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Rinker a golden girl for Tigers

Hollidaysburg Area High School senior Mackenzie Rinker danced atop the winners’ podium while tears filled her eyes.

Admittedly, she wasn’t expecting to hear her name announced as the District 6 Class 3A girls discus champion on Thursday, but she couldn’t hold back her emotions.

“I’m so happy,” Rinker said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been on the podium, and I have a gold medal in my hand right now. It’s crazy.”

Rinker was seeded 13th in the event but ended up winning with a throw of 97 feet, 2 inches, which bettered her previous best by nearly 5 feet. She was one of three individual girls winners from Hollidaysburg in the District 6 Class 3A Championships at Mansion Park.

In addition to Rinker, Hollidaysburg senior Aly Snyder won the 300-meter hurdles, and senior Darcie Frazier overcame disappointment in the 200-meter dash to win the long jump. Altoona had two relays triumph — the 4-by-100 and the 4-by-400.

Winners of each event automatically qualified for the PIAA state meet in Shippensburg next Friday and Saturday, along with those meeting a pre-determined state qualifying standard. Hollidaysburg senior Paige Jodon (high jump) and Altoona freshman Brooke Long (triple jump) earned their tickets to states in that manner.

Rinker was arguably the biggest surprise of the meet, having never won any big invitationals. She said she is hoping to increase her distance a few more feet, possibly to 100, at the state meet.

“My (throwing) coach (Jenn McConnell) yesterday told me a story about a girl who lost at districts by 1 inch,” Rinker said. “She told me, ‘that won’t be you; you got this.’ She really motivated me.”

Possibly Rinker’s performance rubbed off on Snyder, another Lady Tiger who has never competed at states in an individual event. Seeded third, she gave everything she had and ended up winning the 300 hurdles with a state qualifying time of 46.18 seconds.

“I just woke up one day and said, ‘this is how I need to do this race,”’ Snyder said. “From there, my times started to drop. I definitely knew it would be a competitive race walking in today. It feels amazing to win it.”

Frazier, one of Hollidaysburg’s all-time best all-around track athletes, began her day with a false start in the 200 dash, an event in which she was top-seeded and the defending champ. Her day ended with a loss to Altoona in the 1600 relay, but in between she dominated the long jump competition by hitting a distance of 17-7.75.

“It was definitely a mix of emotions,” Frazier said. “I’m happy to go to the state meet in the long jump, but it was heartbreaking to false start in the 200, and we ran our best time in the 4-by-4, so you can’t expect more than that.”

Frazier will be making her fourth trip to states, but she hasn’t competed in the long jump there since her freshman season. Jodon is also familiar with the state championships, having qualified when she was a sophomore. She finished second in the high jump Thursday but cleared the state qualifying height of 5-3.

“Being that I’m a senior, to be able to go to states again was my main priority,” Jodon said. “I didn’t have anything to win or lose. It feels good to be going back this year.”

Altoona’s qualifiers will all be making their first trips to states. Long just took up jumping last year and has improved to the point where she bettered the triple jump state qualifying standard by more than 2 inches with a jump of 36-8.25. Like Frazier, she false-started in one of her better events, the 100 dash, and used that as motivation in the triple jump.

“I was really nervous, but I turned the nervousness into power,” Long said. “I was really mad at myself (after the 100 dash), but I really pushed to do better in the triple jump.”

Long led off the Altoona 400 relay and was followed by fellow freshman Ashtyn Hileman, junior Ta’Shay Seward and sophomore Darrian Berkheimer. They were seeded behind State College but ran their best time of the season to win with a 49.64.

In what was probably the most exciting race of the night, junior Maggie Fox, sophomore Sarah Graham, Hileman and Berkheimer took 6 seconds off their previous best time and won the 1600 relay with a 4:04.87.

Berkheimer came from behind on the final leg to overtake Hollidaysburg in the final 100 meters as seemingly everyone in the stadium roared.

“I told myself to keep up the pace, to keep going strong,” Berkheimer said. “At the 100 mark, I thought I definitely can do it and pushed myself. (The cheering) was insane (coming down the stretch). I used that to help motivate me to keep pushing through.”

Notes: State College won nine of the 18 events and won the team title, followed by Altoona and Hollidaysburg … Snyder and Altoona’s Gianna Caputo were honored as Blair County Outstanding Performers for their schools … Mifflin County’s Skylar Ciccolini broke her own meet record in the javelin with a throw of 173-7.

Key, team standings: 1, SC–State College, 208.5; 2, A–Altoona 128; 3, H–Hollidaysburg, 111; 4, MC–Mifflin County, 92.5; 5, SO–Somerset, 65; 6, CM–Central Mountain, 45; 7, B–Bellefonte, 33; 8, J–Johnstown, 12.

100 dash: 1, Lose, SC, 12.54; 2, Tryninewski, H, 12.79; 3, Seward, A, 13.10; 4, Miller, H, 13.12; 5, Snowberger, H, 13.13; 6, Rios, SO, 13.15; 7, Noel, SC, 13.17; 8, Barger, CM, 13.29.

200 dash: 1, Graham, SC, 26.15; 2, Lose, SC, 26.30; 3, Johnson, A, 27.20; 4, Barger, CM, 27.43; 5, Spencer, SC, 27.58; 6, Rios, SO, 27.71; 7, Seward, A, 28.58.

