GAMBRELL SETS SCHOOL RECORD IN 100 HURDLES
Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — The Lady Wildcats won nine of the 18 events, led by seniors Rachel Hutchison and Ariana Gambrell, and had a host of other top-eight finishes to win their fifth straight team title here Friday at the NTL Track & Field Championships.
This title is especially sweet for Athens coach Ben Gambrell after graduating a pair of Division I athletes in Breana Gambrell (Penn State) and Emily Lunger (St. Francis).
“This is a wonderful feeling,” said Gambrell. “Just understanding and knowing how these kids basically fought and scratched, and did basically everything I asked them to do.”
“This is definitely one of those better ones because I didn’t have those heavy hitters — those fab four, where you can throw them in anything you get 40 points each,” noted Gambrell.
“Halfway through the season, I switched things up with some of these girls to challenge them to see where and how they could help out this team and they rose to the challenge,” he added.
Two of last year’s “fab four” remain for the Lady Wildcats. Hutchison won four events, and Gambrell was a triple-winner, including a school-record performance, to lead Athens to the NTL crown with 152 points, well ahead of runner-up Troy, which amassed 122 points. Wyalusing finished third with 110 points, while Williamson was fourth with 83 points, and Towanda was fifth with 71.
Freshman Rozlyn Haney had three top-three finishes, including one gold-medal performance, to lead Sayre to a sixth-place finish with 53 points.
Hutchison won the 100-meter dash in 13.0 seconds, while Haney was third in 13.2 seconds, and Athens sophomore Emma Roe was seventh in 13.64 seconds.
Hutchison won the 200-meter dash in a time of 26.7 seconds, while Haney was second in 27.6 seconds, and Athens freshman Hannah Walker was third at 27.2 seconds.
Hutchison also won the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 45.1 seconds, and Sayre junior Julia Boyle was fourth at 50.8 seconds.
Hutchison teamed with Hannah Walker, and juniors Haley Chambers and Sam Markle to win the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 4:21.0.
Despite four wins, Hutchison said there is room for improvement.
“In the 100, I was hoping to get maybe a 12.8 or 12.9 like last year in districts,” she said. “And in the 300 hurdles, I know I hit the first hurdle which threw me off so I know I can do better in that.”
Gambrell won the 100-meter hurdles in a school-record time of 15.3 seconds, while Boyle was third at 16.5 seconds, and Athens junior Krysta Manning was sixth at 17.46 seconds.
“It feels really good because I knew during the race I felt really fast,” said Ariana. “It’s really nice to have that, even in the rain.”
Gambrell won the long jump with a personal-best leap of 17-feet, 1/2-inch, and Markle was seventh at 14-feet, 11 1/4-inches. Gambrell finished fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 31-feet, 11 1/4-inches, and Markle was seventh at 31-feet, 1/2-inch.
“It’s something I’ve been working for since ninth grade, I finally broke in the 17s,” said Gambrell. “I just knew coming down the runway I felt faster, I felt stronger. It just felt really nice to hear that 17.”
Gambrell also won the shot put with a personal-best heave of 34-feet, 11 3/4-inches.
“It’s a bitter sweet feeling knowing this is my last NTL anything,” Gambrell said. “A great feeling to PR in everything.”
Ben Gambrell knew he could depend on Ariana Gambrell, who is headed to Division I Bucknell on a track & field scholarship, and Hutchison, who will play Division I soccer at St. Bonaventure in the fall.
“They are just raw, talented athletes,” he said. “They’re great kids, they work hard, and they do anything you ask them to do.”
Athens freshman Olivia Bartlow won the discus with a toss of 98-feet, 7-inches.
“Olivia is young, she’s a freshman, so to win a discus like that, it shows a lot about her potential,” said Ben Gambrell.
Athens junior Cassidy Stackpole won the javelin with a personal-best throw of 123-feet, 5-inches — 11 1/2-feet better than her previous best this season. Athens senior Paige McCarthy finished second at 111-feet, 3-inches, and Athens junior Avery Priester was eighth at 83-feet, 10-inches.
“It’s the first time I’ve been up on the podium,” said Stackpole. “Something just kind of clicked. My arm has been a lot faster, and so has been my overall run up.”
Haney won the 400-meter dash in a time of 1:02.4, while Roe was second in 1:04.5, Markle was third at 1:04.6, and Chambers was seventh in 1:06.5.
Roe finished third in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:35.6, and Sayre junior Kayla Hughey was fifth at 2:38.6.
Hughey finished third in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:48.8, while Sayre sophomore Carrie Claypool was sixth in 5:52.8, and Athens senior Sophie Adams was eighth in 5:57.2.
Claypool finished fifth in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 13:26.0, and Adams was seventh in 13:58.2.
The Athens foursome of Roe, Hannah Walker, freshman Taylor Walker, and Manning teamed to finish sixth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 54.72 seconds.
The Athens foursome of Adams, Kayla Wood, Eva Wood, and Elizabeth Cary teamed to finish sixth in the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 12:00.6.
Athens sophomore Leah Liechty finished seventh in the high jump at 4-feet, 6-inches, and freshman Natalie Dailey was eighth at 4-feet, 4-inches.
Sayre freshman Sarah Vandemark finished eighth in the pole vault at 6-feet, 6-inches.
Several Valley athletes narrowly missed the podium (top-eight finish) and placed in the top 12.
Athens junior Madisyn Joslyn finished 10th in the shot put at 26-feet, 11-inches, and Bartlow was 11th at 26-feet, 8-inches.
Taylor Walker was ninth in the high jump at 4-feet, 4-inches, and Athens senior Paige McCarthy was ninth in the discus with a toss of 74-feet, 2-inches.
Bartlow finished ninth in the 300-meter hurdles in 53.5 seconds, and Sindoni was 12th in 55.4 seconds. Sindoni was also 12th in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 19.04 seconds.
Hannah Walker finished 10th in the 100-meter dash in 13.8 seconds.
Athens and Sayre return to action Thursday in Day 1 of the District 4 Championships at Williamsport High School.
IN PHOTO 1: Athens senior Rachel Hutchison. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY and MATT PATTON.
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