Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Little Lions win team championship

ALTOONA — It was a monster meet for Brady Bigger and the State College Area High School boys at the District 6 Class 3A Track and Field Championships on Thursday, May 20 at Mansion Park Stadium.

Bigger won two individual events and was part of two gold-medal relays at the Little Lions won the team championship over always-powerful Altoona, 216.5-182.5.

The State College girls missed out on the team title by a half-point to Altoona despite a great day in the distance races and by jumper Shannon Mullin.

State College boys won seven individual events — sprinter Eniayo Ogunranti garnered two gold medals — and the Little Lions swept the relays. In all, the Little Lions qualified 15 competitors and teams for the PIAA meet on May 28 at Shippensburg University — district event winners advance, as do any performers that achieve a predetermined qualifying standard.

Pole vaulter Ian Dorefice, hurdler Ryan Lindenberg and high jumper Conrad Moore also finished at the top of the podium for State College.

Bigger won the 1600 meters with a time of 4 minutes, 19.27 seconds, then came back to triumph in the 800 in a tight race with teammates Sean Adams and Bennett Norton by posting a time of 1:55.75. Adams (1:55.94) and Norton (1:56.84) also qualified for states by virtue of their times.

Bigger, Adams and Norton opened the day by teaming with Mathew Staniar to clock 7:50.99 in winning the four-by-800 relay and ended the meet by joining Lindenberg for a gold-medal time of 3:23.99 in the 1600 relay.

Ogunranti edged fellow Little Lion Carson Franks by an eyelash to prevail in the 100 and 200. Ogunranti beat Franks by nine-hundredths of a second by flashing a 10.91 in the 100, then held off his teammate by eight-hundredths of a second with a 22.28 in the 200 finals. They’ll go at it again at states, as Franks’ times also allowed him to advance.

Lindenberg, Ogunranti and Franks, along with Nolan Markowski, won the 400 relay with a time of 42.19. Lindenberg also turned in a 39.70 to grab the gold in the 300 hurdles.

Moore was an easy winner in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 7 inches. Dorefice had a little tougher competition in the pole vault but won by achieving 13-3.

Mitchell Maher keyed the Little Lion throwers, qualifying for states by throwing a personal-record 154-9 in taking second place in the discus.

The top eight finishers scored points for their team. Other Little Lions who make it to the podium included Ben Spencer (second, shot put; fifth, discus; sixth javelin), Trent Dinant (second, 1600; third 3200), Charles Endres (second, 3200), Markowski (third, 200), John Sicree (third, 110 hurdles; fifth, 300 hurdles), Reese Steidle (fourth, 110 hurdles; eighth, 300 hurdles), Landon Leidy (fifth, long jump), Nick Sloff (fifth, 1600), Staniar (fifth, 400), Sam Bell (sixth, pole vault), Duncan Loviscky (sixth, triple jump) and Lucca Capparelli (seventh, 100)

The State College girls will have a strong presence on the track at states. Marlee Kwasnica, Jordan Reed and Grace Morningstar comprised three-fourths of a 3200-meter relay that won with a time of 9:35.69 before each went on to win individual events. Reed completed the 3200 in 10:58.69, Kwasnica ran 5:14.58 in the 1600 and Morningstar clocked 2:18.56 in the 800.

State’s Casie Eifrig, meanwhile, won the 400 with a time of 59.40. Karsyn Kane ran the third leg of the four-by-800 to punch her ticket to states.

Mullin qualified in two events, achieving the qualifying standard in both. She won the long jump with a distance of 18-6.25 after taking silver with a 36-9 triple jump.

Mia Iceland and Victoria Lesher also will represent the Lady Little Lions in Shippensburg. Iceland won the pole vault with a height of 11-0, just edging out teammate Victoria Sodeinde for the gold with teammate Sarah Neely taking third. Lesher’s 96-1 won the discus.

Other Lady Little Lions to finish in the top eight included Kane (second, 1600), Natalie Koncoski (second, 800), the four-by-400 relay (second), Abigail Bigger (third, 800), Amy Devan (third, 3200), Maya Ikenberry (third, 1600), the fourby-100 relay (third), Alex Antoniono (fifth, long jump; fifth, triple jump), Caroline Simon (fifth, shot put), Halle Rager (sixth, 100 hurdles; seventh 100 dash), Reese Cramer (sixth, 300 hurdles), Tanae Hardy (sixth, 400), Eifrig (seventh, 200), Lesher (seventh, javelin; seventh, shot put) and Elizabeth Curtin (eighth, 400).

Both Bellefonte teams finished seventh and no Raiders or Lady Raiders qualified for states. Bellefonte’s best performances came in the throws, where John Besch, William Brininger and Ella Underwood each won bronze medals in the boys’ shot put, boys’ javeline and girls’ javelin, respectively.

Austin Melius (fifth, 800), Mia Elmore (sixth, girls’ 1600 seventh, girls’ 3200), Logan Naspinski (sixth, 300 hurdles; seventh, boys’ 110 hurdles), Chase Ebeling (seventh, boys’ 1600; seventh, boys’ 3200), Kathryn Gearhart (seventh, 300 hurdles), Amber Corl (eighth, girls’ 300 hurdles), the boys’ 1600 relay (fourth) and the girls’ fourby 400 (fourth), and girls’ four by 400, boys’ four-by-100, girls’ four-by-100 (all sixth).