HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Fletcher earns medal in discus
SHIPPENSBURG — Kennedy Fletcher tried to put on a happy face, but she knew she could have done better.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Aaryn Gray wouldn’t change a thing about her experience at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University despite falling one spot short of a medal on Friday.
Fletcher earned seventh place in the Class AA discus to account for the local contingent’s lone medal, and Gray made the Class AAA javelin finals to highlight the local girls’ showing at the opening day of the state championships.
Fletcher’s throw of 116 feet, 2 inches in the discus was a personal best for the United junior by nearly three feet, but a bigger number was on her mind.
“I was hoping to get at least in the 120s, but I’m happy with seventh, I guess,” Fletcher said unconvincingly. “In practice, I was throwing around 120, so I was hoping to do at least that here, but I’m OK with it.”
So was Gray with her ninth-place finish in the javelin.
“It was quite an experience. Quite an experience,” Gray said. “I wouldn’t do anything different. It was such a wonderful experience, getting to know all the girls. And the throwing is incredible. I can’t believe the throws that come out of some of the girls, honestly.”
Indiana’s school-record holder in the javelin, Gray concluded her first full season of throwing the javelin after picking up the event late in her sophomore season.
So although her best throw of 126-3 left her one place shy of a medal Friday, the Indiana junior was more pleased about her recent consistency than disappointed about missing out on hardware. Four of her six throws in Friday’s competition were longer than 120 feet.
“I’m getting consistent, in the upper 120s, and it’s starting to feel a lot more natural now and not so forced,” she said. “As far as consistency goes, I’m really happy with where I am.”
At one point, Gray thought she might approach the 130-foot mark, but her throw got caught in the strong headwind the competitors threw into all afternoon.
“My last throw especially, I felt like that really caught the wind in a negative way,” Gray said. “If you hit the wind right, it can carry your javelin, but I think I got it and it blew it right back. That last throw probably would have been right around 130.”
Fletcher will have a chance to add to her medal haul today in the javelin.
Although throwing the javelin sometimes causes some pain and discomfort in her elbow, Fletcher said it hasn’t been bothering her lately.
The true test will come today.
“It’s better. It only hurts in jav usually, but it hasn’t been hurting in practice this past week so we’ll see,” she said.
Other area girls who competed in Class AA field events were: Penns Manor’s Sarah DaBella (discus, 17th, 99-0) and Devon Bratton (pole vault, no height); and Apollo-Ridge’s Reannah Martin (pole vault, no height).
Local girls who competed in the Class AA track events, but didn’t make it out of Friday’s preliminaries were: Homer-Center’s Heather Paynter (1,600, 5:41.82); and Marion Center’s Hannah Fulton (1,600, 5:41.88) and Camber Heinle (400, 1:01.46).
The lone other area athlete to compete in Class AAA was Indiana’s Jess Hurley, who didn’t qualify for the finals in the 400 (1:00.69).
Also, Marion Center’s 3,200-meter relay team and Ligonier Valley’s 1,600 relay team competed in the preliminaries.
Marion Center’s team consisted of Heinle, Danielle Fulmer, Fulton and Taylor Woodrow, and Ligonier Valley’s quartet was made up of Jasmine Connor, Miranda Campbell, Madi McLaughlin and Stephanie Heming.