ALLENTOWN - Allison Updike entered Districts as the clear favorite to retain her Class AA javelin title, with the potential to set a new record in the process.
She didn't disappoint.
Updike unleashed a series of throws over 150 feet, with her top effort of 157 feet, 11 inches establishing a new standard during Thursday's competition at the District 11 Track and Field Championships at J. Birney Crum Stadium.
Vanessa Rimbey of Lehighton pulled off a three-peat in her individual events, adding District golds in the AA 100 meter hurdles and high jump to the long jump title she won on Wednesday.
Updike and Rimbey will carry their District crowns into next week's PIAA State Track and Field Championships, to be held May 28-29 at Shippensburg University.
Rimbey will compete in four events at States, as she also qualified with the Lady Indians' 400 meter relay team, one of four quartets from THE TIMES NEWS area to earn State berths in that event.
Jim Thorpe won the 4x100, setting a new District record of 49.47 seconds, followed by Tamaqua (50.14), Lehighton (50.51) and Palmerton (50.71). The PIAA qualifying standard for the Girls AA 4x100 is 51.3.
Second place finishers at Districts also earn berths to States. Jim Thorpe's JaAshia Page joined Rimbey as a four-event State qualifier, adding silvers in the AA 100 and triple jump to her 400 relay gold. Page also qualified in the long jump Wednesday.
Other second place finishers among the AA girls Thursday were Tamaqua's Amber Carroll (1,600) and Christine Streisel (javelin); Lehighton's Abby Frey (adding a 200 silver to State qualifying thirds in the 4x100 and long jump); and Jim Thorpe's Hilary Reis (high jump).
In Class AAA, Pleasant Valley's Amira Jones earned a silver medal in the triple jump.
Qualifying on the basis of hitting PIAA standards were Thorpe's Ashley Nicola (third in the 200), Palmerton's Kesley Hay (third in the javelin) in AA and Northwestern's Lindsay Kerr, who turned the trick in the AAA 1,600 despite a seventh place finish.
Updike, who entered the meet with her season and personal best javelin heave of 156-9 ranked first in Pennsylvania and second nationally among scholastic girls by the PennTrack.com website, topped herself once again.
Her throw of 157-11, achieved on her second attempt of the trials, is not only a personal and Tamaqua school record, it shattered the District AA mark of 146-9 set by Wilson's Heather Korhammer in 1985. The D-11 AAA record if 146-3, set by Northampton's Laura Rycek in 2007.
With all six of her throws in the 150's, Updike was in a class by herself, even in a AA field that also included two additonal PIAA qualifiers in her Raider teammate Christine Streisel, a freshman who threw 126-1, and Palmerton sophomore Hay, who was third at 126 feet even. The State cut-off is 121 feet.
"It's amazing to have the District record, because there are great athletes here," said Updike. "I'm proud that I could beat a record like this."
The conditions were ideal for a shot at setting a new milestone. "It was sunny and in the 80s, so I couldn't ask for anything more," said Updike. "This is also the first year I'm completely healthy for track (she was recovering from a basketball knee injury while competing last spring), and that was my first goal for this season."
Rimbey pulled off her second straight hat District hat trick after being seeded first in all three events. She defended her high jump title, tying her personal best of 5-6 to outduel Thorpe's Reis, who cleared 5-2 for the silver medal.
In the 100 meter hurdles, Rimbey overcame a slow start to overtake North Schuylkill's Meg O'Keefe, taking the gold in 15.42.
"I'm satisfied," said Rimbey. "I'm going to States in four events, and I'm excited. My high jump was my best today.
"At States, I'm going to do all four events. One day I might have a good high jump, another time I might have a good hurdle day. I'm after a State medal, and being in four events gives you a better chance."
Page anchored Thorpe's winning 4x100 of Amelia Herman, Reis (running the event for the first time this season) and Nicola, which broke not only the District record of 50.34 but also the all-time TN area record of 50.29 for the event, which was set by Tamaqua in 1987.
Page was second to Saucon Valley's Alyssa Lombardo in the 100 at 12.91 and to North Schuylkill's Thenessa Savitsky in the triple jump at 35-9 , just one-quarter inch behind.
"Being a senior, this means a lot more to me," said Page of her performance.
The Tamaqua 4x100 relay of Samantha Digilio, Maria Streisel, Kayla Hope and Brittany Hill set a new school record as runner-up to Thorpe. Lehighton's 400 relay included Karista Schweizer, Frey, Jordyn Homyak and Rimbey, while Palmerton's quartet was Casey Rinfret, Jessica Pereira, Kristen Romano and Wynnie Green.
Tamaqua's Carroll, a sophomore, added a second place in the 1,600 to the 3,200 title she won on Wednesday. Carroll also qualified for States in a third event with the Raider 4x800 relay.
Pleasant Valley's Jones earned the AAA triple jump silver with a hop, step and jump of 36-3 .
"It feels good to go to States, because it's my first time," said Jones, a senior who holds the all-time TN record of 37-9 1/2 in the event.