Five Centre County athletes earned gold medals this weekend at the 2022 PIAA Track and Field Championships. State High’s Shannon Mullin won the triple jump with a jump of 40 feet, 8 inches, while the State High boys’ 4x800 relay team — made up of Mathew Staniar, Trent Dinant, Nick Sloff and Sean Adams — won gold with a time of 7 minutes, 45.36 seconds.
State High was one of four Centre County schools with athletes participating at the championships, which were held on Friday and Saturday in Shippensburg.
The Little Lions found the most success at the event, with the two gold medals and five total top-five finishes.
Mullin’s success — along with a third-place finish by the 4x800 relay team that State High coach Jennifer Evans said “showed a ton of determination” — helped the girls’ team finish second with 24 points, tied with Haverford Township and only behind Moon Area with 30 points.
Mullin accounted for 18 of those points and was in position to perform at that level because of the work she put in and her mindset, according to State High coach Evans.
“It takes a whole lot of focus and a whole lot of good energy and a little bit of magic to have your very best performance at the state meet,” Evans told the Centre Daily Times. “There are just so many uncontrollable variables. Shannon is just steadfast in her resolve to succeed. I couldn’t be prouder of her performances both Friday and Saturday.”
While Mullin led the way for the girls’ team, it was a group effort that helped the boys’ team win a gold. The 4x800 relay team’s gold came after a long stretch off between competitions.
Ultimately, the group’s perseverance and preparation helped push it across the finish line first, and according to State High coach Artie Gilkes, defied some expectations while maintaining a strong tradition in the race.
“We knew that they could do it,” Gilkes told the CDT. “I know a lot of schools were anticipating us having a little bit of a down week or a down meet in that event. ... To say I was pleased with it would be an understatement. I was very, very excited. ... I was really proud of them. They laid it on the line.”
The lone other top-five finish on the boys’ team came from Ian Dorefice, who finished first in the pole vault with a vault of 14-6.
The girls’ team added a silver from Mullin in the long jump at 18-9.25 and a bronze from the 4x800 relay team of Marlee Kwasnica, Natalie Koncoski, Grace Morningstar and Chloe Poindexter. They ran the race in 9:28.25.
Bald Eagle had the highest finisher among the AA participants with long jumper Owen Irvin’s sixth-place finish. Irvin, who also finished 17th in the triple jump. jumped 21-5.25 to finish sixth.
The Eagles also had Abigail Hoover competing in two field events, where she finished 14th (discus, 94-2) and 19th (javelin, 103-7), but making it to states alone had an even greater appeal to Hoover than most.
The Bald Eagle thrower watched her sister, Angela Hoover, get inducted into the Pennsylvania High School Track & Field Hall of Fame. Not to mention, she was coached by her father and Bald Eagle coach, Ron Hoover.
The experience was a goal Abigail set out to achieve early on this year.
“It was awesome,” Ron told the CDT. “We found out in January that Angela was gonna be inducted. Abby said, ‘well, I wanna get there and compete.’ That was a great motivational tool for her. Angela was one of my volunteer coaches this year, and it was great to have her there. I know Abby really enjoyed it.”
Philipsburg-Osceola’s lone participant was distance runner Chad Muckey, who finished 18th in the 3,200m run (9:51.03) and 20th in the 1,600m run (4:31.24).
Penns Valley had multiple qualifiers, with Cameron Upcraft finishing 12th in the girls’ high jump at 5-0.
Bald Eagle girls
Discus - Abigail Hoover — 14th, 94-2
Javelin - Abigail Hoover — 19th, 103-7
Bald Eagle boys
Long jump - Owen Irvin — 6th, 21-5.25
Triple jump - Owen Irvin — 17th, 40-3.50
Penns Valley girls
400 meter dash - Abigail Stitzer — 20th, 1:01.79, did not qualify for finals
800 meter run - Abigail Stitzer — 9th, 2:20.54
High jump - Cameron Upcraft — 12th, 5-0
Penns Valley boys
High jump - Zach Braucht — NH
Long jump - Zach Braucht — 22nd, 19-0.5
1600 meter run - Chad Muckey— 20th, 4:31.24
3200 meter run - Chad Muckey — 18th, 9:51.03
State High girls
4x800 relay - Marlee Kwasnica, Natalie Koncoski, Grace Morningstar, Chloe Poindexter — 3rd, 9:28.25
100 Meter hurdles - Sarah Tate — 17th, 16.27, did not qualify for finals
400 meter dash - Victoria Walker — 24th, 1:00.92, did not qualify for finals
800 meter run - Grace Morningstar — 10th, 2:21.81
Triple Jump - Shannon Mullin — 1st, 40-8, top in state, top 25 in USA, broke school record
Long Jump - Shannon Mullin — 2nd, 18-9.25
State High boys
4x800 relay - Mathew Staniar, Trent Dinant, Nick Sloff, Sean Adams — 1st, 7:45.36
110 meter hurdles - John Sicree — 25th, 16.64, did not qualify for finals
1600 Meter run - Nick Scoff — 13th, 4:17.50
4x100 relay - Ryan Lindenberg, Jonathan Mwangi, Dylan Grunwald, Nolan Markowski — 21st in prelims, 44.56, did not qualify for finals
300 meter hurdles - Ryan Lindenberg — 10th in prelims, 40.09, did not qualify for finals
800 meter run - Sean Adams — 18th, 1:56.24
4x400 relay - Ryan Lindenberg Sean Adams John Sicree Mathew Staniar — 10th in prelims, 3:22.12, did not qualify for finals
Pole Vault - Ian Dorefice — 5th, 14-6
Discus - Mitchell Maher — 17th, 139-0
State College — tied for second place, 24 points
State College — tied for 14th place, 14 points
Bald Eagle — tied for 59th, 3 points