SHIPPENSBURG - They say there is nothing like a good sibling rivalry.
However, for Tamaqua's Kayla and Tyler Hope, there was only sibling encouragement taking place on day one of the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
Kayla and Tyler, who are brother and sister, each won silver medals in their first events Thursday. Kayla took second in the AA long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 11 inches, while Tyler was the runner up in the AA javelin with a throw of 198 feet, four inches.
For the older sister, it was a great experience.
"I was so excited when Tyler won districts," said Kayla. "We are each others biggest fans. People were asking me if I would be mad if he got gold and I didn't. I wanted him to win gold so badly and I know he would wish the same for me.
"It was really cool to come out here and compete with him. It was kind of hard since we both had our events at the same time, but as soon as I was done I ran right over. After I took my last jump I heard that he was in second so I sprinted over to see him."
Kayla, the defending state champ in the long jump, couldn't duplicate her magical performance from last year (18-10 ) in which she won on her final jump of the competition. The senior's second leap in preliminaries turned out to be here best. Unfortunately, it was two inches short of Lauren Ball's (Bloomsburg) mark of 18-1 .
"It is still awesome," said Kayla, who went into the finals as the second seed. "I didn't jump as far as I wanted to, but I have to be happy with the second-place medal.
"I said coming into today that I'll be happy if I PR. There was a lot of pressure on me this year, so I just wanted to focus on setting a new PR and doing my best. I did that, so I am happy with that."
While Kayla was busy going for gold inside the track, her brother was out in the field competing for the javelin title. Much like his sister, it just so happened that Tyler's second preliminary throw was his best. Sadly, just like his sister, the sophomore's longest throw came up a mere 21 inches short of the winner's (Michael Shuey from Johnsonburg).
"I came in a little nervous," admitted Tyler, who was also the second seed heading into the finals. "I just took deep breaths and tried to relax. It is my first time here and it was a different experience with all the emotions flowing. I just wanted to do my best and come away with the gold, but I came up short this year.
"I'm happy with my throw. I PR-ed, so there's nothing else I could do. I have next year and the year after so I am going to keep trying."
Palmerton's Monty Szukics had a good day as well. Szukics qualified for the semi-finals in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash with a time of 11.20 and 22.34 seconds respectively. He will carry a high seed into both races, as he will be second in the 200 and fourth in the 100. He, along with 4x100 teammates Dallas Miata, Alex Vignone and Travis Wolfe, also qualified for the finals in the relay.
"I was a little nervous," said Szukics on his 100-meter performance. "I don't think I ran as well as I could have. It was just the jitters, which is usually how I feel before a big meet like this. The first race is always a little difficult, but I know what I did and what I have to do for tomorrow.
"I need to have a better start. I plan on taking that knowledge into the 200. Hopefully that will help me run a fast time in that."
Other local athletes that qualified for tomorrow's semi-finals or finals were Tamaqua's Eric Hertzog (110HH), Pleasant Valley's Kelecia Harris (100M) and Northern Lehigh's Caleb Johnson (400M).
Tamaqua's Kelsey Patrick and Palmerton' Jessica Pereira suffered heartbreak in one of their respective events. Patrick missed out on the 1600-meter finals by 0.65 seconds, while Pereira came up 0.12 seconds short of qualifying for the 400-meter finals.
The following are the results for the TIMES NEWS area athletes at the PIAA State Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
100M - Jessica Pereira, Palmerton, 13.27, 7th in preliminary heat, 26th overall, did not advance to semi-finals.
200M - Jessica Pereira, Palmerton, 26.82, 5th in preliminary heat, 14th overall, did not advance to semi-finals; Kayla Hope, Tamaqua, 6th in preliminary heat, 27th overall, did not advance to semi-finals.
400M - Jessica Pereira, Palmerton, 59.07, 2nd in preliminary heat, 9th overall, did not advance to finals.
1600M - Kelsey Patrick, Tamaqua, 5:18.46, 6th in preliminary heat, 15th overall, did not advance to finals.
3200M - Kelsey Patrick, Tamaqua, today, 9 a.m.
400M Relay - Tamaqua, 50.30, 4th in preliminary heat, 15th overall, did not advance to finals.
Shot Put - Christina Streisel, Tamaqua; Gwen Remaley, Lehighton; Kelsey Hay, Palmerton; Aimee Oertner, Northern Lehigh; Sarah Keer, Lehighton, today, 12:30 p.m.
Javelin - Christine Streisel, Tamaqua, today, 9 a.m.
Long Jump - Kayla Hope, Tamaqua, 17-11 _, 2nd overall; Maria Streisel, Tamaqua, 16-1 _, 18th overall.
Triple Jump - Lauryn Solt, Palmerton, today, 9 a.m.
100M - Kelecia Harris, Pleasant Valley, 12.56, T4th in preliminary heat, T14th overall, advanced to semi-finals.
200M - Kelecia Harris, Pleasant Valley, 25.98, 4th in preliminary heat, 19th overall, did not advance to semi-finals.
1600M - Haley Yost, Northwestern, 5:05.07, 10th in preliminary heat, 19th overall, did not advance to finals.
3200M - Rachele Cerrone, Northwestern, today 9 a.m.
Triple Jump - Kelecia Harris, Pleasant Valley, today, 12:30 p.m.
100M - Monty Szukics, Palmerton, 11.20, 2nd in preliminary heat, 4th overall, advanced to semi-finals.
200M - Monty Szukics, Palmerton, 22.34, 1st in preliminary heat, 2nd overall, advanced to semi-finals.
400M - Caleb Johnson, Northern Lehigh, 50.25, 3rd in preliminary heat, 8th overall, advanced to finals; Matt Grega, Marian, 51.26, 5th in preliminary heat, 13th overall, did not advance to finals.
110HH - Eric Hertzog, Tamaqua, 15.02, 3rd in preliminary heat, 6th overall, advanced to semi-finals.
400M Relay - Palmerton, 43.34, 3rd in preliminary heat, 8th overall, advanced to finals; Tamaqua, 44.15, 4th in preliminary heat, 15th overall, did not advance to finals; Jim Thorpe, 44.39, 5th in preliminary heat, 19th overall, did not advance to finals.
1600M Relay - Marian, 3:26.34, 4th in preliminary heat, 12th overall, did not advance to finals; Northern Lehigh, 3:33.61, 5th in preliminary heat, 25th overall, did not advance to finals.
Discus - John Snyder, Palmerton, today, 9 a.m.
Javelin - Tyler Hope, Tamaqua, 198-4, 2nd overall.
Long Jump - P.J. Johnson, Jim Thorpe, today, 9 a.m.
High Jump - Caleb Johnson, Northern Lehigh, today, 12:30 p.m.
200M - Kegan Bray, Pleasant Valley, 22.54, 5th in preliminary heat, 17th overall, did not advance to semi-finals.
1600M - Jack Wathen, Pleasant Valley, 4:31.63, 10th in preliminary heat, 22nd overall, did not advance to finals.
3200M - Tyler Stelmack, Northwestern, today, 9 a.m.
Discus - Levi Haldeman, Lehighton, 147-6, T14th overall.
Javelin - Jon Strauss, Lehighton, today, 12:30 p.m.