Furry, Ketterman earn state trips with solid showings
By Michael Boytim
LOYSBURG — As a District 5 official placed a gold medal around her neck, Northern Bedford’s Whitley Furry had tears streaming down her face.
It wasn’t because Furry had upset top-seeded Allison Pittman of Bedford to claim the 1600-meter run district title.
The Northern Bedford senior was thinking of her family’s farm animals which perished in a fire just a day before Wednesday’s meet.
“Yesterday my barn burnt down at my house, and I lost a lot of animals,” Furry said. “I didn’t think I was going to run today. I was emotional, because this could have been my last day running track, and I’m not ready for it to end.”
Thanks to her victory, she’ll get to run one more time at Shippensburg University in the PIAA Championships.
Furry, who added bronze medals in the 800-meter run and the 1600-meter relay, was trailing Pittman with less than half a lap remaining but found another gear to pass her down the stretch.
“I really wanted it, and I know if I want something bad enough, I can do it,” Furry said. “I just did what God wanted me to do. I know he gives the biggest challenges to the strongest people.”
Furry’s entire team surrounded the podium to cheer for her when her medal was awarded.
“We’re really proud of her,” Northern Bedford girls track coach Shalonne Sipes said. “She’s a mentally tough kid. We didn’t really have any doubts going into it that she’d be able to overcome it. She went through a lot, and just to watch her win that was really exciting. It really caps off her career.”
Furry’s heart-warming victory stole the show Wednesday, but Everett’s Stefanie Ketterman proved to be the most dominant area champion and led her team to an unexpected District 5 Class 2A championship by less than a point, 71 to 70.333.
The Lady Warrior won the triple jump, long jump and set a new personal best in the high jump en route to her third gold medal.
“I knew the weather was going to be really hot, and I usually don’t perform well when it’s really warm,” Ketterman said. “I ended up (setting a personal record) in the high jump, and it turned out to be a really good day.”
Ketterman smiled after being reminded she won three gold medals and said she might have to re-evaluate whether or not she enjoys competing in the heat.
“I thought triple jump would be my best event, but to hit 5-2 in the high jump, I just couldn’t believe it,” Ketterman said. “I did not expect to win three gold medals. I’m really happy.”
The Everett junior will be competing in the PIAA Championships for the third consecutive year.
“I’d really like to medal this year,” Ketterman said. “I’ve been there the past two years and haven’t medaled yet, and that’s something I’d really like to do.”
Another Lady Warrior, freshman Kaitlyn Maxwell, won three silver medals in the 200 and 400 dashes along with the 400-meter relay. Maxwell enjoyed plenty of success during her first varsity campaign in Everett’s Inter-County Conference slate. She also will be going to states thanks to McConnellsburg’s MacKenzie Gelvin scratching in the 400-meter dash.
“My times were slower, but I felt like I did okay considering the conditions and the heat,” Maxwell said. “My mom told me to bring a towel, and I had it over my head all the time I wasn’t running.
“I feel like this is a good start to my varsity career, but I still have a lot to work on, and I can improve.”
Ketterman and Maxwell’s performances helped Everett edge Shade by less than a point and Berlin Brothersvalley by three points for the team title.
The championship was such a surprise that only Maxwell and Erica Weaver, a member of the silver medalist 400-meter relay team, stuck around for the trophy presentation and the victory lap.
“It’s really exciting,” Maxwell said. “I thought we had a chance with Stefanie winning all those golds, but I never thought it would actually happen.”
Lady Warriors coach Sue Conner lamented that Ketterman missed out on holding the trophy.
“Stefanie getting all those wins and Kaitlyn finishing second in all her individual events was so big,” Conner said. “I kept watching Shade win events on the track, and wow, what a wonderful surprise. These kids are going to be shocked when they find out.”