SHIPPENSBURG - Tamaqua can now claim two 2011 state champions in the sport of track and field.
One day after Kayla Hope brought home a gold medal in the long jump, teammate Christine Streisel followed up with a gold medal-winning performance of her own.
Streisel, a sophomore who was already in her second year of competing at the state level, won gold in the AA javelin with a throw of 143 feet, 11 inches. Her winning throw was her second of three tosses in preliminaries and managed to stand the test of time throughout the remaining throws. Last year Streisel placed fifth in the same event.
"It definitely felt better than my first one," Streisel said on her winning throw. "My first one wasn't what I wanted. It was a relief to see the distance and get a good one in early.
"I knew I had to step up with Allison (Updike) out. I knew I had a good chance out here at states. Last year I came here and I just wanted to medal. This year I was definitely more determined and wanted to get in the top three or actually win."
Updike, Streisel's teammate over the last two years, was the state champion in the javelin in 2010. Unfortunately, a knee injury earlier in the year sidelined her for the rest of the season and left Streisel as the heir apparent. Streisel credited her mentor afterward and said that the gold medal was partly Updike's as well.
"(Allison) knows so much," said Streisel. "She is such a hard worker and I think that rubbed off on me. To see her poised and relaxed and how she handled everything it was nice to be able to see her do that and follow after her.
"I hope that she is glad that I was able to win. I know she would have loved to be out here winning this, but it's Tamaqua and it's her teammate so hopefully she is pleased with that."
Palmerton's Kelsey Hay competed in the javelin as well and came away with a fifth place finish. Hay, who was seeded 18th coming into the event, made the finals on her last throw (124-4) of preliminaries. She would go on to throw a 129-10 on her second attempt in the finals. The throw was over ten feet further than her seed distance.
"I was a little nervous in the beginning," admitted Hay. "But after I got two throws out of me I knew it all came down to that last throw in prelims. I made it to the finals by the skin of my teeth. It was nice to get into the finals. From there I knew I just had to relax and do what I knew I could do.
"I am so excited. The competition was great and Christine is an amazing thrower. Just to be up on the medal stand with somebody from Tamaqua and District 11, and to represent District 11 well, was just a great feeling."
Hay also placed 10th in the AA shot put with a hoist of 35 feet, eight-and-three-quarter inches.
The third local medal-winner on the day was Lehighton's Jon Strauss. Although he tied for fifth in the AAA javelin with a throw of 186 feet, one inch, he was not pleased with his performance afterward.
"It's a disappointment, but I am already looking forward to next year," said the junior who entered the event as the No. 3 seed. "I have to get over it. The wind was a factor for sure, but I will have to get my steps down for next year. I need to have a set mark for my steps. I think that would have helped out a lot today."
Only two of Strauss' six throws went over 182 feet. There was a steady cross wind from the competitors' left to right, but that didn't stop the winning throw from going over 211 feet.
"The fire is already fueled for next year," Strauss said. "I learned a lot this year. Even just watching these kids throw. They are great throwers. If anything I learned that it only takes one throw."