400 dash: 1, Eifrig, SC, 1:00.18; 2, Tryninewski, H, 1:01.05; 3, Manor, J, 1:01.29; 4, Graham, A, 1:01.65; 5, Oesterling, SC, 1:03.06; 6, White, A, 1:04.32; 7, Burk, H, 1:04.34; 8, Johnson, SC, 1:04.50.

800 run: 1, Haushalter, SC, 2:24.70; 2, Maras, SC, 2:27.65; 3, Knappenberger, SC 2:29.93; 4, Rothrock, B, 2:36.96; 5, Rupert, A, 2:38.74; 6, Mongante, B, 2:40.18; 7, Robinette, MC, 2:40.79; 8, Barton, H, 2:44.80

1600 run: 1, Kane, SC, 4:59.80; 2, Gilpatrick, SC, 5:17.58; 3, Cubison, MC, 5:30.89; 4, Solo, SC, 5:32.24; 5, McClain, H, 5:36.62; 6, Kuykendall, MC, 5:42.30; 7, Elmore, B, 5:47.48; 8, Nesbitt, CM, 5:48.49.

3200 run: 1, Reed, SC, 11:27.00; 2, Cottingham, SC, 11:54.85; 3, Simon, SC, 11:55.87; 4, Galbraith, MC, 12:03.93; 5, Kelley, A, 12:33.75; 6, Nesbitt, CM, 12:48.43; 7, Chan, SO, 12:53.40; 8, Montgomery, MC, 13:05.04.

100 hurdles: 1, Spriggle, MC, 15.30; 2, Caputo, A, 15.70; 3, Spencer, SC, 15.83; 4, Snyder, H, 15.99; 5, Rentz, A, 16.92; 6, Rich, CM, 17.08; 7, Lockard, A, 17.52; 8, Stickle, SO, 18.79.

300 hurdles: 1, Snyder, H, 46.18; 2, Spriggle, MC, 46.97; 3, Rentz, A, 48.45; 4, Fox, A, 48.98; 5, Smeal, A, 51.02; 6, Stickle, SO, 51.14; 7, Evertt, H, 52.18; 8, Asbury, SC, 53.55.

400 relay: 1, Altoona (Long, Hileman, Seward, Berkheimer), 49.64; 2, State College, 50.04; 3, Johnstown, 52.01; 4, Hollidaysburg, 52.64; 5, Somerset, 53.19; 6, Central Mountain, 53.71; 7, Bellefonte, 54.42; 8, Mifflin County, 57.28.

1600 relay: 1, Altoona (Fox, Graham, Hileman, Berkheimer), 4:04.87; 2, Hollidaysburg, 4:05.73; 3, State College, 4:13.37; 4, Mifflin County, 4:24.21; 5, Bellefonte, 4:25.36; 6, Somerset, 4:49.92.

3200 relay: 1, State College, 10:04.25; 2, Mifflin County, 10:23.06; 3, Bellefonte, 10;46.13; 4, Altoona, 10:59.93; 5, Somerset, 11:37.41; 6, Hollidaysburg, 12:10.61.

High jump: 1, McCoy, CM, 5-5; 2, *Jodon, H, 5-3; 3, *Spencer, SC, 5-3; 4, (tie), Spriggle, MC, and Isenberg, H, 4-11; 6, Barton, H, 4-9; 7, Gonsman, A, 4-7; 8, Rowland, B, 4-7.

Long jump: 1, Frazier, H, 17-7.75; 2, Sechler, MC, 16-8; 3, Smith, SO, 15-11; 4, Caputo, A, 15-9.75; 5, Pagano, SC, 15-8.5; 6, Neely, SC, 15-7.75; 7, Long, A, 15-4.5; 8, Snowberger, H, 15-2.75.

Triple jump: 1, Pagano, SC, 37-11; 2, *Long, A, 36-8.25; 3, Sechler, MC, 35-4.25; 4, Robson, B, 34-5.75; 5, Parnell, H, 33-10.5; 6, Smith, SO, 33-7.25; 7, Miller, H, 33-0.75; 8, Plutko, A, 32-7.

Shot put: 1, Fike, SO, 33-8.25; 2, Probst, CM, 32-6.5; 3, Yerka, SC, 31-5; 4, Whysong, A, 30-11.5; 5, Basala, SO, 30-3.5; 6, Price, A, 29-0; 7, Shimp, MC, 28-2.25; 8, Chille, A, 27-11.5.

Discus: 1, Rinker, H, 97-2; 2, Price, A, 97-1; 3, Oputa, SC, 96-3; 4, Fike, SO, 94-9; 5, Probst, CM, 94-5; 6, Lesher, SC, 91-8; 7, Fox, CM, 88-6; 8, Basala, SO, 87-3.

Javelin: 1, S. Ciccolini, MC, 173-7 (meet record); 2, *T. Ciccolini, MC, 146-1; 3, Alwine, A, 96-3; 4, Zimmerman, CM, 95-6; 5, Bickle, B, 94-11; 6, Richard, SO, 90-8; 7, Urbain, SO, 88-3; 8, Underwood, B, 84-0.

Pole vault: 1, Reed, SC, 11-6; 2, Camacho, SO, 11-0; 3, Kokoskie, SC, 11-0; 4, T. Ciccolini, MC, 10-0; 5, (tie), Iceland, SC, and Isenberg, H, 9-6; 7, Kelley, A, 9-6; 8, Krier, A, 9-0.

*–Met the state qualifying standard

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