SHIPPENSBURG - Although it wasn't a perfect day for either, Tyrone's Nick Patton and Altoona's Wade Endress are still alive in their hunt for multiple medals on the track at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
Patton advanced in the Class AA 200-meter dash, in which he was the state gold medalist in 2010, as well as the 400 relay on Friday at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium. Endress, a winner of two individual medals and three medals overall last year, got his way through to today's finals in the Class AAA 1,600 and 800 runs.
Patton bounced back from a surprising disappointment in the 400 to help the Golden Eagles win their heat of the 400 relay easily, crossing the finish line in 43.45 seconds. The quartet of Zach Burke, Patton, Derrick Emigh and Stevie Franco will medal today providing it finishes.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Wade Endress is all business in the mile prelims.
"I'm so happy about the four-by-one making it. We were seeded pretty low, but we ran the best race of our year so far, and we still have some room for improvement. I'm pretty excited,'' Patton said. "I'd be so happy to even come home with even one medal. I want to help out our relays and see where it goes from there.''
In between helping get the Tyrone relays into the second day of competition, Patton qualified for the semifinals in the 200 by virtue of a second-place heat finish in which it looked like he had it on cruise control. He finished in 22.77, 32-hundredths behind Sheffield's Kalil Slaughter.
"It felt good. I just wanted to be able to make finals without killing myself,'' Patton said.
Patton, however, was bounced from the 400 dash when he finished fourth in his heat with a time of 50.93; he was a silver medalist in the event last season.
"I'm disappointed in the four,'' Patton said. "I just didn't go out hard enough. I ended up falling behind. I didn't get enough stretching in, but there's nothing you can do about it.''
Tyrone's four-by-400 relay consisting of Emigh, Ben Makdad, Robert Huff and Patton also missed out. It recorded a 3:26.26 time to place third in its heat.
Endress was second in his Class AAA 1,600 heat behind Upper Moreland's Drew Magaha with a time of 4 minutes, 17.81 seconds.
In the 800, Endress went back and forth with Magaha again before Wissahickon's Hong Cho caught them both in the last 75 meters. Endress was third in the heat and overall with a 1:54.65
"The top four automatically get to go into the finals from each heat. That's all the plan really was. That's all it ever is. Just to get in,'' Endress said. "The mile was pretty comfortable. I was second in my heat. In the eight, I was third. I took a look back at the finish line just to make sure I had fourth. That's all the strategy was.''
Endress's time in the mile was the seventh-best posted in the preliminaries, but he felt pushed in both races.
"They're all going to be quick, the mile and the eight,'' Endress said. "The first kid [in the mile, Great Valley's Ned Willig] ran a 4:14, and he's only a junior. The kid in my heat [Magaha] has run a 4:10. You've got to expect it to be fast. In the eight, it's the same exact thing. The top seed's running a 1:50 right now. The other top seeds are 1:51, 1:52, so, it's pretty fast.''
Endress has battled injuries and illness much of the spring, but he seemed to be in his best condition at the time he'll need it most.
"Definitely, in the mile, I felt pretty comfortable the whole time. I felt I was in control of my spot,'' Endress said. "The 800 went out a lot faster than I wanted. It went out [1:54], which is usually what it does in a final. It was a little faster than it should have been, but guys were just fighting to make it.''
It looked like there might be a little bit of psychological jockeying going on in Endress's 800 heat along with the physical jockeying. Endress was second at the end of the first lap, took the lead briefly before being passed by Magaha, then reclaimed first before relinquishing the race to Cho and Magaha.
"We got up around the last 200, and I turned around. I thought there might be a little bit of separation, but there wasn't at all,'' Endress said. "The whole pack was right behind us. So, I said, 'We've got to go, Drew. He looked at me and said, 'Just go.' I took off and he moved up with me, and we pretty much coasted in.''
Endress only will have a chance to medal in his two individual events. The Mountain Lions' 1,600 relay team of which he is a part with Danny Moyer, Rafeeq Barnes and DeRon Lee was fifth in its heat, running 3:32.57.
Bellwood-Antis' Deryk Montgomery also punched his ticket into today's finals in the Class AA half-mile. Montgomery, a senior, clocked 1:58.23, taking the sixth and final spot in his heat to advance. He also finished in the top eight with teammates Seth Worthing, Andrew DeGol and Brian Leap in the 1,600 relay to qualify with a school-record time of 3:25.85.
Worthing slipped into the Class AA 100 semis, too, by four-hundredths of a second after finishing fourth in his heat with an 11.38.
In the Class AA 100 hurdles, Penn Cambria's Ian Lewis, Central's Dan Hoover and Chestnut Ridge's Matt Dull all earned their way into today's semifinals, too. Lewis, the District 6 runner-up to Hoover, posted the sixth-fastest time in the trials with a 15.12, which made him third in his heat. Hoover won his heat with the eighth-best overall time of 15.23, while Dull came in fourth in the heat Hoover won at 15.42.
Barring a non-finish, Dull assured himself of a medal in the 300 hurdles by running 39.67 and taking second in his heat.
Several area competitors had their quest for state medals ended in Friday's trials. They included:
n Altoona's 3,200 relay of Tyler Lidwell, Zach Price, Korey Replogle and Dylan Mountain checked in at 8:19.19, which put it at 13th in its Class AAA heat. Mountain still will have another chance to medal in the 3,200 run today.
n Northern Bedford's team of Josh Doverspike, Matt Brown, Ross Hersberger and Mikal Brown couldn't get the school record in the Class AA 3,200 relay, posting a 8:46.19. That was good for 10th in its 13-team heat.
n Barnes and Huntingdon's Tyrell Green were denied in the 100. Barnes ran an 11.24 to place sixth in his Class AAA heat. Green was fifth in his Class AA heat at 11.44.
n Neither Central Cambria's Grant Barber nor Tussey Mountain's Chris Foore advanced in the Class AA mile. Barber ran 4:32.28, Foore 4:32.68.
n Northern Cambria's Derek Bearer posted a 52.03 in the Class AA 400, which put him at sixth place in his heat.
n The Altoona 400 relay of Dreux Stamford, Lee, Moyer and Barnes placed fourth in its Class AAA heat with a time of 43.24. Meanwhile, in AA, Bellwood had trouble with a handoff and settled for fifth in its heat at 44.45; the team was comprised of Danny Noye, Seth Worthing, Cameron Worthing and Dylan Albert.
n A trio of area Class AA 300 hurdlers fell by the wayside. Bedford's Josh Wakefield was third in his heat with a 40.86 but needed a 40.48 to advance. Huff finished second in his heat, but his 41.06 time wasn't enough to make it past the prelims. Central Cambria's Blake Bussard, who ran 41.66 and was fifth in his heat, also was knocked out.
n Northern Bedford's Trenton Barnes finished seventh in his heat of the Class AA 200 with a 23.70. In Class AAA, Stamford was a medical scratch - he apparently reaggravated a hip injury he'd been battling when he fell during the four-by-100-meter relay.