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 SHIPPENSBURG – The state meet is a good place to reach a peak, a good place to conclude a season, a good place to end a school year.

 And a great place to end a career.

 But the perfect place to say, ‘good bye.’

 On a clear Saturday at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, during the second and final day of the annual PIAA Track and Field Championships, Lebanon County student-athletes experienced an entire range of emotions – related to joy and relief, to performance and sentimentality. The locale took home state medals from a total of seven events.

 Showing the way for the county competitors was Cedar Crest senior Hannah Woelfing, who topped off her career with a bronze medal in the Class AAA discus. Falcon sophomore Gwyneth Young added to her increasingly impressive resume with a fourth-place showing in the Class AAA 3200-meter run. 

 Meanwhile, the Cedar Crest quartet of Ryan Scicchitano, William Sheffield, Jake Barrett and Nate Shutter celebrated a friendship which has come to transcend the track by copping fifth-place hardware in the Class AAA 3200-meter relay.

 “We’re trying to enjoy the moment,” said Barrett, the emotional leader of the Flying Falcons. “Trying to let it all sink in. This is definitely the best thing we’ve ever done. We really enjoyed this time together.

 “We’re all best friends,” continued Barrett. “It’s much more enjoyable when you do it with friends. Sheffield is the best second leg anyone could ask for. Scicchitano is a reliable first guy who puts us in position. Shutter is going to give you whatever he has every time out. This was very special because of Team Tiff (competing in honor of Coach Rob Bare’s recently deceased wife). We ran with a purpose.”

 “Last year (at the state meet), I was eighth in 10:55,” said Young. “So I cut my medal standing in half, and I definitely improved my time, by 30 seconds. The goal is to do well each season. I’ve definitely grown my speed.

 “I can’t decide which I like best (track or cross country),” added Young. “It depends on how my season is going. You’ve just got to have patience.”

 “It’s so emotional,” said Woelfling. “I’ve been crying all day. I’m going to miss everybody so much, especially the coaches.

 “I used to do the softball throw in elementary school,” Woelfling continued. “But I never liked the shot. Discus has always been my favorite event. Of all the sports I play, track is the most fun for me. I love the teams and the girls I played with. Track is an individual sport, but the coaches make it a family atmosphere.”

 Woelfing exceeded the fourth seeding she entered the competition with. Her best throw of 134-11 came on her second attempt in the preliminaries, but it was about a foot short of her personal best of 135-9.

 Siniru Iheoma of Council Rock South was crowned the state champion with a throw of 152-7.

 “Third was what I was shooting for,” said Woelfling. “I knew third was something I could achieve. I wanted to P.R. (personal record). But I got third at states, so I’m not complaining about it.

 “They (her throws) all felt really good today,” continued Woelfling. “I worked really hard this week at practice. I felt good and it helped me in the competition.”

 Young channeled nerves at the beginning of her final scholastic race of the season into positive energy.

 She ran with the leaders of the 3200-meter race the entire way, constantly checking her position. Her time of 10:21.86 was 13 seconds faster than anything she had run all season.

 “My goal was, if anyone passed me, I’d respond,” said Young. “On the seventh lap, I felt really good. But I’m not sure I was totally confident in myself. It felt fast. But I reminded myself that it felt too fast.

 “I was freaking out at the beginning,” Young added. “I tried to look calm. But I needed to have more confidence in myself. I should be here. I thought the middle laps were probably my best.”

  Scicchitano, Sheffield, Barrett and Shutter entered the weekend as the top seed in the 3200-relay event, and the Falcons ran six seconds faster than their seed time. But Central Bucks West turned in a blistering gold-medal-winning performance of 7:42.52.

 “That was great,” said Barrett. “Our time was fifth in the state, second best in school history and one of the fastest in the country. It’s what we wanted. We did the best we could. There is no disappointment.”

  Among other local competitors, Cedar Crest junior Shayla Bonzelet ran sixth in the Class AAA 400-meter dash, in a time of 57.14. Dylan Lambrecht, a sophomore from Northern Lebanon, finished sixth in the Class AAA discus, with a 156-4 which surpassed his best throw of the year by ten feet.

 Another sixth-place medal was earned by Annville-Cleona junior Neil Waldhausen, who cleared his seed height of 14-0.

 Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three champ Kayla Long, a Little Dutchmen senior, captured a seventh-place medal in the Class AA pole vault.








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