SHIPPENSBURG – Maizee Fry wore a necklace with a single word emblazoned on it – THROW – at the PIAA Class AA Track and Field Championships Saturday at Shippensburg University. 

The United sophomore did just that, with a bronze medal in the shot put on a heave of 40 feet, 7.5 inches. Fry also had made a podium appearance on Friday with a sixth-place finish in the discus competition.

“Last year I got a cross necklace from my mother and it was very inspirational to me and this year she got me one that says throw,” Fry said. 

“I wear it because I just throw. I know I can do my best and that I can throw far, so I just don’t have anything else on my mind when I get into that circle. 

“I’m like ecstatic. I didn’t expect that, but I’ve been working hard and I thank my coaches and my family for all the support they’ve given me to get me to this level.”

Fry made a splash last year with a fifth-place finish in the shot put in her first visit to the state meet.

“I have my expectations up very high,” the enthusiastic Fry said. “Next year, I want to be more consistent in the 42s and up. I am going to work hard this summer, working out and going to throwing camps so hopefully that will help me to get where I want to be next year at No. 1. 

“It is hard to get here (to the state meet), because everyone wants to do their best, and to really peak at this time is good, but I think the support that everyone gives you and the help from your coaches and the hard work you put in, gets you here.”

Northern Cambria sophomore Regan Sheredy finished 17th in the shot put in her first state championship appearance.

Central Cambria continued its podium appearances in the 3200 relay at the PIAA Championships with a fourth-place finish on Saturday.

The Red Devils foursome of Abby Walwro, Faith Wilson, Ella Vrabel and Paige Wess finished in a time of 9:41.46.

“I loved it, I just really like the atmosphere and everything that we got to do this weekend,” said Wilson, who made her first run with the Red Devils.

Vrabel added: “I ran a lot smarter this year than I did last year. It was awesome as a team to get fourth.”

Wess served as the anchor on Central Cambria’s 1600 relay which finished seventh in a time of 4:06.75. The senior joined Walwro, Olivia Ratchford and McKenna Hayward.

“It was an amazing feeling (being on the podium twice) with these girls,” Walwro said. 

“It’s my first time being here and the whole season was amazing, running with everyone.”

Added Ratchford: “Last year I came as an alternate and watching them run really motivated me to try to make it here this year.”

McKenna Hayward said that this year’s foursome was different than in the past.

“I felt like the past three years, it’s been the same group of girls, and this year we had a  different group of people and we’ve done a good job of adjusting to that,” Hayward said. “It was a great feeling to cap off my last race like this with a medal.”

For Wess, who also finished eighth in the 800 run, it was the eighth, ninth and 10th PIAA track medals of her impressive four-year running career that she accumulated on Saturday.

“It was a great way to end the season,” Wess said. “We’ve gotten seventh in the 1600 relay all four of my years.”

Another area relay also had a successful afternoon on Saturday as the Shade girls 400 quartet of Mary Hostetter, Emily Coddington, Lorna Speigle and Morgan Mauger finished in 49.99, for fourth place, the second time the foursome had run under 50 seconds.

“It was amazing to run in this race, it felt like we were flying,” said Hostetter, a freshman running in her first state meet.

Coddington, who finished 10th in the 1600 earlier in the day, said the competition really helped her.

“Racing against the other girls, it really helped to push me to push myself harder after I ran the mile,” Coddington said. 

“Everything hurt, but I knew that I had to go.”

Maurer ran the final leg of the race for the Panthers.

“I knew it was my last race and I really wanted to end it with a high finish,” Maurer said. 

“It’s my first time to get on the stand. I’m happy I got to experience this with my teammates.”

Speigle, who also finished seventh in the 400 run in 58.83, said that it was not the same as running during the rest of the year.

“Running at states is different that during the regular season so this was the time and place to run our best times,” Speigle said. “I’m really excited that I got on the podium in the 400 because this season hasn’t gone the way I had hoped. My times have been pretty slow. I have been in my head too much and was just making excuses for myself. I am proud that I was able to overcome those things.”

Portage freshman Lauren Shaffer also ran in the 400 and finished sixth in a time of 57.98 for her first state medal, breaking her own school record.

“This is so fun,” Shaffer said. “I am so happy. I have a state medal in my hand. Looking at the giant crowd here, it’s just amazing. I want to keep getting higher on the podium.

“I was really happy with my time. My coaches kept telling me to not get distracted and I stayed very focused the whole time.” 

Freshman Stella Kuntz of Central Cambria was 11th while senior Olivia Roman of Conemaugh Township was 18th in the 3200 run.

The 3200 race was won by Brownsville junior Gionna Quarzo, who established a new state record of 10:25.91, bettering the 2008 time of Carly Seymour of Central Cambria’s time of 10:31.85.

Richland’s Kristiana Cascino and Bishop Carroll’s Kate Yahner failed to clear the minimum height in the pole vault.

Shade’s Hostetter was eliminated in the semifinals in the 100.

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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