Werner heads strong day for NTL girls
ATHENS - Headed into districts Northeast Bradford's Lydia Werner had just one goal.
She wanted to get to states in something.
It didn't matter which event she got there in. She just wanted to make the trip to Shippensburg after just missing out a year ago.
By the time Saturday was done the Panthers sophomore had qualified for states in not just one, but three, events.
"I am speechless that I am able to do that," Werner said. "I think back to last year and the goal was to make it to states. I never thought I would make it in three events."
Werner started the day out strong, qualifying for states in her first event as she tied for second in the high jump at 5-feet, 2-inches.
"It feels amazing," Werner said after hitting the state standard in the event. "It's great to be able to make it."
All year Werner knew she could hit 5-feet, 2-inches, she just had to put it together at the right time.
"I knew I was capable of it, I knew I had to work hard at it and I did it today," she said.
Werner celebrated after securing her first spot in states and sported a big smile after clearing the height, but that didn't mean she was satisfied after that achievement.
"It feels really good, but that doesn't mean I won't keep working harder," she said.
Werner quickly went back to work, taking second in the 100 hurdles in 15.75 to earn a spot in states, and then adding a second place finish in the long jump at 16-feet, 7-inches to qualify in that as well.
"I never thought I would make it in three different things, it's more than I ever hoped for," Werner said. "I still can't believe I am going in three events."
Werner knows that next week will be busy for her, but she also knows that it's something she is used to.
"I hope it will be normal for me," she said. "I'm used to doing every event."
The big goal for Werner next week is just to perform well.
"I hope states I will have this adrenaline and be able to get PRs and maybe medal," she said.
Werner isn't the only NTL girl going to states in multiple events as Wellsboro's Jada Jackson made it in the triple jump, taking third with a state-standard jump of 35-feet, 10 3/4-inches and in the 4x100 relay she teammed with Lauren Bleggi, Raisa Rogers and Lindsey Graver to finish second in 50.59.
"It feels so good," Graver said.
After making states last year in the triple jump, Jackson is happy to have her teammates going with her this time.
"I am so excited that we all get to go to states," Jackson said. "It feels great to go back to states, I'm really excited to go back, it's going to be a fun time. To go down with the 4x1 team, that just makes it better."
For Wellsboro the event wasn't one the four had run together all year as this was just the third time the group was together.
"It makes it hard," Graver said.
And, the relay team has switched some things around with Bleggi going from the final leg to the leadoff and Jackson running the anchor on Saturday.
"It's different," Bleggi said of running the first leg. "You aren't quite sure where you stand yet."
For Rogers she follows in the footsteps of her older sisters Reagan and Raina, who both went to states.
"It's nice," she said. "It will be fun."
The one tough part after the relay was Jackson ended up in pain before the triple jump.
She planned to attempt just one jump in the event and hoped it would be enough to make states, and it was.
"I made sure my first jump was going to be the state qualifying jump," Jackson said. "I pushed really hard on the runway and just jumped my hardest and it turned out an ok jump I guess."
Jackson was in pain when the day was done.
"I'm feeling horrible, I am really sore," she said. "My leg is just killing me."
Even though she was in pain, she knew she was capable of a good jump.
"When I was injured I could still jump pretty well, I just have to push through the pain."
Even in pain it was tough for Jackson to pass up a chance at competing for a district title.
"It was pretty hard, I just hate coming in third," she said. "Either first, or nothing for me. I can't jump anymore though. I need to rest my leg as much as possible now. This is not as important as states at this point."
Now, Jackson will rest before states.
"This week I am just going to be off and doing therapy and trying to rest my leg as much as possible for states," she said. "I need a while to heal again."
Sayre's Elyse Skerpon earned another district title in the 300 hurdles, winning in 45.02.
For Skerpon it means another trip to states, and it made up for a fifth-place finish in the 100 hurdles in 16.04, where she just missed a return trip to states in that event.
"It's definitely nice," she said. "After not making it in the 100, I wanted to start out well in the 300."
Right from the start of the 300 hurdles Skerpon came out in control.
"The only way for me to drop time in this is right off the bat," she said.
While Skerpon wanted to make states in both events, she realizes it can help her to go in just her best event.
"Going to states in the 100 is fun, but they run like 14's down there," she said. "There was no way I could place in that with my four step. Now, I just will focus on the 300."
Skerpon also knows she will be more rested in the 300 hurdles now.
"Last year I didn't have fun with it, I raced the 100 right before I ran the 300," she said.
For Skerpon after a disappointing first race Saturday she was happy to just come back and win a district title.
"I was really happy, after the 100 I just wanted to come back and run well," she said.
