As a freshman, Christine Streisel entered last year's PIAA State Track and Championships with a solid source of experience she could lean on.
Streisel took advantage of that to grab a fifth-place medal at States. Streisel's Tamaqua teammate Allison Updike, who provided that experience, was the perfect role model as she won a state gold in the javelin.
This year, Streisel had to take on the competition at the Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AA Track and Field Championships without her Blue Raider confidant by her side. Updike would have been the prohibitive favorite in both of those competitions, but suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.
In Updike's absense, Streisel carried the torch for the Blue Raiders, winning both league and district gold.
Tamaqua track coach Tom Kanger doesn't expect her to slow down when they make the trip to Shippensburg this weekend.
"She got pushed ahead of her time with Allison's injury," Streisel said. "But, she learned a lot from her (Updike). I could simply tell at practice that she's ready to handle the pressure by herself thanks to listening to Allison. She's (Streisel) now used to being put in that position.
"She did have the experience of being down there last year, which was great for her to have along side of Allison."
Streisel enters the event as the No. 2 seed in the Class AA field because of her qualifying throw of 135-feet, 10-inches.
It's a few feet short of Penn Cambria's senior Jessica Delic's mark of 138-4, but Kanger believes Streisel still is determined to be among the top medal winners.
Meanwhile, Lehighton's Jon Strauss will take on the Class AAA javelin field as focused as he will ever be, according to Lehighton track coach Jake Marushak.
"Jon Strauss is a whole different kind of athlete," Marushak said. "I mean he is a 100-percent focused on the javelin event right now. He is willing to do and try anything he needs to get better at it. He has been solid all season.
"He is able to separate himself from other athletes. He is able to get into these big meets and continue to throw farther and better than the other people who he is going against that's what it's going to take for him to be successful again."
Strauss was able to do quite that at the Mountain Valley Conference Track and Field Championships as a personal record of 196-feet, 7-inches grabbed him gold. A week later, the Lehighton junior threw 191-5 at districts, to grab another gold medal.
Strauss's state qualifying throw of 191-feet, 5-inches is almost 3-feet shorter than top-seeded Tom Lang, of Pope John Paul (194-4) and 11-inches short of Billy Stanley, of South Park (192-5). Still, Marushak feels the No. 3 seede has a chance to bring home another gold.
Streisel and Strauss are two among a field of 17 TIMES NEWS athletes to be taking part in this Friday and Saturday's events at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
While Updike isn't returning to the State competition with Streisel in the javelin, Palmerton's Kelsey Hay is. Hay finished second at last week's D-11 meet.
A quartet of Tamaqua athletes will be taking part in multiple events at States. Zack Lakitsky, Maria Steisel, Amber Carroll and Kayle Hope will look to keep themselves busy over the two day event.
Hope carries the biggest load, taking part in Friday's AA preliminaries for the 200 meter dash and the 4x100 relay where she will be joined by Maria Streisel, Taylor Gerber and Caitlin Trainer as well as the finals for the long jump where she is the No. 5 seed. On Saturday, she's guarenteed a spot in the triple jump finals, but looks to possibly advance to the finals in the 4x100 relay and the 200 meter dash.
Lakitsky will position himself in the starting blocks for tomorrow's preliminaries of the 100 and 200 meter dash. As it is for Hope, Lakitsky looks to make it to the finals for three events 100, 200 and the long jump on the final day.
Meanwhile, Carroll could also have the chance for multiple medals in Saturday's finals of the 1600, 3200.
In addition to her leg on the 4X100 relay team, Maria Streisel will be in tomorrow's preliminaries for the 100 meter dash.
Also taking part in preliminaries Friday are Tamaqua's Eric Hertzog (110 hurdles) and Cecily Kohlmeir (400 meter dash), Northern Lehigh's Caleb Johnson (300 hurdles) and Lehighton's Sage Terembula (100 meter dash).
Palmerton's Lauryn Solt will compete for a medal on the first day in the high jump while teammate Kelsey Hay and Lehighton's Gwen Remaley will wait until Saturday for the shot put final.
Pleasant Valley's Keegan Bray and Kelecia Harris join Strauss as the local local athletes to take to the AAA state field. Bray will take part in tomorrow's preliminaries for the 200 meter dash, while Harris aims for a medal in Friday's finals of the long jump.