-place finished by the 4×800 relay team with a time of 8:30.47 and Jared Michaels who hop, stepped and jumped to a best effort in the triple jump of 39 feet, 6 inches good for the seventh spot.

The Midd-West boys were led by medalist DeVaughn Johns who sprinted to a silver medal in the 200 with a time of 23.72. Johns also turned in another placewinning effort in the 400 with a time of 52.28, good enough for the sixth spot in the final rankings.

Cody Folk completed the Mustang placewinners on the boys side of the competition with a throw of 128-10 in the discus for seventh place, while the lone place winner for the Mustang girls was Chloe Wagner, who chucked the spear 110 feet, 5 inches for a seventh-place finish in the javelin.

“This is a very competitive meet and my kids needed to understand that,” Midd-West coach Jason Gemberling said. “I didn’t have some of my top level kids here because the seniors are on their class trip. One of my girls (Wagner) had her PR today in the javelin, but in the process of doing that, she hurt her arm. I think the guys on the track are starting to understand the concept of getting out hard. We had some ups and downs during the day, but overall, it wasn’t bad. We had several other kids get their PRs which is good for a meet like this one.

“It is almost like a mid-season check point,” he said. “In two weeks we have our league championships and in three weeks we have districts so it is kind of an eye-opener for some of our kids as to where they stand.”