The District 10 Class AA track and field championships are set for Saturday morning at Hickory’s Hornet Stadium.
Before the first starter’s pistol sounds, here’s a look back at some of the most interesting moments from Wednesday’s Class AAA meet.
Later today, we’ll post a look ahead to Saturday’s most intriguing events.
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Class AAA look back:
• 1,600 showdown: Wednesday’s boys 1,600-meter race ended up having one of the best finishes of the day. The top seed, Grove City’s Dan Jaskowak, won the race in 4 minutes, 21.57 seconds, but he had to fight off great efforts from Fort LeBoeuf’s Matt McWilliams and Strong Vincent’s Josh Natalie. McWilliams placed second at the tape in 4:21.94 and Natalie was third in a personal-best 4:23.61. Cathedral Prep’s Martin Zegarelli narrowly missed the state-qualifying time of 4:24.22 with his 4:25.42 finish.
Perhaps the most impressive of those performances might have come from Natalie. The senior was determined to make the PIAA meet, and he led entering the final stretch. He bettered his seed time of 4:32.17 by more than 8 seconds.
• Freshman feat: McDowell’s Kelsey Swantek completed quite a distance running double Wednesday. The freshman won the Class AAA 3,200 run with a time of 11:57.47, beating top-seeded Heather Ziegler of Meadville by 2 seconds. With that victory, Swantek swept the two distance titles in District 10 Class AAA as a ninth-grader. In the fall, she won the D-10 AAA cross country title.
• Deak’s peak: McDowell’s Stephen Deak also turned in an impressive performance, winning both the 200 meters (22.83) and 400 meters (50.13). Deak won the 200 in a photo finish by edging top-seeded Joe Oduho of Prep by one one-hundredth of a second.
• Oduho’s consolation: Prep’s Oduho entered the AAA meet as the No. 1 seed in the long jump, 100 and 200. However, he finished second, seventh and second, respectively, in those events and did not qualify for states in any of the three. He had a near miss in the long jump, where he fell 1 inch short of the state-qualifying standard of 21 feet 10 inches. Of course, he also missed winning the 200 by one one-hundredth of a second.
Despite the disappointments, Oduho still earned a trip to Shippensburg when the Ramblers’ 400 relay team placed first. He teamed with Malik Moffett, Offel Jordan and Kimani Smith to finish in a time of 43.37 seconds.
• Gardner does it again: Fort LeBoeuf’s Kevin Gardner was selected as the Varsity Athlete of the Week after he won the Erie County Classic high jump last week with a school-record jump of 6 feet 5 inches. This came two weeks after he had surgery to remove his appendix. Gardner continued his quick, somewhat remarkable comeback by winning the D-10 Class AAA high jump title Wednesday with a leap of 6-3.
• Ackerman soars: McDowell’s Chad Ackerman also is bound for the PIAA meet after winning the pole vault with a height of 13 feet 9 inches. He topped second-place Brandon Deece of Corry by 6 inches.