SCRANTON – Returning state track and field medalists Jace Garnick, Jade Fry and Olivia Vasey earned the right to finish their high school athletic careers at Shippensburg University in another Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship Meet.
They took three younger Lake-Lehman teammates with them.
The Black Knights got gold medals from their 3200-meter relay team and sophomore javelin thrower Sarah Salus during the May 17 District 2 Class 2A Track and Field Championships.
Salus, new relay member Abby Paczewski and freshman triple jumper Natasha Mihalko were the newcomers at the state championships, which are scheduled to be completed Friday and Saturday in Shippensburg.
Paczewski, a sophomore, took over for the graduated Hailey Kubiski, joining the three more-experienced runners and helping Lake-Lehman to a repeat of its district distance relay title.
Mihalko finished second in the triple jump, but was part of a select group that joined all the district champions at the state meet by meeting challenging predetermined state qualifying standards. Mihalko’s jump of 36-0 ½ was a half-inch more than needed to extend her season.
Fry and Garnick each medaled in four events to lead Lake-Lehman to a third-place finish in the team standings.
Western Wayne won with 116 points. Lake-Lehman had 72, five behind second-place Holy Redeemer and two ahead of fourth-place Lakeland.
Garnick’s leadoff leg of 2:22.73 put the Black Knights ahead by 11.58 seconds and they were never challenged.
Vasey, Fry and Paczewski took it from there for a finish in 9:48.74, 11.53 seconds faster than the winning district time a year ago when the team went on to place fourth in the state. Lake-Lehman won by 31.17 seconds over second-place
“We feel amazing because we ran faster than we did at prelims for last year’s states,” said Garnick, whose leg was the fastest of any of the 36 runners who made up the nine relay teams.
The same four girls came back to run together again in the last race of the night and take third in the 1600 relay.
“We were very happy with that,” Garnick said.
Fry added bronze medals for third-place finishes in the 1600 and 3200.
Garnick took third in the 400 and sixth in the 800.
The top six in each event earned medals while the top eight scored points for their team.
Salus took the team’s only individual gold medal with a javelin throw of 113-0 to win by 2-7. She hit the winning throw on her third attempt, taking the lead into the finals – another round of three throws – and holding it the rest of the way.
“I’ve just been working hard because I knew the second seed was not far behind me and I needed to be at my best,” Salus said.
Paczewski was fifth and Morgan Patla eighth, giving Lake-Lehman three of the scoring runners in the 400.
Madison Brdaric was fifth in the 1600 while Lizzy Blaski and Angela Lokavich also medaled with sixth-place finishes in the 300 hurdles and pole vault.
Morgan Marchakitus took seventh in the long jump.
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