Bodley, Brantley among top athletes at TVL meet
COVE – Fans of Juniata High School football must have been salivating, thinking what might have been.
For Neil Bodley, he has a chance to make something out of what started out as a wasted senior year, athletically.
The Juniata running back tore his hamstring early in the opening game of the football season, leaving the Indians without their talented rusher.
He’s been working his way back ever since, at at the Tri-Valley League track and field championships Wednesday, he made it.
On the track of soon-to-be league member Susquenita, Bodley showed the speed that Indians’ football fans came to expect, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchoring the winning 4×100-meter relay team.
For good measure, he also won the discus and was voted by the coaches as the Track Athlete of the Meet on the boys side.
Greenwood won the team title, just edging Juniata – with whom the Wildcats tied in the regular season – 113-107. East Juniata’s David Brantley won Field Athlete of the Meet honors after capturing the long jump and triple jump along with both hurdles races.
Greenwood won the girls title in an even closer battle, with 99 points to 97 for Millersburg. Millersburg’s Taylor Miller was named the Track Athlete of the Meet, after winning the 800, the 1,600 and running legs of the winning 4×800 and 4×400 relays. Greenwood’s Emily Fisher was named the Field Athlete of the Meet, winning the shot put and discus.
East Juniata’s Amber Knouse was a strong candidate to win an award as well, winning gold in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchoring the winning 4×100 relay.
She also scored her first career wins over rival Colleen Troutman, of Upper Dauphin, a Line Mountain senior.
Bodley said that, although missing a football season was disheartening, he put all of his focus on rehabbing and training to have a great final track and field season.
“I wanted to come and do my personal bests and try to get back to states again,” he said.
Bodley, who was troubled by the hamstring as a junior, focused last year on throws and made it to Shippensburg, where he was 12th overall in the discus.
Winning four golds, he said, was the best he has ever done and now he wants to ride that momentum into the District 6 Class AA championships Tuesday in Altoona.
“We had a meet at Bellwood-Antis and I saw some of the (competition) and I have an idea about some of the guys I will compete with,” he said.
Bodley won the 100 in 11.84 seconds and the 200 in 23.62. He helped the relay team finish in 45.81. He won the discus with a throw of 135 feet, 9 inches.
He returned to the track team as primarily a thrower, but broke out on the track as he heads to the postseason.
Brantley topped last year’s TVL meet performance, when he won three golds and a silver.
Along the way, he tied the meet record in the long jump with a leap of 21-5 1/2, his personal best and a school record.
“I was excited when I found out I broke the school record, but when I found out I tied the league record, I was (more) excited. But I told my coach (Mark Ritzman), if only I could have got another quarter inch,” Brantley said.
“But it is nice that my name will be on there as well,” he said, after tying the mark held by a Greenwood athlete since 1994.
“Since my freshman year and I’m a junior now, she’s beat me in every race,” Knouse said of Troutman. “I felt good coming in, but I didn’t think much about it until right before the start, then I realized I really wanted to beat her.
“I had her from the start (in the 100), but I ran a slower time than usual,” Knouse said. “I needed the lean at the end.”
The junior gave her teammates and coach Ritzman for helping her in the relays.
“Our relay team works really hard together. When you get the baton and you are not in the lead, it just makes you want to run faster,” Knouse said.
Another standout was Greenwood Jordyn Sorber. The junior won both hurdles races (17.27 in the 100 and 50.19 in the 300) and the long jump (15-4 1/2).
Notes: Fisher and Brantley also were state qualifers a year ago, and Fisher medaled in the discus. … Fisher was a repeat selection as top girls field athlete. Brantley was the track athlete for boys last year. … Greenwood’s Megan Albert, a standout in her days at the Perry County school, was named boys coach of the year in her first year after succeeding longtime coach Tom Magill. … Juniata has the earliest district meet. East Juniata (District 4) heads to Athens on May 17. Greenwood (District 3) has its state qualifer May 16-17 in Shippensburg.