Boys final day filled with whirlwind of emotions
SHIPPENSBURG – DeShae Lee was fit to be tied late Saturday morning.
Just not on the medal list.
Lee, the Altoona Area High School senior, turned in one of the best performances by an area boy at Saturday’s competition in the PIAA Track and Field Championships, winning a bronze medal in the Class AAA high jump for the second straight season. Lee, though, was inconsolable afterward.
“I had high expectations when I started today. I just didn’t meet them,” Lee said.
Others, though, left Shippensburg University’s blustery-yet-sunny Seth Grove Stadium more pleased. Bellwood-Antis senior Ian O’Shea captured two Class AA medals, finishing eighth in the 300-meter hurdles and running the anchor leg of the seventh-place Blue Devil 400 relay with three Worthing siblings – seniors Cameron and Seth and junior Owen. Also, Altoona senior Kolby Koeck earned a sixth-place medal in the pole vault.
Meanwhile, Northern Bedford’s Blake Over garnered his second medal in the jumps, this time coming in eighth in the AA long jump, while Tussey Mountain’s Darrin Sipes took seventh in the AA 100 dash; both Bedford County athletes are juniors.
A co-winner of the bronze medal in 2012, Lee jumped 6 feet, 6 inches, the same height as winner Donovan Clay of Stroudsburg, runner-up Elizae McDonald of Coatesville and fourth- and fifth-place finishers Horace Spencer of William Tennant and Ibn Short of Milton Hershey, respectively. Short was the defending champion, having cleared 6-10.
Lee made 6-6 on his second attempt, so Clay and McDonald edged him out on fewer misses.
Although it was a windy day, Lee didn’t use that as an excuse, saying it wasn’t the problem.
“Not for me,” Lee said. “It was just all little minor mistakes. Just common form, basically.”
Lee has been aiming for a 7-foot jump all season, but his best performance was 6-7 at the 6-AAA meet as he battled a gimpy hamstring. He achieved 6-8 last year.
Asked if he might warm up to the idea of being a two-time state bronze medalist given time to reflect, Lee doubted it.
“I was going for the gold,” Lee said.
Koeck finished knotted for sixth with Jersey Shore’s Mac Thompson at 14-6. They were two in a group of seven competitors unable to get 15-0.
“It wasn’t terrible,” Koeck said.
After going out, Koeck had to wait and see how the tiebreakers played out. He and Mountain Lion pole vault coach Shane Graziosi weren’t sure if he’d medal because of a couple of earlier misses.
The wind would seem to have been a factor, but even more was the fact that so many competitors – nine – were still in it jumping at 15-0. That gave him more layoff time between vaults than Koeck was used to.
“I’m not used to so many people jumping. There were like 15 people jumping at 14. Usually, I just go and do that and sit down,” Koeck said.
O’Shea, who is headed to Juniata College to play football, was much more satisfied with the dual-medal day.
“Two medals is great in the state championship. Part of the seventh-fastest four-by-one. The eighth-fastest 300 hurdler. That’s a great accomplishment, and I’m very happy,” O’Shea said. “I’m just happy. I had a goal to make it to an individual event in states, and I made it in two.”
After helping win the relay, O’Shea came back just a few minutes later to finish his hurdle race in 41.98 seconds.
“It was good for the wind and everything. I’ve run better times before, but I’m happy with it. Coming off of the four-by-one like that, it was a pretty good time,” O’Shea said. “I’m used to it. If you run the hurdles, a lot of people think it’s the hardest event in track. It’s pretty hard after the four-by-one. I haven’t had time to rest and I have to go over and run. I have some time to get focused, but not as much as I’d like to.”
O’Shea said the goal in the relay was just to medal. The Blue Devils were on the verge of doing that in the event last year by making the finals, then missed out the only way they could by being disqualified when Seth and Cameron Worthing had trouble on a handoff.
It was Cameron Worthing’s only chance for a medal last year, and he was happy to have some redemption. B-A’s time in the finals was 44.61.
