ALTOONA – Portage Area High School junior Lauren Shaffer took two first-place finishes, one runner-up and was part of a fourth-place relay squad in the District 6 girls Class 2A track and field championship meet at Mansion Park.
Richland senior Tierney Beebout claimed a pair of gold-medal jumps, and United senior Maizee Fry produced a first-place shot put throw and advanced to the state championship meet in two other events.
Those were among the highlights for area girls competing for a spot in the PIAA Class 2A championship meet in Shippensburg on May 28.
“I really like doing it,” Shaffer said of juggling so many events. “I like it because it gives me that push. It gives me motivation because I know I’m tired.”
Prior to the start of the finals, District 6 held a 30-second moment of silence, and public address announcer Lee Baranik made a touching statement in honor of former Tribune-Democrat sports writer Cory Isenberg, who died of cancer last month. Isenberg covered the district meet for many years and was a staunch supporter of high school sports, especially track.
Tyrone won the girls team title with 76.5 points, with Penns Valley (65.5), Forest Hills (65), Portage (51.5), Richland (47), Central Cambria (42), United (41), St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy (40), Westmont Hilltop (32) and Saltsburg (27) rounding out the top 10.
Portage’s Shaffer placed first in the 400-meter run (59.13), won the 1600 (5:06.27) and finished second in the 800 (2:18.2). She anchored the 1600-meter relay squad that placed fourth (4:15.93).
Shaffer , who also is a standout on the Mustangs’ girls softball team in the spring and the basketball team during the winter months, displayed stamina throughout a warm and sunny afternoon and into the evening.
“Since I run cross country and sprinting, put it together, it’s middle distance,” Shaffer said. “I did the 400 last year, too. I just can’t give that up.
“(Coach) Lance (Hudak) said, ‘It will be really hard.’ ”
“I focused more on the mile throughout the dual meet season. Now, he said, ‘There will be time in between during these big meets.’
“I tried it. It definitely is hard. My trainer is literally lifting me off the track. I pretty much want to do it. You have to put your mind to it. It really takes some dedication to do it.”
Richland’s Beebout won the high jump with a 5-6 and placed first in the triple jump at 35-1.5. Her teammate Morgan Philibin also advanced to the state meet by placing third in the triple at 34-2.
“Today I tried my best to stay out of my head,” said Beebout, who has signed to continue her jumping career at St. Francis University.
“The Altoona meet this past Friday really helped because I got used to the environment.”
Beebout’s showing in the high jump ignited her performance.
“My personal record is 5-6 in the high jump as of today,” Beebout said. “That was really cool that I could get that today. My 5-6, I actually made it on my first attempt and I was over by a lot, so I went for that 5-8. I was so close, but I didn’t get it.”
“I wasn’t where I wanted to be in the triple, but I still got a ride to states. My triple, my winning jump was in my first three jumps. I was tired after my 100 hurdles and high jump.”
“I honestly think I’m in shock,” Beebout said. “It won’t be in my head that I’m actually going until later. My sophomore year I placed third (at districts) and made it to states.”
United senior Maizee Fry, who is headed to NCAA Division I Robert Morris University to compete in track, also had a full schedule during the district meet.
Fry won the shot put with a throw of 41-0.5 and was second in both the discus and javelin.
“Coming in, I had a lot of pressure on myself because I won all three (events) two years ago,” Fry said. “Really, for the conditions we’ve been through this year, I was looking to go to states for all three again and I’m glad I was able to make that happen.”
“All the girls today did so good. I’m really proud of all them for pushing through this tough season.”
Fry met expectations in her favorite event.
“The shot is my most comfortable (event) and I’m known for that,” Fry said. “My discus was a little shaky but I got a good mark. Once you get a good mark, then I was able to settle myself. I know I need to work on javelin. I had a little mishap with my ankle but I was able to get a good throw to get to states. I’ll take it.”
In the discus, Homer-Center sophomore Justley Sharp placed first with a 124-01. Top-seeded Fry was second at 119-10 and senior Josi Wehner of Forest Hills placed third at 107-7.
Forest Hills’ Wehner won the javelin with a throw of 125-9.
Fry was second (125-2).
Area girls Remingtyn Smith (16.04) of Forest Hills and Blacklick Valley’s Morgan Slebodnick (16.37) finished second and third, respectively, to advance to the state meet in the 100-meter hurdles.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Clare Marsh placed first at 15.19.
Marsh also won the 300 hurdles (45.75), with the Rangers’ Smith (47.17) and Central Cambria’s Abigail Walwro (48.02) each advancing to the state meet by placing second and third, respectively.
The Central Cambria 3200-meter relay squad of Abigail George, Stella Kuntz, Faith Wilson and Walwro placed first in 9:51.23.
Central Cambria’s Annaliese Niebauer was second (11:30.92) and Forest Hills’ Delaney Dumm was third (11:36.05) in the 3200-meter run.
In the pole vault, two area girls qualified as Westmont Hilltop’s Madison Knupp (9-0) placed second and Forest Hills’ Monica Krug (8-6) finished third behind winner Lydia Worthing (9-6) of Bellwood-Antis.
Cambria Heights’ Pamela Kirkpatrick placed second with a 16-4.5 long jump to advance to the state meet.
In the pole vault, Westmont Hilltop’s Madison Knupp (9-0) and Forest Hills’ Monica Krug (8-6) placed second and third, respectively, to qualify.
Northern Cambria’s Regan Sheredy finished third in shot put.
Bishop McCort Catholic senior Caroline Ingram advanced with a second-place finish in the 400 (1:00.14).
Runner-up Westmont Hilltop also qualified for the state meet by placing second. Julia Dill, Ayda Dorian, Avari Admire and Ellie Dorian ran a 9:59.84.
In the 1600-meter relay, the Red Devils squad of Wilson, Walwro, Ella Vrabel and Olivia Ratchford placed second to qualify for the state meet.