Central Cambria Red Devils

Forest Hills senior Brooke Smay competes in the Class AA long jump. Smay finished seventh.
Bracken PIAA
Windber’s Jenna Bracken competes in the Class AA 100-meter hurdles on Friday

Rangers’ Smay, Lions’ Fletcher finish 7th at PIAA championships

By: Cory Isenberg

SHIPPENSBURG — Forest Hills senior Brooke Smay and United junior Kennedy Fletcher were in seventh heaven Friday at the PIAA Class AA Track and Field Championships on a brisk and breezy day at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University.
Smay and Fletcher finished seventh in the long jump and the discus, respectively.
Smay knew if she wanted to make a return to the podium at the state meet that she was going to have to step up her game.
On her first jump of the finals, Smay had a leap of 17 feet, 3¼ inches.
“I am very happy with that jump,” Smay said. “I think it was like an adrenaline rush on my first jump because it was much better than my jump going into the finals. My second and third jumps were OK, but it was that first one that I felt good on.”
After the preliminaries, Smay wasn’t even sure that she was going to make it into the finals.
“I was in the first flight, so I knew I had to pull off a big one to get into the finals,” Smay said. “I wasn’t sure (that I made it to the finals). There were a lot of girls at 16-7 and that’s where I was heading into the finals. I was ninth and I knew only eight got medals, so that I had to try harder. It was a scary feeling being ninth.”
Smay, who is headed to IUP in the fall to major in safety science and participate on the track team, was sixth at last year’s PIAA meet.
The Rangers’ senior admitted that the adverse jumping conditions were not ideal.
“I felt really good coming in. I felt strong and was prepared for it,” Smay said. “Especially in the jumping events where everyone is just standing around for long periods, you do your best to stay warm.”
Central Cambria senior Taylor King-Brothers finished 14th and Bedford sophomore Kaitlyn Lippencott was tied for 21st in the long jump, which was won by senior Lanae Newsome of Brookville Area at 18-1¾.
Fletcher was actually a little disappointed with her throw of 116-2 on Friday.
“I was expecting to do a little bit better because at practice the other day I was throwing like at 120,” Fletcher said.  “I was cold and I got sick (Thursday) night.”
The Lions thrower had her best toss on the final throw in the preliminaries.
“This was a personal record for me,” Fletcher said. “I was happy with being on the podium, but I have jav (today) and am hoping to do better in that.”
Chestnut Ridge sophomore Emily Finnegan was 12th in the discus.
Bedford senior Carrie Baker and Richland junior Maddison Feather were tied for 15th in the pole vault competition, which was won by Greenville junior Rebekah Petty with a height of 11-9.
In Class AAA, Somerset senior Jayna Coyle tied for 25th in the long jump.
The 3200 quartet from Central Cambria won the second of the two Class AA heats Friday in order to qualify for today’s final.
The foursome – Jackie Bracken, Jordan Hayward, Alyssa Brandis and Sam Elkin – finished in a time of 9:50.07.
Bracken got the unit off to a strong start.
“The start was a lot faster than we are used to,” Bracken said. “I just had to get out and get my place so I could hand off to Jordan in a great position.”
Added Hayward: “(Jackie) handed off to me in great position, third I think, and I just had a huge adrenaline rush and I just went. That last lap when I hit the (Turn) 2, it was all out.”
Brandis took the lead for the Red Devils and handed off to Elkin with a little breathing room.
“All of our training paid off,” Elkin said. “It was due to these two (Bracken and Hayward) and Alyssa, she kicked butt. Really, I just had to keep the lead that my teammates got me. We feel pretty confident (for today). It’s going to be a tough race because there are some amazing athletes here, but we’ll do our best and hopefully bring home a nice medal.”
Three area competitors moved into today’s semifinals of the 100 hurdles.
Windber senior Jenna Bracken was third in her heat, finishing in a time of 15.65.
The other two qualifiers were Berlin Brothersvalley senior Catelyn Hittie (15.85) and Richland junior Kelci Warshel (15.89).
Forest Hills junior Brooke Novotny did not qualify for today’s semis in the 100 hurdles.
In the 100 preliminaries on Friday, Penn Cambria senior Carly Petney moved into today’s 100 dash semifinals with a time of 12.57. Bishop McCort freshman Tahlyn Miller and Meyersdale senior Kyley Dunmeyer failed to qualify for today’s semis.
Miller and Forest Hills senior Marlee Schrift also failed to reach the semifinals in the 200.
Failing to qualify for today’s finals individually were Berlin Brothersvalley junior Gina Trulick and Bishop McCort sophomore Hollis Helsel in the 400; Bishop Carroll sophomore Carrie D’Andrea, Berlin’s Hittie, Bishop McCort senior Shannon O’Reilly and Forest Hills freshman Kaitlyn Kline in the 300 hurdles; and Bedford senior Jalissa Snyder, Westmont Hilltop junior Hannah Dorian and Central Cambria’s Elkin in the 800.
Relays that failed to qualify for the finals were the 3200 teams of Bedford (Baker, Lauren Diehl, Jeri Rogish, Snyder) and Forest Hills (Kacie Erb, Chelsea Chizmar, Calli Smith, Briana Kostan); the 400s of Bishop McCort (Katie Downey, Miller, Megan Downey and Ally Seidel) and Berlin Brothersvalley (Hittie, Briona Broadwater, Erica Craig, Trulick); along with the 1600s of Bishop McCort (Helsel, Miller, Katie Downey, O’Reilly), Ligonier Valley (Jasmine Connor, Miranda Campbell, Madison McLaughlin, Stephanie Heming) and Central Cambria (Larissa Hunt, Hayward, King-Brothers, Katie Bracken).