Ratchford, Janosik claim bronze in jumps

PIAA Track and Field Championships -- girls

Photo for the Mirror by Curt Werner Penn Cambria’s Lyric Janosik long jumps to a third-place finish.

SHIPPENSBURG — Caroline Ratchford came into the high jump with the weight of it being her last high school track and field event but with the poise of a senior.

The result was a bronze medal and a personal best clearance of 5 feet, 5 inches Friday in the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium.

“I was feeling confident going in and didn’t think about the pressure of this being my last track meet,” Ratchford said. “I wanted to go all out and have fun and not be nervous, and that’s what I did. I just wanted to medal, and I wasn’t expecting to get into the top three. Having this medal means a lot to me.”

Ratchford crashed into the pole on her final attempt at 5-foot-6, but rather than hang her head in disappointment, the senior flashed a big smile and a thumbs up to her supporters.

The Bishop Carroll senior had local company on the medal stand.

Penn Cambria junior Lyric Janosik tied for eighth place after clearing 5 foot, 2 inches.

“It feels awesome medaling in my first event on my first trip to states,” Janosik said. “I came here with high hopes. I wasn’t expecting to win, because there are some really good athletes, but I gave it my best.”

Janosik said going up against such stellar competition was a good learning experience.

“I got a little tired, but I pushed past that and got 5-2,” Janosik said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get 5-4, but this means so much to me, especially knowing I still have next year to do better.”

Janosik quickly transitioned from a state track rookie to a top seed with her first real opportunity at gold ahead of her in the long jump and responded with a leap of 17 feet, 9.75 inches. The mark tied her for second, but she took home a bronze after the second jump tiebreak didn’t go her way.

“With the long jump, I was coming in here hoping to win the gold,” Janosik said. “I’m only a junior, so I’m going to come back bigger and better next year.”

When Janosik said bigger, she wasn’t speaking in a cliche.

“I’m definitely going to do a lot more weight lifting, for sure,” Janosik said. “That’s a big factor. I’m going to train even harder than I did this year.”

Everett’s Kaitlyn Maxwell (58.63 seconds) and Portage’s Lauren Shaffer (58.20) each qualified for the Class 2A 400-meter final today. In fact, four of the race’s eight competitors will be from District 5 or 6 as Penns Valley’s Isabella Culver and Shade’s Lorna Speigle also qualified.

Maxwell’s day wasn’t over, and she’ll be busy again today.

The Everett junior also qualified for the 12-competitor 800-meter run final.

“It was my goal coming in to make the finals in both,” Maxwell said. “I’m hoping my times are better (Saturday), but I think running both was a good decision. I just don’t want to get ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th in the 800 (Saturday).”

Central Cambria’s Paige Wess will also be a part of that 800-meter run final after running the preliminary race in 2:19.2.

Wess will be busy as she’s also part of Central Cambria’s 3,200-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay teams that advanced to today’s medal round.

Tyrone’s 400-meter relay team did not advance past the preliminary round, but the squad consisting of Brianna Foy, Elise Gailey, McKenzie Latchford and Natalie Saltsgiver had a spirited celebration in the middle of Seth Grove Stadium.

Their time of 51.25 seconds broke a school record. Foy and Gailey are juniors, and Latchford and Saltsgiver are freshmen, meaning the team will have a chance to do even better next year.

“It’s just crazy, I didn’t think we were going to break it,” Foy said. “We knew we weren’t going to win, but we had a goal to break the school record. It has been held for six years now, and we just broke it.”

n Altoona’s Brooke Long finished 23rd in the Class 3A girls triple jump with a performance of 35 feet, 6.5 inches.

n Portage’s Shaffer (12.88), Tyrone’s Latchford (13.04) and Bishop Guilfoyle’s Aurielle Brunner (13.06) failed to reach the semifinals in the Class 2A girls 100-meter dash. Shaffer also was eliminated in the 200-meter dash (26.7).

n Central Cambria’s Stella Kuntz did not qualify for the 1,600-meter final after running a 5:26.91 in her preliminary race.

n Hollidaysburg’s Aly Snyder finished the Class 3A girls 300 hurdles competition in 47.08 and did not advance to today.

n Ashley Ferguson of Bedford (49.55) was eliminated during the Class 2A girls 300 hurdles preliminary round.

n The Penn Cambria and Altoona girls 400 relay teams did not make it past the preliminary round in their respective races.

n The Altoona girls 1,600-meter relay team was eliminated in the preliminary round.

n In the 3,200-meter relay, the Bedford girls failed to make it out of the preliminary stage.

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