Sylne, Paronish have strong first day at states
By Philip Cmor
SHIPPENSBURG — Cleeford Sylne was voted Bedford Area High School’s prom king, and he thought that was pretty cool.
Now the foreign exchange student from Haiti has something with which to measure it, and he wasn’t going to say which was better on an overcast and chilly Friday afternoon at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.
“I don’t know,” Sylne said with a grin and a big laugh.
Sylne and Northern Cambria junior John Paronish provided the local boys highlights on the first day of the PIAA Track and Field Championships, both claiming fifth-place medals in Class 2A.
Sylne won his in the high jump, Paronish his in the javelin.
Meanwhile, Altoona junior Tyler Delozier came away with a seventh-place medal in the Class 3A pole vault. Half of the meet’s field events were held on Friday as well as preliminaries in all the track events besides the two-mile run — finals in all remaining events will be today.
Paronish fired the javelin 181 feet, 1 inch on his very first attempt, setting a new personal record by 10 feet.
“The whole year I’ve been throwing line drives, throwing a little low, so my coach and I have been working on getting height,” Paronish said. “I got my chest up and it really flew.”
Three competitors exceeded 190 feet. Dunmore’s Gavin Darcy won the event with a throw of 1996, and Richland’s Ethan Dabbs was second.
“I was seeded 12th. I expected to place. I wanted to. I’m happy to finish fifth and drop seven places,” Paronish said.
It was a fantastic performance for Paronish, who also registered a throw of 174 feet.
“I think I was very relaxed. I was calm. I wasn’t thinking at all,” Paronish said.
A former baseball player who is only in his second year throwing the javelin, Paronish entered the season with a personal record of 155 feet. He spent the year working on strength and technique, though.
“I really started working at it. I wanted to throw better. I added about 25 feet on my throw, so I’m really happy,” Paronish said. “It’s really amazing,” Paronish said. “It’s nice to put in the work and to succeed.”
Bellwood-Antis’ Jarrett Taneyhill also threw in the event, placing 14th with a 158-6.
Sylne jumped 21-8.25 on his very first attempt, and that mark held up to give him fifth. It only was 3.25 inches from a silver medal.
“Since it was my first jump, I wanted to do good. If I (needed) my two other jumps, at least my first one was good,” Sylne said.
It wasn’t a fluke jump, either, as Sylne’s second-best attempt was a very respectable 21-3.
“I was really stressed, and I was really nervous,” Sylne said. “I just wanted to do my best, as always. I knew it was going to be tough.”
Sylne seemed to have gotten misplaced as they were preparing to hand out medals for the event: He had to be paged to the awards area, although he just wandered a few feet away. He’ll be taking some nice hardware a lot farther when he returns home in a couple of weeks.
“It’s going to feel good. It’s really nice to be able to get this from here,” Sylne said. “I did realize there were going to be some really good schools here.”
Sylne was one of four area competitors in the event. Chestnut Ridge’s Noah Dillow was 16th with a best jump of 20-9.5, while Tyrone’s Jake Meredith was 26th at 19-9.75 and Penn Cambria Nick Hite 29th at 18-10.
Delozier cleared 14 feet, a foot shy of the 15-0 he vaulted at the West Central Coaches Meet and 3 inches below the height he cleared in finishing runner-up at the District 6 Class 3A meet, but that didn’t tell the whole story.
“I didn’t think I was going to get (on the medal stand) this year, and I’m pretty impressed I did,” said Delozier, a junior. “It was pretty bad conditions. I just tried to keep doing my normal routine.”
It was a nice rebounding effort for Delozier who was seeded first at districts but couldn’t carry the momentum over from his West Central win.
“I was just hungry coming into this meet, hoping I could do better than I did at that meet,” Delozier said. “I just got a little tired, and I wasn’t on my game (at districts). I think I did pretty well (here) for the conditions we had.”
Chestnut Ridge’s Phillip Dull just missed giving the area a fourth medal on Friday. His height of 6-2 in the Class 2A high jump was good enough for sixth place, but the tiebreaker — number of misses — ended up placing him ninth, one spot from the medal stand.
Penn Cambria’s Kam Stoy remained in Class 2A medal contention in multiple events. Providing there isn’t a disqualification, he’ll get one along with Austin Zupon, Nick Hite and Jake Wyland in the 400 relay, where the Panthers ran a 44.07 to take second in their prelim race.
Stoy’s 15.58 in the 110 hurdles also kept him alive in that event, although he’ll have to survive a semifinal race today to get a shot at a medal there. He was fourth in his heat but turned in one of the four best times outside of top-three finishers to get into the final 16.
Stoy, though, wasn’t able to get himself into the top eight in the 300 hurdles. He ran 41.95 and finished fifth in his prelim.
Mike Walwro of Central Cambria is well-positioned to make the medal stand today, too. After an impressive showing at the District 6 Class 2A meet last week, the Red Devil senior won his heat in the 800 meters with a time of 2 minutes, .13 seconds.
Walwro is one of 12 finalists in the event who will race for eight medals today, and he’s also in line for a medal in the 1600 relay, running with Ian Primel, Kayden Kutchman and Evan Bopp. The Red Devils won their heat of the four-by-400 to punch their ticket to today’s final, and only a failure to finish will keep them from a medal. Their time of 3:25.88 was good for third in the entire preliminaries.
Central Cambria’s 3200 relay was seeded in the top eight, as well, but with three of its members also running in the four-by-400 and Walwro and Kutchman also having open races coming up, the Red Devils ran a team predominantly of its alternates in the trials. Nathan Kuntz, Jonathan Belsterling, Duncan Lambie and Tyler Wilson were 12th in their race, running 8:44.22.
Kutchman recorded a 50.85 in the 400 meters, which put him fourth in his heat and tied for 10th overall — he needed to be in the top eight to make the finals.
Several other area track performers were unable to qualify for the second day of competition.
Altoona’s Treyvaun Toney finished sixth in both of his Class 3A hurdle heats, timing 16.03 in the 110s and 41.46 in the 300s. Also in Class 3A, Altoona’s 400 relay of Connor Adams, Mitchell Lawhead, Kurt VonColln and Daiquain Watson posted a time of 44.18 that put the Mountain Lions fourth in their heat.
In the Class 2A 100, Penn Cambria’s Jake Wyland was seventh in his heat with an 11.63.
Northern Bedford’s Cam Sherlock was 12th in his heat of the Class 2A 1600, where he turned in a time of 4:44.83. Tussey Mountain’s Evan Germaux and Tyrone’s Parker Mitchell finished their respective heats of the Class 2A 200 in 23.80 and 23.94, putting both in sixth place in their heats. Bedford’s Class 2A 400 relay of Sylne, Aaron Zembower, Mitchell Zembower and Andrew Foor was disqualified.
Cambria Heights’ Evan Bobby was active in Class 2A discus finals competition but was eliminated in the flights, throwing 119-11 for 17th place.
District 6 Class 2A 100 and 200 dash champion Max Sankey of Bishop Guilfoyle scratched and did not participate, as did Philipsburg-Osceola’s Dane Soltys in the 2A high jump.
“I aggravated my Achilles and didn’t want to take any chance tearing it before my senior football season,” Sankey said.