It was an unprecedented and abrupt ending Tuesday at the District 6 Class AA Track and Field Championships at Mansion Park.
Lightning and a torrential downpour which lasted over a half hour halted events at the meet at around the halfway point. Action will pick up at 4 p.m. today, weather permitting.
The rainfall was so abundant that there were giant puddles that formed near the entrance to the track, in all of the jumping pits at all of the throwing venues as well as on the infield surface.
“As I’m sure you can see, we had rain like this last year, but the rain did not last anywhere near that long,” said District 6 track official Steve Rhodes at an assembled meeting of all of the coaches. “The rain basically rendered this place unusable. This is a bad storm.”
Prior to the stoppage of the meet, a number of area girls qualified for the PIAA Track and Field Championships May 23-24 at Shippensburg University. The top three finishers in each event automatically qualified.
Richland senior Kelci Warshel won the 100 meters in 15.82. She was also second in the triple jump, qualifying for the state championship and fourth in the 300 hurdles, but still had a state qualifying time of 47.53 and will advance to Shippensburg.
“I just wanted to win in the 100 hurdles or at least make sure that I got a state qualifying time,” Warshel said. “We all had such good seeds going into it. It’s awesome to win that race. In the 300’s, I was fourth, but my time is good enough to get me to states and it was a pr (personal record). In the triple jump, I came in seeded third and knew that I had to have one of my best jumps to make sure that I made the top three. I got a 36-1.5, which was one of my pr’s. “
Ligonier Valley junior Jasmine Connor had a personal record and a school record with her winning time in the 300 hurdles race. She ran a 45.2, which broke the meet record set in 2012 by Richland’s Paige Lumley (45.65).
“It was really tough to run in this heat; it kills you,” Connor said. “I wanted to qualify for states. I worked so hard for this. Last year I came so close and I was heartbroken and it was just out of my grasp.
“The school record was 47.18 and was set about 10 years ago. I broke it earlier with a 47.02 and then today I broke it again.”
In the final event of the day before the storm rolled in, Connor also won the 400, finishing in a state qualifying standard time of 59.08.
Richland senior Maddison Feather had the top height in the pole vault, the only vaulter to clear 10-feet.
Central Cambria’s 3200 relay foursome of Jackie Bracken, Hannah Swope, Sam Koss and Emma Wess won in 9:54.26.
Bishop McCort sophomore Tahlyn Miller earned fastest sprinter in Class AA honors, winning the 100 dash in 12.83.
West Central and Heritage Conference champion, senior Kennedy Fletcher of United won the discus throw with a toss of 109-9.
Halfway through the meet, Richland was in the lead in the team race with 58 points, followed by Ligonier Valley with 34. Bellwood-Antis and Bishop McCort were tied at 27.
Other qualifiers for the PIAA Tournament on the track were: Bishop Carroll junior Carrie D’Andrea and Forest Hills sophomore Kaitlyn Kline in the 300 hurdles; Forest Hills senior Brooke Novotny and United senior Laken Pudliner in the 100 hurdles; Richland freshman Allison Patula in the 100; Westmont Hilltop senior Hannah Dorian in the 1600 run; Richland freshman Gretchen Marx in the 400; and the Westmont Hilltop 3200 relay unit of Maura Glennon, Emily Tyger, Taylor Kaseler and Dorian.
Other field event qualifiers were: Ligonier Valley senior Amanda Ross (discus); Bishop McCort senior Tonni Melendez (triple jump); Penn Cambria junior Marissa Myers (high jump); and Richland junior Haley Lengenfelder (high jump).
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.