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Three MC athletes advance to State Track
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Cole Proffitt had no margin for error.
Having fouled on his first two javelin attempts in the prelims of the District Three Triple-A Track and Field Championships last Saturday at Shippensburg University, it all came down to one throw for the Manheim Central junior.
"I was talking to (Cocalico’s) Kyle (Felpel) and all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a State thing right here. If I don’t throw this, then I’m not at States.’ So after I realized that, it was a lot more nerve-wracking."
Proffitt, though, kept those nerves in check and unleashed a throw of 187 feet, 3 inches, meeting the State-qualifying standard of 178-0 and punching his ticket to the finals. There, his heave of 191-0 earned him the silver medal, behind only Robert Doster of Middletown, who won gold with a personal-best 200-0.
"I’m not exactly happy with (191-0), but it’s alright. I finished in second place," Proffitt said. "I’m still happy with that."
Seniors Breanna Barber and Morgan Mummau also left Shippensburg happy with State berths in their pocket. Barber cleared 5-3 in the girls high jump and placed fifth to win her first District medal, while Mummau took fifth place in both the 100 (12.21) and 200 (25.12) and advanced in both events. Mummau again broke her own school mark in the 200.
"We brought nine athletes with us (to Districts) this season and this year we have three athletes going to the State Meet," Central coach Shane Mack said. "Usually, we only get maybe one or two athletes, so things went pretty well."
The Barons nearly got a fourth qualifier, as sophomore Danae Peters placed sixth in the girls 1,600 in 5:13.76. Unfortunately, however, she was just 39-hundredths of a second from the State qualifying time of 5:13.37.
"It’s frustrating," Peters acknowledged, "but I did well, so I can’t really complain that much."
Proffitt, too, did well. But after winning the L-L League gold with a school-record throw of 200-7 one week earlier, he had been hoping to improve on his personal-best.
With his back to the wall following his first two attempts in the prelims, however, he was just happy to still be in the game after his third throw.
"I’ve done it already before this season because I tend to throw to the right," Proffitt said, "so I just started on the right side throwing like a diagonal-runway type thing. It was nerve-wracking, though. Definitely."
As he released the javelin, he was confident that his throw would land in the 180’s.
"I didn’t expect it to be a 200 or 190 or anything like that," Proffitt said. "I just wanted to take it safe and get it out there."
His next throw — his first in the finals — did place him in the 190-foot range, however. Using a five-step approach, Proffitt launched a throw of 191-0 which cemented his hold on second place. From there, on a full run-up, he fouled on his second throw of the finals and ended up with a heave of 187-2.
"I was hitting my five step real well and I think personally, I should have stuck with that," Proffitt said, "but my coach and I wanted to go for the big one."
That big throw will now have to wait for the PIAA Championships this weekend. Proffitt is seeded fourth in the javelin competition, which will be held on Saturday starting at 12:30 p.m.
"Second place is still good," Proffitt said. "I’m still very happy (to qualify for States). Hopefully, I’ll hit a 210 or something like that."
Elsewhere, Barber took advantage of a strong run-up in the girls high jump to put herself among the group of leaders which included Solanco’s Emily Allport, Twin Valley’s Hannah Frederick, Wilson’s Emily Miller and Milton Hershey’s Ahmena Richardson. The MC senior cleared 5-3 on her second attempt, and with it, she met the State qualifying standard to return to Shippensburg University this weekend.
"I was feeling pressure because 5-3 was State qualifying and I really wanted to make that," Barber said. "It was more motivation."
At that point, she made three quality attempts at 5-4, which would have tied her own school record which she set earlier this season. Barber came close to clearing the bar at that height, but couldn’t quite finish it.
"I just need to hold my arch longer," she said. "It’s mistakes that I can fix, but I just didn’t put it together today. I’m happy with (5-3). I was hoping to get the school record again, but next week maybe."
Ultimately, Richardson and Frederick both cleared 5-4, but Richardson won the gold with fewer misses. Allport and Miller, like Barber, were successful at 5-3 while placing third and fourth, respectively. Barber was familiar with many of the competitors from other Invitationals and dual meets, and they pushed each other on Saturday.
"You look at what they’re doing and it makes you try harder to reach what they’re reaching," Barber said. "Making it on the first attempt makes a big difference."
The fact that Barber was even competing with the leaders spoke volumes about her toughness. She has been battling back troubles, and with her left hamstring not fully healed, she had her leg wrapped during the competition. If that wasn’t enough, she got an ice pack for her injured knee after receiving her fifth-place medal. Barber estimated herself being about 75 percent healthy, but she refused to use the injuries as an excuse.
