For one last time this year, it was a busy day at the track and in the field for the Pioneers.
For all but two Dock athletes, Friday’s trip to Shippensburg University for the state AA track and field championships was their first to that level.
It was a final hurrah for Austin Nice, the senior co-captain, who has been a member of the Pioneers team for four years and qualified to return to states in three events in his last season.
It was the second straight trip to the state championships for Kate Landis, a junior who repeated as girls javelin champions at the District 1 AA championships the week earlier.
It was a send-off and a reward for the hard work of seniors Bryce Kauffman and Xander Duerksen, and motivation for a trio that could return – junior hurdler Thomas Schreiber and junior pole vaulter Evan Mong and freshman sprinter Roman Kuhn.
Nice began the day by finishing ninth in the boys long jump. The senior leapt 21-feet-2½, which tied him for the eighth and final medal spot, but Nice was pushed to ninth based on the tiebreaker of next-best jump.
Nice also put together a strong effort to close within two spots of advancing to the semifinals of the boys 100-meter dash. He came on strong over the final half of his heat to place fifth in 11.23 seconds, faster than his winning time in districts. The final spot to advance to the semifinals after the automatic qualifiers was an 11.17 clocking.
Landis competed in the state meet for a second straight season. Throwing into a headwind, she sent the girls javelin 98-feet-9 to approach her personal record and place 22nd in the state, ahead of her pre-meet seeding. Landis will aim for a third straight trip to the championships and an even higher finish in her final season next year.
In his first trip to states, Schreiber got out to a good start on his way to placing sixth in his heat in 16.15 seconds. Schreiber is strongly motivated to return next year and better his showing.
In the final event of the season, the boys 4×100 relay of Schreiber, Kuhn, Kauffman and Nice took third in their heat in 45.33 seconds. They improved to 14th overall, far ahead of their 27th-place seeding pre-meet. Mong, the district pole vault champion who intends to hit the state qualifier in a year, and Duerksen served as alternates and provided support to their teammates through the ups and downs of the day.
The meet wrapped up another memorable season for the Dock boys and girls who swept the District 1 AA team titles and had the girls repeat as Bicentennial Athletic League champions.