Seeded 19th, Bedford’s Kachman gets silver

SHIPPENSBURG – Bedford sophomore Will Kachman didn’t just have his sights set on getting on the medal stand at the PIAA Track and Field Championships in the Class AA boys 3200-meter run on Saturday, he was expecting to be at the top of it.

“I kind of figured I’d finish,” Kachman said, “either one or two.”

OK, but Kachman was seeded 19th.

It turned out Kachman had a much better feel for the race than the onlookers. Kachman turned in one of the day’s best performances for area boys on the second day of the meet at Seth Grove Stadium, winning the silver medal in the two-mile run.

It was an outstanding second day of the meet for area boys. In addition to gold medal-winning performances by Blake Over and Gus Yahner (see related stories) and Kachman’s second place, Cambria Heights Shawn Lacue took the bronze in the Class AA high jump, and the Bishop Carroll 400 relay team finished seventh in Class AA.

Kachman posted a time of 9 minutes, 31.22 seconds. That broke Shawn Goss’s school record and was more than 30 seconds better than Kachman’s District 5 championship time.

“I missed it last year by like .17,” said Kachman, who bested his personal record by about 8 seconds. “I practiced hard.”

Lake Lehman’s Dominic Hockenbury won the event, crossing the line in 9:17.18. Kachman and Hockenbury are well-acquainted: Kachman edged Hockenbury for 10th in the 3200 last year by less than a second, and Hockenbury returned the favor at state cross country in a battle for second place.

Kachman came out fast, going to the front early and leading for the first two laps. He said later that maybe he should have held back a little bit, but the approach seemed effective.

“That’s just how things worked. I felt I could keep that, so I went with it,” Kachman said.

After Hockenbury pulled away from Kachman and everyone else, there was a stretch mid-race when it appeared the Bedford soph might fall back. He battled to hold onto fourth, then put in the afterburners down the stretch to take second by more than a half-second.

“Just like every race, in lap 6 I start feeling it. Then it sort of goes away after I get over that hump,” Kachman said. “I figured I’d have a little bit left and a good chance of outkicking them.”

Kachman went old school for the race, breaking out an old Bedford track uniform with the No. 8 on the back. Kachman said he wasn’t discouraged by his low seed coming in.

“That’s just how our district works it,” Kachman said.

Kachman didn’t exactly savor the medal.

“I feel relieved. The nerves started kicking in this morning,” Kachman said.

Two other area runners were in the race with Kachman. Williamsburg’s Bryce England just missed the medals, finishing 10th with a time of 9:47.77. Central Cambria’s Bryce Descavich wasn’t that far back, placing 12th at 9:51.68.

Kachman came back later to run the 1600. He led briefly before falling back and finishing 12th with a time of 4:40.65.

Lacue had his best jump of the season – 6-6 – to take the bronze. Springfield’s Chris Stone won the event with a 6-7, and Fannett-Metal’s Bryce Chilcote edged Lacue for the silver on misses at 6-6.

The performance put the Heights senior one spot higher on the podium than last year.

“Just doing better than last year felt a lot better,” Lacue said. “After this whole season, getting 6-6 at states felt great.”

Lacue attributed his best height of the season to a desire to wrap up his scholastic career on an up-note.

“It was me thinking this is the last time I’ll ever jump in high school,” Lacue said. “That’s what really pushed me to go over the bar.”

Lacue approached his senior season almost in runner’s terms, like that of a marathon and not a sprint. What mattered most was being there at the end.

“During the season, I was definitely thinking that I wanted to do better at states. I just wanted to go higher,” Lacue said. “I was just looking at progressing this season so I could get 6-6. To not get it all season and then get it at states felt great.”

Central Cambria’s Tanner Ambrisco finished in a five-way tie for 13th in the event, going out after making 6-0.

Bishop Carroll’s 400 relay of Alex Repko, Brody Shuty, Dan Lesney and Matt Karlheim knew it was assured a medal so long as it finished its Class AA race. It did one better by placing seventh when Karlheim caught Riverside’s anchor down the stretch.

The Huskies’ first-ever medal performance clocked in with a time of 43.64, a new team record.

“We were ecstatic to be here, but, once we got here, we knew we could compete,” Repko said. “We did exceed our expectations a little bit. “Getting the medal means pretty much everything now. We wanted it, and it’s so awesome to get it.”

“It’s a big honor for us,” Shuty added.

Carroll’s relay has been competing together for a couple of years with a few tweaks here and there. Repko ran with it as a sophomore before giving his spot to Dane Woo last year. He came back when Woo was injured this season.

Shuty and Karlheim were state qualifiers in the 200 and 100, respectively, and Karlheim is the only underclassman on the team.

“We just have that chemistry,” Karlheim said. “We talk about handoffs all the time.”

Several other area boys competed on Saturday but didn’t medal. Tussey Mountain’s Darrin Sipes was knocked out of the 200 dash competition in the semifinals. Sipes, a medalist last year in the 100, clocked in at 22.90, finishing seventh in his heat.

In the Class AA discus, Central Cambria’s Chase Dill came in 21st. His best throw was 121-0. Altoona’s David Foreman recorded no height in the Class AAA high jump.