Nine Striders advance to USA Track and Field nationals meet

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Nine members of the Juniata Valley Striders track and field team qualified for nationals at the USA Track and Field Region 2 Championships this past weekend.

The team was led by Brayden Harris and his pair of first place finishes in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs. His time of 9:21 in the 3,000-meter run was both a new record in the region and a national qualifier. He also qualified in the 1,500 with a first place finish in 4:17.46.

Layla Fetzer also had a big weekend, qualifying for nationals in both the long jump and javelin. She had a throw of 32 feet, 8 inches in the javelin to go with an 8-8 jump.

Having four top-10 finishes, Noah Shepherd qualified for the nationals in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:21. He also had personal bests in the 1,500 (4:47) and 3,000 (10:40.18).

A trio of participants — Justice Sheaffer, Hunter Sheaffer and Jacee Cunningham — qualified for nationals in their respective genders and age groups for their javelin throws. Justice Sheaffer placed third with a throw of 75-3, Hunter Sheaffer took third at 58-11 and Cunningham placed fifth with a 46-10 throw.

Quentin Houtz (6:09) and Chase Sheaffer (4:34) had qualifying times in the 1,500-meter run. Houtz also had a pair of top-10 finishes in the 800-meter and long jump events.

“I was extremely pleased with the outstanding performances by all 13 team members who made the trip to New York,” coach Ron Sprecher said. “Many achieved personal records and nine qualified for the national championships in Kansas.”

Evan Shepherd had a pair of top-10 finishes, but did not advance. Sydney Houtz and Addie Parson also participated in the event in New York.

The USATF national meet will held in Lawrence, Kansas, later this month.