Lady Warriors relay takes bronze

Elk lake 3200 relay team: Jenny VanEtten, Maria Trowbridge, Kirsten Hollister and Katie VanEtten celebrate after taken third in the event at the PIAA Class AA championship in Shippensburg. STAFF PHOTO/ED KING

BY JOBY FAWCETT

Times-Shamrock Writer

The normally quiet and reserved Maria Trowbridge couldn’t stop crying.

She put her arms around herElkLaketeammates and almost wouldn’t let go.

It was her fourth and final race atShippensburgUniversity’s Seth Grove Stadium and she made it unforgettable.

Inspired by teammate Will Bennett, who suffered a fall before the District 2 championship meet and spent the morning cheering loudly beneath the Elk Lake tent, Trowbridge, Katie VanEtten, Kirsten Hollister and Jenny VanEtten won a bronze medal in the Class AA 3200-meter relay at the PIAA Track and Field Championship meet Saturday afternoon.

“This was an incredible journey,” Trowbridge said. “It’s safe to say that we all love each other.

“This is the greatest way to finish.”

Staying out in front after Trowbridge’s strong lead off leg, Katie VanEtten settled in.

“Words cannot explain how much this team means to me,” she said. “That’s what pushed me.”

Once in third, the only thing left for the group was to finish strong.

And they did, crossing in 9 minutes, 37.65 seconds. District 1′s Saint Basil took home the gold in 9:22.91. Holy Redeemer, the District 2 champion, placed sixth in 9:45.68.

“This means so much to me,” Jenny VanEtten said. “This means so much to all of the girls.”

It was the perfect way for the team to finish the season after nearly missing out on the opportunity when they dropped the baton, but recovered, last week at the District 2 Class AA meet.

“We ran for everybody who supports us,” Hollister said. “But really we ran for Will.”

Going into the qualifier on Friday,ElkLake’s 3200 relay team wanted to run one more great race together after battling through adversity at the District 2 Class AA championship meet.

The Lady Warriors’ group of Maria Trowbridge, Katie VanEtten, Kirsten Hollister and Jenny VanEtten made up for a dropped baton last week and fulfilled the homage to fallen teammate Will Bennett as each runner had a message written on their right shoulder, “iWill,” and qualified for Saturday’s final at the PIAA Track and Field Championship meet at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.

ElkLake’s 9:36.21 was the fourth-fastest time. The top eight places win medals at the state meet.

It was a far cry from the Lady Warriors’ time of 9:54.09 when they had to recover the baton from the infield at the district meet and eventually placed second to Holy Redeemer.

“We had a lot of ups and downs this season and we haven’t had that one race where everybody ran up to par,” Trowbridge said. “I think we finally did that. It’s just awesome because this is my first time competing at the state meet as part of a team. And it’s really special.”

Trowbridge came around with a strong second lap on her leg of the 800 to pullElkLakeinto third place. Katie VanEtten and Hollister combined to even hold the lead for a moment and Jenny VanEtten finished strong.

Also in girls’ Class AA action,ElkLake’s Elizabeth Trowbridge placed 16th of 25 competitors in the 1600 with a time of 5:28.63.

Montrose’s Madelyn Pasteka took 12th in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 0 inches, while teammate Allison Lewis placed 19th in the 400 with a time of 1:00.29.

The Lady Meteor 1600 relay team of Meghan Gilhool, Allison Lewis, Samantha Bennici and Myra Lattimore placed 10th with a time of 4:04.65.

In boys’ Class AA action,ElkLake’s Luke Jones placed eighth in the 3200 to medal for the Warriors. He finished the race in a time of 9minutes, 42.65 seconds.

Montrose’s John Lawson narrowly missed the podium taking a ninth place finish of 24 competitors in the javelin at 168 feet, 6 inches.

Teammate Kurt Kimsey took 19th in the javelin with a throw of 153 feet, 10 inches.

In the pole vault, Montrose’s Brandon Russell took home a 12th place finish with a height of 13 feet, 0 inches, while teammate Jeremy Dibble placed tied for 22nd place with a height of 12 feet, 0 inches.

Blue Ridge’s Sean Stanley competed in the triple jump taking 19th of 25 competitors with a distance of 40 feet, 2-and-a-half inches.

ElkLake’s Jason Vermeulen took 13th in the long jump forElkLakewith a distance of 20 feet, 3.25 inches.