Austin Rodman

Richland’s Austin Rodman leads during the 300-meter hurdles event at the PIAA District 6, Class AA Track and Field Championships in Altoona, PA., Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

ALTOONA – Sometimes it’s the unexpected points that a team accumulates that are the difference between a track and field title and second place.

Richland junior Jonathan Black was one of those contributors who helped the Rams to garner their second straight District 6 Class AA Track and Field Championship trophy on Wednesday at Mansion Park, edging Juniata by a point.

“Back-to-back for us, this was just a total team effort for us,” Richland coach Chris Mangus said. “It’s always our goal, team first and now they can go do their individual things at states.”

Richland, which also won District 6 championships in basketball and football this season, finished with 81 points and Juniata was second with 80. Central Cambria was third with 57 points followed by Ligonier Valley fourth with 45. Westmont Hilltop and Homer-Center were tied for fifth with 39 points.

Black, seeded fourth, won the discus toss with a throw of 142 feet, 1 inch.

“Coming in, I was hoping for top three to make it to states,” Black said. “This was a personal best by over 10 feet. I wasn’t expecting this.”

Richland also got a victory from Charles Levander in the 300 hurdles with a time of 41.48.

United sophomore Maizee Fry swept all three girls throwing events on Wednesday, winning the shot put with a heave of 41-0.5, the discus competition with a toss of 118-11 and the javelin with a throw of 120-0.

“I was kind of hoping to win the shot put and discus, but the javelin was a big surprise,” Fry said. “My coaches really helped me today to have confidence in myself. I was really nervous in the discus, so that wasn’t very close to my personal best, and I never really got it out there to where I wanted it to be.”

Ligonier Valley senior Elliot Rost won both the boys dashes, finishing the 100 in 11.20 and the 200 in 22.44. Rost then joined teammates Zach Beitel, Lucas Rashilla and Aaron Tutino for a winning run of 43.51 in the 400 relay and another school record.

“I couldn’t be much happier about today,” Rost said. 

“It was a PR in the 100 and we broke the school record by even more in the 400 relay. Our handoffs were finally pretty good and that’s really motivating.”

Central Cambria’s 3200 relay foursome of Abby Walwro, Faith Wilson, Ella Vrabel and Paige Wess didn’t come into Wednesday as the top seeds, but left with the top run in a time of 9:41.64.

“We were definitely the underdogs today, but we also didn’t have as much pressure on us,” Wess said after the race.

Wess went on to win a tightly contested 800 race in a time of 2:17.91 then joined teammates Walwro, Olivia Ratchford and McKenna Hayward for the victory in the 1600 relay in 4:04.19.

“It’s exciting for me knowing that this is my last one, but also that we have some younger girls that will be going to states to compete at Shippensburg for the first time and that I can be part of their journey, it means a lot to me,” Wess said.

The Bishop Carroll girls earned three championships on the day.

Maddie Murphy won the triple jump with a leap of 39-7.5 while teammate Caroline Ratchford was the high jump champ, clearing 5-2, and Kate Yahner was the pole vault champion at 10-0.

Alyssa Caddy of Forest Hills won the 200 in 26.61, Penn Cambria’s Lyric Janosik was the long jump champion with a leap of 18-1 and Portage freshman Lauren Shaffer was the 100 winner in a time of 13.12.

“It feels awesome to be going to states the first time in three events,” said Shaffer, who was also second in the 200 and the 400.

The boys 3200 winners were also from Central Cambria. Corey Roberts, Eli Wandel, Adam Lechleitner, Nate Kuntz finished with a winning time of 8:20.83.

Zach Farabaugh of Cambria Heights was the 110 hurdles champ in 15.78, Penn Cambria’s Jake Tsikalas was the triple jump winner with a leap of 42-9 while Bishop Carroll’s Kaleb Hilyer, who was seeded seventh, claimed the javelin title with a winning toss of 177-0. 

The top three finishers in each event qualified for the PIAA Championship May 24-25 at Shippensburg University.

Cory Isenberg is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5080.​ Follow her on Twitter @CoryIsenbergTD.

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