A week ago Wyalusing's Morgan Sutton won three events on the Athens track at the NTL meet.
On Saturday she picked up another win, and another personal-best time, winning the 400 in 1:00.11.
"It feels amazing," she said. "I can't believe what i just did."
A year ago Sutton set a goal. A sophomore at the time, she hoped to make it to states her junior year.
"I am so excited," she said. "I went last year and set this goal and now I made it."
For Sutton the track at Athens is one she is starting to enjoy.
"I love it here," she said. "At first I wasn't a fan because of the corners, but I love it here now."
For the junior being a district champion was something that was hard to process.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," she said. "It probably won't sink in until I am on the podium. It might not even sink in then."
Along with Werner making states in the high jump, she will be joined in Shippensburg by Williamson's Hayley Painter. Painter took fourth place, but hit the state standard of 5-feet, 2-inches to qualify for her first trip to states.
In the AAA race there was one NTL state qualifier as another high jumper will earn a trip to Shippensburg.
Athens freshman Ariyahana Bernard won the high jump with a PR of 5-feet, 3-inches.
"It's awesome," Bernard said. "It took about 15 minutes after I made it to realize I was going to states. It didn't sink in after I made it. It didn't seem real. It took me a little while to realize I actually did it."
Bernard knows that next week will be a different world of competition.
"I am excited, but really nervous," she said. "They are all amazing high jumpers and I just hit 5-3 for the first time today."
No matter what she does at states next week Bernard is just happy to be going.
"Even if I don't make the starting height, I'm happy to be able to go," she said. "I hope to get in a few good jumps and just do well."
Just a year ago Bernard's PR in junior high was 4-feet, 7-inches, now she's at 5-feet, 3-inches.
"It's mindblowing," she said.
She is starting to realize the sky might be the limit.
"I hope next year I keep building from this and by my senior year I will peak," she said.
Competing in front of her home crowd on Saturday made the experience even more fun.
"It's nice to see my friends here and not just random people watching," she said.
Other girls' medalists included the North Penn 4x800 relay of Logan Wilson, Erin Dempsey, Britta Berguson and Brittany Weiskopff finishing fifth in 10:23.81.
Wyalusing's Paighton Martin was seventh (16.68) and Sayre's Mia Rivera eighth (16.90) in the 100 hurdles and in the 100 Sutton took fourth in 13.08 and Bleggi was seventh in 13.26.
Brooke Ward of Canton was eighth in the 400 in 1:02.83 and in the 400 relay Towanda's Divya Patel, Brittany Boardman, Lauren Risch and Ally Tama finished sixth in 52.63.
In the 800 Werner took eighth in 2:30.53 and in the 200 Bleggi was third in 27.15, while Sutton took sixth in 27.26.
Violet Learn of North Penn was fourth in the 3200 in 12:11.79 and teammate Simone Lichty was fifth in 12:12.21.
In the 1600 relay Sayre's Skerpon, Sydney Beeman, Allie Peet and Kelly Villanti took sixth in 4:18.68 and Towanda's Tama, Victoria Ackley, Kayla Brown and Johnson finished seventh in 4:18.80.
Troy's Kelsey Bristol finished eighth in the high jump at 4-feet, 10-inches and in the triple jump North Penn's Alysa Davey-Bostic was fourth at 35-feet, 32 1/2-inches and Risch was sixth at 34-feet, 1-inch.
Skerpon was third in the pole vault at 9-feet, 6-inches and Tama tied for seventh at 8-feet, 6-inches.
Wellsboro's Alex Kurtz took sixth in the shot at 31-feet, 7 1/4-inches and Wyalusing's Kailee Norton was eighth at 30-feet, 9 3/4-inches.
Troy's Jenn Shults took fifth in the discus at 100-feet, 8-inches and Wyalusing's Sarah LaFrance was eighth at 94-feet, 1-inch.
Kurtz was third in the javelin at 109-feet and Sayre's Kaitlyn Henry was sixth at 105-fete, 1-inch, while Wellsboro's Kaelyn Keane was seventh at 101-feet, 5-inches.
In AAA Athens' team of Kirsten Colegrove, Taylor Conrad, Bernard and Alectra Cannavino finished sixth in 53.20.
Cannavino was sixth in the 200 in 28.65 and Shanell Baglini took sixth in the long jump at 15-feet, 8 1/4-inches.
Jordan Kerrick of Athens was sixth in the javelin at 101-feet, 7-inches.
In the girls' standings Central Columbia won at 96.5. Wellsboro was the top NTL team at 30 points.
For AAA Selinsgrove won at 184.5. Athens was eighth at 22 points.