Track and Field Notebook: Wyalusing's LaFrance eyes two big numbers
Track and field athletes always have number jumbling in their heads, specific personal goals that wish to attain before the season is through.
For Wyalusing's Tracey LaFrance, those numbers are 52-feet and 154-feet.
Those are the school records for the shot put and discus, both goals that the Ram senior wishes to attain.
As for which one he'll focus on as the season gets into full swing he's not sure.
"If you asked me two weeks ago I would have said the discus," LaFrance remarked. "But something just clicked in the shot put and I increased my PR by five feet the last couple of weeks or so."
This past week at the Molly Dry Invitational LaFrance won both events, throwing 47-feet, 11 ½-inches in the shot put and 132-feet, 7-inches in the discus.
"It's definitely new," he said about being the top dog at the meet. "People are looking at you, it felt like I had a target painted on me."
He hopes that that kind of pressure can push him towards his goal.
LaFrance also wants to qualify for states but knows if he hits those numbers everything else will fall into place.
"I think I will have a really good shot at states if I can do that," he said. "It would be great to get to states."
As for what he needs to work on it comes down to one word.
"Just technique, technique, technique."
The senior has done a lot to prepare for this season between hitting the weight room and speed training.
"I've been running all winter," he explained.
However, he hasn't been alone this season. Much like last season LaFrance has had fellow senior Anthony Benninger training alongside him and the two have been pushing each other to get better.
"We've become real good friends from throwing together," LaFrance said. "We push each other, we watch each other throw. It's great to have somebody to work with when you throw."
Benninger has enjoyed watching LaFrance really take off early this season.
"It's awesome," he said. "It's so cool that he's hitting his PRs, he's really improving. It's fun."
Benninger has been hampered a bit by a lingering wrist injury from football but has labored on.
"Since I took seventh in districts last year I've been really pulling towards discus a little bit more," he explained.
He hopes to give himself a shot at states in the event come districts.
"I'm at district (qualifying) right now so it's possible," Benninger remarked.
One person pulling for him is LaFrance, who would be thrilled to travel to Shippensburg with his training partner.
"That would be good."
JEFF MASTRANTUONO LOOKS TO SET NEW WAVERLY RECORD
Jeff Mastrantuono is no stranger to setting records in the pool at Waverly High School. Now he's hoping he can do the same at the pole vault pit.
The senior is looking to surpass the Waverly pole vault record of 15-feet, 3-inches this season and put his name a top another prestigious list.
Right now he's coming off a win at the Molly Dry Invitational where he vaulted 14-feet, 6-inches, a mark he's been staring at for quite some time. Coming into his junior year Mastrantuono's best was 13-feet, 6-inches but could only improve six inches throughout the year.
"I was hoping to get it all last year," Mastrantuono said. "I was right there."
Coming into the meet his goal was 14-feet, 9-inches but was happy at 14-feet, 6-inches.
"We set our goals and worked towards them," Mastrantuono explained. "That's how we got there."
Now that he has a strong base set he can start working his way up towards 15-feet.
"It's early in the season yet so we've got a lot of time to work," Mastrantuono remarked. "It's mostly about being explosive. If you're off at one phase as a certain jump you just won't have it there. If we put it all together come later in the season I think it will definitely be there."
Just like in swimming, Jeff has his little brother Josh Mastrantuono watching him the whole way.
"I really like to watch him vault," Josh said. "Especially because he knows that he's doing. It really helps me trying to learn. I just try and watch what he does and he'll help me a lot."
In return Jeff has been impressed with Josh's progress.
"He's only in 8th grade and he's already making close to 10-feet so he'll be coming up," Jeff remarked.
Jeff believes that Josh will follow in his footsteps once he becomes an upper classman.
"He's a little bit bigger and stronger than me," explained Jeff. "So I'm worried about him. He'll definitely be here sometime."
If Jeff were to get the school record Josh would be thrilled for him but it will be just another goal for him to shoot at.
"If (Jeff) makes 15-feet, 4-inches I'll make 15-feet, 5-inches."
WELLSBORO'S JACKSON WORKING TO BE TOP MILER
Green Hornet Jordan Jackson is focusing his entire season on one event: the 1600.
"I'm using the 400 and 800 to work for the 1600," Jackson explained.
He's been using the shorter distance to get his speed up and this Friday he's going to see if that work has paid off.
"At Lock Haven I'm going to do the mile and see how fast I am right now," he said. "I will shoot for a state qualifying time right now: 4:30, 4:31."
Jackson's goals for this season are to build off last season's stellar performance.
"I want to defend my district champion title and improve my finish at states."
He wants to hit 4:15 come states, a time that would have won the Class AA title last May.
As for right now, he'll continue to enjoy winning 400 races.
"I like repping for the distance," Jackson said. "It shows all those sprinters that a cross-country guy can have some speed, too."
SAYRE'S DAGUTIS WORKING FOR PIAA MEDAL
Last season Sayre's Jesse Dagutis made it to the state semi-finals in the 200 meters, just missing a medal by a few places.
After that taste he wants to go back.
"That's what I'm aiming for," Dagutis remarked. "medaling in something."
Dagutis has four events that he's working on right now, the 100 and 200 on the track and the long jump and triple jump in the field.
He's been working on both evenly but has become to pick out a couple to focus on.
"The 100s have been better this year than the 200," Dagutis explained.
As for the jumps, he's looking to get a Redskins record in the long jump.
"The school record is 21-feet, 8-inches," Dagutis said. "States is 21-feet, 6-inches but I want 21-feet, 8-inches."
He credits football for keeping him in top shape in the off-season.
"That helped," Dagutis remarked. "I stayed in shape but not full out running shape that I'm in now."
As for now, he's putting in a full day's work on the track.
"I'm working hard," Dagutis said with a smile. "The coaches are putting us through crazy stuff."
CANTON'S PETTIGREW TO FIND SUCCESS IN HURDLES
Canton's Zach Pettigrew is working hard to get some success in the hurdles this season.
He had a strong showing at the Molly Dry Invitational, taking second in both the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
"I feel I ran pretty well," Pettigrew said.
He hit is 110 hurdles mark but came out a little short of what he wanted in the 300 hurdles. But he has plenty of season left to reach his goals and has a plan on how to get his times lower.
"I work on running four 400s to work on my 300 (hurdles)," he explained. "And my 110 (hurdles), I run 110 plus an extra 50 meters."
Pettigrew believes that can get him into the top three spots in the 110 hurdles and the top five in the 300 hurdles.
As for states, he knows it's going to be tough.
"Maybe in the 110s," Pettigrew said. "The 300s there are a couple kids that are a bit faster."
MENSCH LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK TO NEW YORK
When New York track and field athletes come south they have a couple changes they must deal with.
One is throwing the javelin, which New York doesn't have. Another is the hurdles. In Pennsylvania they are 300 meters, in New York they do a full lap.
"It's a lot different," explains Waverly's Cole Mensch. "It doesn't seem like it should be but the paces are real different. It's hard to come out at the right pace."
Mensch won both the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles at the Molly Dry Invitational and he believes that sets him up well for the season.
"It's looking exciting," Mensch remarked. "I think once I get back into New York I should be able to pound out some pretty good 400 hurdle times."
His goal for the 400s is 53.8, a mark he believes will put him in state title contention.
"I want to win," Mensch explained. "I think I'll definitely have to go under 54."