SHIPPENSBURG - Despite competing at the PIAA State Track and Field Championships the past two seasons, Vanessa Rimbey had nothing to show for it.
On Friday, the versatile Lehighton senior doubled her pleasure, earning State medals in two events and putting herself in position for a third.
Rimbey began her morning at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium by placing fifth in the Class AA long jump, then completed her performance with a bronze medal in the AA high jump.
In between, Rimbey managed to win her trial heat of the AA 100 meter hurdles, with her time of 15.42 the second fastest overall.
The only event in which Rimbey did not medal or advance was the AA 4x100 relay, but a bad exchange on an earlier leg ended the Indians' chances before the baton could be passed to Rimbey.
Rimbey's double medal day highlighted the performances of TIMES NEWS Area girls during the first day of State competition.
Tamaqua sophomore Amber Carroll joined Rimbey in moving to the next round by advancing to the finals of the AA 1,600 meter run, but that was it as far as advancement on the track.
Rimbey, who will continue her career at Bloomsburg University in track as a multi-event athlete (and maybe as a field hockey walk-on), captured District 11 titles in her three individual events but wanted to break through and collect a PIAA medal, which is awarded to the top eight finishers in each event.
"I'm really excited," said Rimbey, flashing a big smile. "It feels real great to come out here and perform how I expected to perform. Last year, I was so heartbroken and upset. I had this awful performance, and I wanted to change that around this year."
In the long jump, Rimbey was tied for the fifth seed with her D-11 winning performance of 17-11 . She didn't quite match that, but she soared 17-10 on her final jump to take fifth place.
"I was jumping in a 17 foot hole," related Rimbey. "I kept saying to myself. 'come on. just try to keep yourself up in the air longer. Obviously, 17-10 was all I could do today, but getting fifth place was all I could do there today."
Also leaping in the AA long jump were Lehighton's Abby Frey (17-2, 14th place), Tamaqua's Kayla Hope (16-9, 15th place) and Jim Thorpe's JaAshia Page (16-5 , 19th place). Tabitha Bemis of Quaker Valley won the event at 18-3 1/2.
"I've been coming here and watching other girls get medals in the long jump with what I know I could jump, so getting this means a lot to me," said Rimbey.
In the high jump, Rimbey cleared 5-2 on her first try but missed on three attempts at 5-4, settling for bronze. Jim Thorpe's Hilary Reis also cleared 5-2 but ended up tied for 11th place based on the number of misses.
Winning the AA high jump for the fourth straight year was Janae Dunchack of Northern Cambria, who cleared 5-6 for the gold.
"If I'm going to lose, then lose to someone who is a four-time champ," said Rimbey.
Rimbey had to leave for the 4x100 during the high jump, but that came with the territory.
"I expected to do that, because I knew if I was going to do all four, I'd have to hop from event to event," she stated.
In the 100 hurdles, her heat winning time of 15.42 trails only Bemis (15.14) heading into the semifinals.
Now, if only the PIAA could spell her name correctly. She is listed as "Rimbley" in the program and on the result sheets.
Amber Carroll will carry her District 11 AA 3,200 meter crown into action this morning, where she is seeded fourth at 11:18.83.
Carroll will also compete in the AA 1,600 after finishing sixth in her trial heat at 5:08.25.
"My goal was just to stay with the pack (in the 1,600)," said Carroll, who will see what she has left in the tank for the 1,600 after running the 3,200 first.
TN Area runners who failed to advance included Thorpe's Page (12.93, third in heat) and Lehighton's Frey (13.03, sixth in heat) in the AA 100; Thorpe's Ashley Nicola (26.75, sixth in heat) and Frey (did not finish) in the AA 200; Thorpe's Kayla Susko (5:43.28, 12th in heat) in the AA 1,600; and Northwestern's Lindsay Kerr (5:11.73. 12th in heat) in the AAA 1,600.
Tamaqua's 4x100 relay of Samantha Digilio, Kayla Hope, Maria Streisel and Brittany Hill finished second in its prelim heat at 50.43 but did not advance to the finals. Neither did Palmerton (Casey Rinfret, Jessica Pereira, Kristen Romano and Wynnie Green), which was clocked at 51.06, fifth in its heat. Lehighton and Jim Thorpe were disqualified in the 4x100.
The Tamaqua girls 4x800 relay, anchored by Carroll and including Kelsey Patrick, Dana Ansbach and Cecily Kohlmeir, placed 12th in its trial heat at 10:06.98, not fast enough for the next round.
Scheduled to compete today in the AA javelin are Tamaqua's Allison Updike (the top seed at 157-11) and Christine Streisel and Palmerton's Kelsey Hay, as well as Thorpe's Page in the AA triple jump and Pleasant Valley's Amira Jones in the AAA triple jump.