A history of success and high expectations will accompany area athletes competing at the PIAA Class 2A Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University

Conemaugh Township senior Ethan Black returns to the Seth Grove Stadium track, where he won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash gold medals in 2022.

“I know the target is there. I don’t let that bother me,” said Black, a Penn State University football recruit as a preferred walk-on who is seeded first in the boys 100 (10.48) and fourth in the 200 (22.05).

“I’m just out there doing my race, doing what I can do.”

The area is well-represented among the top seeds in the 100, with Richland’s Evan McCracken (10.87) in the fourth seed, Westmont Hilltop’s Max Zitnay (11.00) in ninth and Central Cambria’s Nolan Wyrwas (11.05) in the 11th seed.

Richland junior pole vaulter Logan Gossard also is back, holding onto the top seed (15-0) after winning gold a year ago (14-6).

“That’s the best jump I’ve had all season, and I’m lucky to take it,” Gossard said after clearing the bar at 15-0 to win the District 6 Class 2A title. “To win at states would be nice, to defend my title and move on from there.”

Penn Cambria’s Josh Stolarski (49.24) is the top seed in the 400-meter dash and the Panthers junior is seeded second (21.82) in the 200, with area runners Black (fourth, 22.05), Zitnay (fifth, 22.07) and McCracken (sixth, 22.26) all among the top contenders.

Windber’s Blake Klosky (54-71/2) is seeded second in the shot put and he also is a state qualifier in the discus.

“I had a good throw earlier this season, 53-9, but I’ve been in a slump and have been trying to get it back,” Klosky said after a record shot put throw in the District 5 meet.

“I went to Shippensburg in discus last year but didn’t place,” he said. “The atmosphere is crazy down there. There are so many more people, and it’s more amped up. I’m excited.”

Central Cambria senior Jon Wess (14.76) is seeded fourth in the 110 hurdles, with Chestnut Ridge senior Sam Albright (15.09) seeded ninth.

Conemaugh Township’s 400-meter relay squad of Garrett Tunstall, Cameron Dunn, Jon Updyke and anchor Black is seeded second after breaking the District 5 record with a 43.21 last week.

On the girls side, the Central Cambria 3200-meter relay squad looks to build on an impressive legacy in the event, which included a state championship in 2022.

In fact, the Red Devils’ 3200 relay has three golds, two silvers and a fourth place in the state competition since 2016. This year’s squad of Abbie George, Abigail Sheehan, Annaliese Niebauer and Alaina Sheehan is seeded first (9:36.13).

“The nerves aren’t non-existent, of course, but they aren’t extreme to the level that we’re making ourselves sick. You’re more relaxed going in. We know what to expect. We’re just ready, as always, to do our best and try to drop our time even more,” Niebauer said after the District 6 win. “I’m so proud of each and every one of us.”

Forest Hills senior distance runner Delaney Dumm looks to better a pair of runner-up finishes in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs last year at Shippensburg. She’ll duel with the returning state champ in each of those events, Jolena Quarzo of Brownsville.

Dumm (10:32.57) is seeded first in the 3200, ahead of Quarzo (10:55.07). Quarzo (5:05.28) is the top seed in the 1600, with Dumm (5:06.31) seeded second.

“This definitely eases (my concerns) going into states because I thought I was burned out. The last couple of races haven’t been my best, and I was a little scared,” Dumm said after a strong showing in the District 6 meet. “Doing this gives me a little confidence boost. It’s like, ‘You’re not done, yet.’ ”

Bedford junior hurdler Autumn Becker placed second in the 300-meter hurdles in last year’s state meet and is coming off another strong District 5 championship meet in which the Bisons won the team title.

Three area girls are among the top-11 seeds in the 100-meter dash. Somerset senior Sydney Rush (12.02) is seeded second after shattering a District 5 mark that had stood for 28 years last week.

Conemaugh Township sophomore Izzy Slezak (12.27) dueled with Rush at the district meet and earned the sixth seed.

Portage junior Cami Burkett (12.45) is seeded 11th in the 100-meter dash after winning District 6.

Richland junior Sasha Garnett (42-2¾) is seeded second in the shot put. Last year, Garnett placed third at the state meet with a 39-10.

Garnett (118-2) is seeded fourth in the discus.

Chestnut Ridge senior Belle Bosch (134-5) is the fourth seed in the javelin. The Lions multi-sport standout has plenty of statewide experience after placing third in the javelin with a 137-8 in 2022 and finishing as state runner-up with a 146-10 in 2021.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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Sports Reporter

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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