SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — One final race. That’s what many of the athletes at the PIAA District lll track and field championships had at Shippensburg University on Saturday to earn themselves a spot in the state meet.
And so many showed out on historic levels. But the teams that stood out were the four winners. Annville-Cleona (2A) and J.P. McCaskey (3A) won the team titles on the girls side, while Wyomissing (2A) and Chambersburg (3A) claimed team titles for the boys.
Full results of the district tournament can be found here.
McCaskey’s relay teams set the tone for their squad. In the 4×800 meter relay, the Red Tornadoes were 12 seconds faster than the field, taking first with a time of 9:19.42. Their team won the indoor state title in this very event and now have their eyes on a sweep in outdoor.
“If we continue like we did today and give it our best, I think we are definitely in the mix to win,. We won indoor and that was a tough race. But if we run our best we can (win),” said J.P. McCaskey senior Lucie DeSyon.
Cumberland Valley’s boys won the same event in Class 3A with a time of 7:51.44 and they believe they are peaking at just the right time.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been working for this all season, it’s always been on our mind and we continue to work hard and I’m excited to see what we can do in states,” said Joe Butler, a senior on the Eagles’ 4×800 relay team. “Our chemistry is off the charts. We’re just working off each other, giving each other motivation to work harder and pushing ourselves every day.”
One of the most dominant performances came from Laila Campbell of Spring Grove. The junior three-peated her district titles in the 100m (11.55 seconds) and 200m (23.24 seconds) dashes and in the process broke both of her district records she set last year. It’s become the expectation for her to win, but she never gets complacent.
“Since I won the last previous years, everybody is gunning for me so I feel like I’m getting everybody’s best race I feel like. So I have to be on my A-game,” Campbell said. “Just to progress my time. There’s a couple of things we can fix in my race. But just to get better overall for myself.”
The crowd also witnessed some incredible history at the district championships as Susquehanna Township sophomore Lex Cyrus broke a 43-year-old record after running a 10.45 in the Class 3A boys 100m dash.
But the best part? Reading’s Jeff White, who set the long-standing previous record of 10.54 seconds back in 1979, was at the district championships and got to honor Cyrus’ achievement during the medal ceremony. It’s a moment the sophomore won’t forget.
“It means a lot honestly. I wasn’t expecting that coming in. I saw the record and my time last week was a 10.55 and I saw the record coming in was a 10.54. So I kind of got excited in my head but I was like I can’t do too much, I have to stay focused on my goal of just winning,” Cyrus said.
Each year athletes are breaking records and raising the bar higher at the district track and field championships. And take it from York County Tech’s Matthew Arnold, who won the Class 3A discus crown, all you need is a little bit of belief.
“I mean all the hours I put in. All the time thinking like I’m only 5’11”, I’m not a tall guy, I’m not a big guy. But just to be able to throw that far I just like super cool because it lets everyone know that you don’t have to be super tall. You just got to believe and put the work in,” Arnold said.
Next up, all of these athletes will be back for the 2023 PIAA state championship meet right back at Shippensburg University on Friday and Saturday.