ALTOONA – The Hyde brothers can get the talk going in the throwing pits during the spring, but there are things that senior Nick does that leave sophomore Dustin in awe.
Like, for instance, the elder sibling’s 63-foot shot put in practice at Mansion Park Stadium on Thursday.
“It excites me a lot. I love watching him throw. There’s nothing better,” Dustin Hyde said.
And no better thrower in District 6 than big brother.
For the first time in his scholastic career, Nick Hyde swept the shot and the discus at the District 6 Class AAA Track and Field Championship Meet, breaking the event’s longest-standing record in the process.
Hyde will compete in both events at next weekend’s PIAA meet in Shippensburg; all event winners and those who achieved a predetermined standard in their respective event qualified for the two-day event.
Hyde was one of three Somerset Area High School senior performers to earn their spot at Seth Grove Stadium on Thursday. Taylor Fike advanced by winning the gold medal in the girls’ shot put, and Cejay Walker met the state qualifying time in finishing second in the boys’ 800-meter run.
The elder Hyde knocked Greater Johnstown’s Robert Wyatt out of the record book with a toss of 61 feet, 1 inch on his third attempt. Wyatt’s mark had been 58-7 … And it had stood since 1966.
“I took a picture with one of his nephews. He told me they were celebrating his 53-year-old record at a family get-together, and (Robert Wyatt) said, ‘Nobody’s ever going to break that record,’ ” Nick Hyde said. “His nephew said, ‘A couple of boys from Somerset are coming close to it.’ ”
Hyde finished second in the state meet last year, and he gained some extra satisfaction on Thursday by winning the discus for the first time with a throw of 162-10. He started throwing in seventh grade as a complement to weight training.
“It started for fun. I remember in my eighth grade year, my dad said ‘Throw it over my head,’ ” Hyde recalled. “I threw it, and he had to back up a step. I thought, ‘OK, this might have to get serious now.’ ”
Fike entered as the No. 1 seed in the girls’ shot, and, while her best throw of 33-8.25 was well off her season-best, it won gold by more than a foot.
This will be her first trip to the PIAA meet.
“It’s going to be exciting to see some people who throw really good,” Fike said.
Seeded fourth, Walker registered a time of 1 minute, 56.43 seconds. He needed 1:57 to qualify as a non-winner, and never had run under 2 minutes in the half-mile before.
“I had a strong start,” Walker said. “It’s usually 55 (seconds), and I run a 56 or 57. I had to stay with (Mifflin County’s Seth Phillips, the gold medalist). If I dropped off, I wasn’t going to make it.”
Dustin Hyde took silver to his brother in both the shot and the discus. Meanwhile, Somerset’s Alia Camacho took second in the pole vault after coming in seeded fifth, and bettered her personal record by 6 inches by clearing 11-0.
“I haven’t really had much competition this year. I finally had some competition to help me push myself,” Camacho, a senior, said.
Golden Eagles sophomore hurdler Haley Stickle endured heartbreak in the 100-meter hurdle finals. She was in a tight battle for first with Mifflin County’s Ella Spriggle in the final 25 meters when she clipped a hurdle and fell.
The third-seeded Stickle up settling for eighth. However, Spriggle won with a time of 15.3 seconds.
Had Stickle even remained with her and taken the silver, she almost certainly would have gotten the state qualifying standard of 15.4.
“My heel hit the hurdle and bruised my tibial bone,” Stickle said, trying to fight through tears.
Fifteenth-seeded Abbey Smith turned in a major surprise by taking bronze in the long jump. Her distance of 15-11 was more than a foot beyond what she had accomplished all season.
Somerset finished tied for fourth in the boys’ team standings and placed fifth on the girls’ side.
The best finish turned in by Greater Johnstown competitors was that of Gelicia Manor and the girls’ 400-meter relay team. The Trojans lived up to their seed, finishing third in the relay with a time of 52.01, while Manor crossed the finish line in the 400 meters in 1:01.29.
On the boys’ side, Eli Gunby placed sixth in the 400 meters (54.24).