By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
SHIPPENSBURG — Rebekah Petty set the bar high for herself — literally and figuratively. So although Greenville High’s junior won the PIAA Class AA pole-vault championship Friday afternoon at Shippensburg University, she walked away somewhat disappointed.
“I’m really happy that I won; but at the same time, I didn’t do my best, so that’s hard,” the disappointed Petty expressed after garnering gold.
Petty pole-vaulted 11 feet, 9 inches, unable to produce in a trio of attempts at 12-3.
“I’m really not happy with my performance, but everyone has ‘off’ days, so you’ve just gotta keep going,” related Petty, who refused to use an alibi owing to gusting Seth Grove Stadium winds ranging from 13-to18 miles-per-hour,
At the recent District 10 Championships Petty cleared 12-8, an inch higher than the existing PIAA AA mark. However in order to be recognized as the Keystone State’s kingpin, an athlete must set the record at the annual PIAA Championships.
In 2010, Wilson Area’s Allison Vanek vaulted 12-7, to cop the current commonwealth crown.
Petty has her sights set on this summer’s New Balance national competition in Greensboro, N.C., as well as her senior scholastic season.
“I do have another year, so I have to realize that sometimes not everything’s going to go your way,” Petty reasoned, adding, “I’ll just have to come back and try it again. The tailwind wasn’t great, but you have to be prepared for all situations – you’re never going to have the perfect climate
“All in all, I really wouldn’t have changed anything,” Petty continued. “If it was warmer, maybe it would’ve helped all the other girls out. So you get what you get.
“It’s an okay day, I’d have to say,” Petty summarized. “Not my best, but I’m a state champion, so that’s awesome.”
West Middlesex High’s Luke Patten completed a pole-vault sweep as he soared 14-6 to win the Class AA crown. He went out attempting a persona-best 15 feet after switching from a 14- to 15-foot pole.
“This was one of he worst winds, but we got lucky … because it was actually to our back. If it had been more to the side … or even at us, that would’ve been a really bad day,” Patten explained. “I knew coming into this meet I had a really, really good chance of getting fourteen-six and I was hoping for fifteen. It was close, but I just knew, consistently using a fifteen-foot pole, my chances were to get up a lot higher height,” Patten added.
Today could be a big day for the Big Reds, as Patten pronounced, “Everything seems like we’re set up to do something really good this year and possibly bring home a state championship. But everything has to go well (today).”
While he did not attain his personal best, there were no regrets for Greyhound gold-medalist Jon Yohman. Wilmington’s weight-man put the shot 61-8 1⁄2 to garner gold and is halfway toward completing a double-double
“I wish I would’ve thrown better, obviously, because my PR’s 62-1. But I threw three over sixty-one (feet) … I didn’t leave anything out there,” Yohman said. “This week it was all technique. I focused on throwing not only as hard as I can, but as hard as I can with the proper technique, and it made me a lot more consistent, with higher throws.
“I was definitely mentally prepared,” Yohman co ntinued. “Me and coach (Brandon Phillian) talked a lot. Last year I was seeded number one, but I was a little more emotional, because I was younger. I ended up getting second, which is still great. But this year I had a lot more experience and came in a lot more emotionally sound, and I used that in my throws.
“I would love to repeat and get the gold in discus,” Yohman admitted, forecasting today’s event. “The main goal is to get a gold; the second goal is to PR, and hopefully you get a gold and PR. If I wasn’t to get a gold (today) I would be very disappointed. But looking back, as I’ve said, I have no regrets with what I’ve done.”
Petty and Yohman had Courtney King’s company, as the Lakeview High senior high-jumped 5-6 to garner gold.
“That’s my best all year, and since I’m a senior, that’s a very good way to end (her scholastic career,” King commented. “A lot of jumpers say weather affects them, but I just try to block it out, try to do my best.
“I definitely did,” King replied when asked if she exceeded her expectations. “I was seeded at five-four with six other girls, and another girl ahead of me. I guess I was just going for my best and I did do my best – and I won it, so I’m very happy about that,” concluded King, Lakeview’s 1st female track & field state champion since 2-time javelin titlist Fawn Miller.
King also captured the county’s 3rd consecutive crown for AA girls’ high-jumpers, following Hickory’s Lauren Lubarski and Corrine Regginello.
Other Mercer County medalists on Friday: Wilmington’s Tyler Donati (javelin, 176-5) and Julie Falvo (discus, 130-3), both of whom placed 3rd; Hickory shot-putters Luke Lewis (58-3 1/2), Jeremy Orlik (55-2 1⁄2) and Sophia Fustos (41-5 1⁄2), who finished 4th, 5th and 6th; respectively, and West Middlesex discus-thrower Rachel DeMaria (5th, 121-2).
Advancing to today’s finals were: Lakeview boys 4x8 relay, who placed 2nd in its heat (8:20.69), and Hickory boys, who stood 7th in its heat (8:32.19), but 12th overall; Hickory (43.01) and West Middlesex (44.0) 4x1 boys relay teams, both of which won their heats.
Also, Mercer high-hurdlers Janette Berger (4th in her heat, 16.01) and Jarred Davis (4th, 15.31), and Berger in the intermediates (4th, 46,57). Also, Grove City’s Kyle Trinch in both the highs (14.73) and intermediates (40.18), 4th and 3rd, respectively, in his heats.
Advancing to today’s semifinals were 100-meter sprinters Clay Allen of West Middlesex and Hickory’s DeShawn Coleman, who won their respective heats in 10.87 and 10.89. Allen also advanced in the 200-meter dash, winning his heat in 22.73. Also, the Sharon girls 4x4 team (4:05.56) advanced.
Perhaps the day’s biggest disappointment occurred when Sharon junior triple-jumper Johnathon Jacoway fouled on all three attempts. But Jacoway will have the opportunity to redeem himself during this morning’s long-jump and this afternoon’s high-jump competitions.
Countians who did not make the cut for today’s finals included: The girls’ 4x8 relay teams from Wilmington (8th, 10:07.24) and Grove City (13th, 10:10.47), and Grovc City’s boys (15th, 8:53.84); Reynolds high-hurdler Clayton Stoyer (8th, 16.71); 1600-meter, and Sharpsville 400-meter sprinters Madison Priczina and Tyler Confer (52.37), along with Grove City’s Courtney Corbin (6th, 1:00.41), and 1600-meter distance standouts Kristen White (7th in her heat, 5:26.56) of West Middlesex and Grove City’s Mary Jaskowak (15th, 5:33.68), and Mercer’s Megan McKinney (48.69) and Wilmington’s Dwight Scott (41.53) in the intermediate hurdles. Grove City’s Dan Jaskowak posted a 2:01.45 clocking in the 800-meter run, but did not advance, nor did Grove City’s Lauren Decker in the 200 (27.7). Also, Lakeview boys (3:35.95) and Grove City girls (4:17.49) 4x4 teams did not advance.
Those from the area aggregation who did not place included: high-jumpers McKenzie Fagan (5-0) of Grove City and Lakeview’s Lauryn Greggs (4-10); Hickory shot-putter Elena Marchand (36-11), and Hickory pole-vaulter Craig Belko.
Note: Visit piaa.org for full results.