"I tried not to let it get in the way," Barber said. "I just did what I could. I know I could be better, but this is what I have to work with, so I go with it."
"She’s got some ailments," Mack said, "and qualifying for States couldn’t happen to a better young lady."
This Friday at States at 9 a.m., she will push those injuries aside one more time as she tries to end her high school career with a PIAA medal. Barber will take the number 19 seed into that event, although she is one of 13 girls listed at 5-3. Ambridge Area’s India McCoy has the top seed at 5-7.
"She has jumped 5-4 and she’s able to do it," Mack said. "She just has to do it on the right day, which hopefully will be next week. If she does that, I think she’ll leave with a medal, which would be cool."
"I jumped 5-6 at practice one time, so that’s my goal," added Barber, who plans to attend West Chester University in the fall. "But hopefully I’ll have a good day next week."
Mummau reached her goal at Districts, which was to earn top-five finishes in the 100 and 200 while also qualifying for States.
Her fifth-place time of 12.21 seconds in the 100 was an improvement from last year’s District Championships, when she placed fourth in that event in 12.48 seconds.
"That was my second-fastest time I’ve ever run, so it was good," Mummau said. "I know that my competition was really good and I had to focus on my start and come out fast and come out low and that would dicate how I finished."
C.D. East’s Deme’shia Davis won the gold in 12.03 seconds, followed by Red Lion’s Angelica Gonzalez (12.05), Chambersburg’s Jessica Whitmore (12.07) and C.D. East’s Courtney Mitchell (12.18), with Mummau close behind.
"I think Morgan ran real well," Mack said. "It’s a fast group of girls. If you look at the final eight, she was the only one from Lancaster County in there. A lot of the other girls came from the Mid-Penn and they’ve been running fast all year. She had the opportunity to run with them a few times in the Invitationals and today was the closest she came to them."
Although Mummau was just three-hundredths of a second off of her school record time in the 200 (12.18), the MC senior did shatter her mark in the 200 while crossing the line fifth in 25.12 seconds. That shattered her previous record of 25.33 seconds. Davis and Gonzalez each broke the District Three record – formerly held by C.D. East’s Hyleas Fountain (24.42) – as they crossed the line 1-2 in 24.26 and 24.27 seconds, respectively. Hempfield’s Sarah Helgeson won the bronze medal in 24.60 seconds.
"I knew I needed to warm up real well because it’s warm out today and you can get mistaken for being warmed up when you’re really not," Mummau said. "And my competition was stacked. All those girls are amazingly fast and very talented."
Mummau’s competition will be very talented this weekend at States as well, where she is seeded ninth in the 200 and 10th in the 100. Trials for both events will be held Friday, with the semi-finals and finals slated for Saturday. It will be her third straight trip to the PIAA Championships.
"It was a huge goal (to qualify)," Mummau said. "I’ve qualified for States since I was a sophomore, so I couldn’t not qualify this year."
Peters, meanwhile, will have to wait until 2013 to try again to qualify for States after falling barely short on Saturday. The silver lining for the Manheim Central sophomore was that she dropped nearly five seconds from her career previous best time of 5:18.14 while placing sixth last Saturday.
"Next year is another year and she’s only a sophomore, so I think the sky is the limit for her," Mack said. "She came in seeded sixth and she finished sixth, but improved by five seconds, which is pretty cool."
Penn Manor’s Greta Lindsley won the gold in 4:57.14 after breaking away in the lead pack with Cumberland Valley’s Carol Strock, who won silver in 4:58.63, and Governor Mifflin’s Tessa Mundell, who took bronze in 4:59.46. Peters settled into the next pack along with Elizabethtown’s Olivia Esbenshade, Mechanicsburg’s Abigail Martin and Lower Dauphin’s Jenna Flickinger. Then at the start of the fourth lap, Peters overtook Flickinger to pull into sixth place.
"I just wanted to pass (Flickinger) and beat her," Peters said. "I really try and push it in the last lap, but I was like, ‘She’s slowing down, so I’ve got to go.’ The strategy was pretty much just stay with the pack push it in the last two laps."
Flickinger had a kick on the final straightaway, but Peters was able to hold her off for sixth place. Flickinger crossed the line seventh in 5:14.66.
"I heard her footsteps behind me," Peters said. "I was kinda dying, but I was like, ‘I’ve got to do this.’" More MC TRACK, page B-8
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