“It’s really nice,” Worthing said. “The time and the place are not exactly something we’re happy with, but we were still in the state finals and got a medal out of it. We should be happy. We figured [last year] was over with, we should just let it go.”
Seth Worthing said putting last year behind was a big source of motivation. Despite having a year hampered by a football injury that was slow to heal, the St. Francis University recruit made it to states in four events for the second year in a row.
“Just being able to come home with a medal is better than not having a medal at all,” Seth Worthing said. “I had my medals. It was time to get [my brothers] one.”
The lone underclassman on the rare three-brother quartet, Owen Worthing loved the experience.
“You can’t describe it. It was so much fun, being with [my brothers] all the time,” he said. “I get along with them. The time, the competition and placing this well, I don’t have the words to describe it.”
Sipes had a day to remember. Even before he medaled, he finished fourth in his Class AA 100 semifinal heat, blazing across the line in 10.97.
In the finals, he ran a still-impressive 11.16, leaving Sipes with a tough decision on which made him most happy.
“I don’t know. They both feel pretty good,” Sipes said. “I was hoping to run under 11 seconds, but this medal feels amazing. I was so happy when I found out I got into the finals.”
The semifinal time was an eye-opener, though.
“It felt fast, but it didn’t feel that fast. But it definitely felt great.” Sipes said. “Definitely, getting out of the blocks [was the key]. You either get off to a good start or a bad start. Fortunately, I had a good start.”
It was the first of two semifinals for Sipes. He was unable to qualify for the finals in the 200, checking in at 23.17 to come in sixth in his heat. However, he still was pleased.
“I thought, coming in, I would get it in the hundred, but I didn’t think I would make it in the 200 because I was seeded like 23rd,” said Sipes, a converted 400-meter runner who now has loftier goals ahead.
“I’m going to strive to get higher than seventh [next year],” Sipes said.
Over had a similar revelation. He jumped 20-10 on his last jump of the flights to qualify for the long jump finals, then improved to 21-0 3/4 in the finals to secure his eighth-place medal.
Over took third in the triple jump on Friday.
“It gives a little bit more pressure [for the future], because, as the top finishing junior in both events, you’re expected to come back and do good next year,” Over said. “But it also gives me a lot of confidence because I know I can do it now.”
Over said winning two medals was surprising, and the first one played a role in the second.
“It made me feel that I could compete at this level, and that I could get another medal,” Over said. “I never really thought it would actually happen. I guess I was feeling good today and yesterday. It was awesome.”
Three others from the area competed in the event. Tyrone’s Charles Wilson-Adams was 18th at 20-1 3/4, Penn Cambria’s James Mardula was one spot back at 20-1 1/2, and Cambria Heights’ Shawn Lacue placed 24th with a leap of 19-3. In the Class AA discus, Bedford’s Josiah Koontz was 15th with a throw of 132-5.
None of the area’s three entrants in the Class AA 3200 meters reached the medal stand. Bedford’s Will Kachman was 10th with a time of 9 minutes, 43.70 seconds, Bellwood’s Kyle Bartlett took 14th and set a school record with a time of 9:52.83, and Central Cambria’s Bryce Descavich came in 26th with a time of 10:49.92.
O’Shea and Seth Worthing competed with Sipes in the 100 dash but were knocked out of medal chase in the semifinals, when they finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the first heat. O’Shea timed 11.21, Worthing at 11.52.
Bedford’s Will Kachman nearly capped a strong freshman year with a medal, taking 10th in Class AA in the two-mile run with a time of 9:43.70, about 8 seconds out of eighth place. Bellwood-Antis’ Kyle Bartlett was 14th at 9:52.83, and Central Cambria’s Bryce Descavich finished 26th with a time of 10:49.92.
In the Class AAA shot put, Hollidaysburg’s Matt Barton finished in 14th place. His best throw was 49-6 3/4.
Bedford’s Josiah Koontz finished 15th in the Class AA discus, producing a best throw of 132-5.