The best of the best were on display at the PIAA State Track and Field Championships, and the Dock contingent stood out with medals, records, and treasured memories while gaining key experience at Shippensburg University this weekend.
Austin Kratz picked up a medal in the field and one on the track along with a school record while Alex Martin medaled in the discus with a record throw in his first trip to the AA state championships for the boys. A trio of girls led by double qualifier Sabrina Demetrius capped their seasons by competing well in states.
Kratz added to his medal haul with his sixth and seventh career outdoor state medals. Despite being under the weather and only days after fighting off a 101-degree fever, the junior placed third in the long jump on Friday with a jump of 21-feet-11, just a half-inch out of tying for second place. He also began his 100-meter trials on Friday by clocking 11.06 seconds to win his preliminary heat.
On Saturday morning, he clocked 11.09 to win his semifinal and advance to the final and set up a memorable showdown. He came back in the afternoon to blaze to second place in the 100 in a school-record 10.66 seconds. It took a new meet record 10.47 from four-time state champion Jahvel Hemphill of Bloomsburg to top Kratz. Their admirable sportsmanship post-race was an overall highlight of the meet as both expressed their mutual respect for each other.
Kratz will compete at U.S. junior nationals in the elite division for the 100 meters and in the emerging elite division for the 200 meters and long jump.
Martin qualified in a pair of field events at the District One championships to make his first trip to states. On Friday, he climbed from his sixth-place seeding up to finish third in the boys discus by smashing his school record with a throw of 159-feet-9. It was nearly nine feet ahead of the fourth-place finisher and earned Dock its first-ever throwing medal at states.
On Saturday, Martin moved up in the rankings again, this time from being seeded 23rd in shot put at 44-feet-2 to take 11th place with a throw of 45-5. Martin will rest an elbow injury that affected the shot put, but will compete in the U.S. nationals in the emerging elite discus division.
Demetrius qualified in a pair of events and Lindsey Bernd qualified in the javelin to give Dock a representative in five out of six possible throwing events – a best showing under the guidance of throws coach Bob Reagan.
Demetrius moved up in both of her throwing events despite not being fully recovered from a mid-season emergency appendectomy. In her second year throwing at states, the senior moved from 24th place in the discus all the way to 16th with a throw of 107-feet-11 on Friday. On Saturday, she smiled through tears of joy at being able to conclude her career at the state championships. She threw 33-feet-5¾ for 27th place in the shot put. Demetrius is looking forward to training this summer to continue her throwing career at Chestnut Hill College.
Bernd, in her first trip to the state championships for an individual event, gained valuable experience. The junior threw 91-feet-4 for 29th place in the girls javelin on Friday.
Abbie Woods is another junior who competed for the first time as an individual at the state championships. She had competed in relays as a freshman and sophomore. Woods returned this time for 24th place in the girls 300-meter hurdles in 49.17 seconds Friday.
The Dock boys also sent their top hurdler to the state championships. Nick Smith closed an incredible debut season with the track and field team by competing in both hurdles events. He was 26th in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.52 seconds and 24th in the 300-meter hurdles in 43.15 seconds Friday.
Ian Anderson made his first trip to the state meet for an individual event as well. He took 20th place in the boys 400 meters in 51.91 seconds.
Another first-timer, Jeremy Moyer, combined with Anderson, Smith and Kratz in the final boys event of Friday, the 4×400 meters. Dock came in seeded 20th with a time of 3:32.26, but moved up thanks to a memorably gutsy finish. Anderson led off the relay in 52 seconds, Moyer ran 56 seconds and Smith ran 51 seconds to get the baton to Kratz for the anchor leg. Kratz blistered through the field, running what one college coach clocked as a 21.39 hand-timed first 200 meters to pull Dock into third place in the heat, before bringing it home for a season-best 3:29.70 that helped them to 13th overall. All of Dock’s state qualifiers finished at least as high as their pre-meet seeding for head coach Tim Eger’s squad.
The meet was not a finish, but a start of sorts for the Dock team. Demetrius is the only senior among the state qualifiers. While she begins her college career, the rest of this year’s qualifiers from Dock are eyeing the chance to use this year’s state championship experience as motivation to return bigger, faster and stronger.
Full meet results available at: http://pa.milesplit.com/meets/267590/results#.WSo5j2jyvIU
An interview with the 100 champion who credits Kratz for pushing him: http://pa.milesplit.com/videos/218253
Photos from Howard Anderson: http://pa.milesplit.com/meets/267590/photos#.WSo6l2jyvIU
*Article Photos by Coach Tim Eger
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