ALLENTOWN – One down, three to go for Vanessa Rimbey.
The Lehighton senior entered Wednesday's opening day of the District 11 Track and Field Championships at J. Birney Crum Stadium seeded first in three individual events and as part of the Lady Indians' top-ranked 4x400 relay.
Rimbey is the returning District AA champion in the 100 meter hurdles, long and triple jumps, and she opened her defense of those titles by retaining her long jump crown.
She also dazzled the field in the 100-meter hurdles, easily winning her preliminary heat with a time of 15.8 seconds to advance to the finals this afternoon.
Also defending a District title among TIMES NEWS area girls during day one was Tamaqua sophomore Amber Carroll, who repeated as AA 3,200 champ and was a member of the Lady Raiders' state qualifying 4x800 relay team.
Rimbey topped a quality field in the AA long jump event, in which five girls bettered the PIAA State qualifying standard of 16 feet, 11 inches.
Rimbey's best leap this season is 18-1 , and she wasn't far off that mark, jumping 17-11 to retain the title.
"I'm really happy with that," said Rimbey. "It (the long jump) was first on my list of what I wanted to accomplish here, and you can't get any better than first."
Three other TN area girls also made the cut for States behind Rimbey.
Tamaqua's Kayla Hope was second at 17-3 , following by Lehighton's Abby Frey, third at 17-2, and Jim Thorpe's JaAshia Page, fourth at 17 feet, inch.
Another TN area jumper, Pleasant Valley's Allison Keeley, leaped 17-1 in the AAA competition but placed fifth, two inches short of the AAA State standard of 17-3.
"I don't know where I got it from, but I'm glad I did it today," said Hope, who broke the Tamaqua school record of 17-3 which had been held by her mother, the former Denise Stahler. "This was the first time I was over 17 feet. I felt I was capable of it, but I didn't think I would get second."
Rimbey will also try to repeat in the high jump and hurdles as well, where she is top seeded and favored, but a win by the Indians' 4x100 would be the icing on the cake.
"I'd really like our relay to go," stated Rimbey. "I've always been a solo performer, so it would be nice to get back to States with some friends this time."
Tamaqua's Carroll was seeded first in the 3,200. She figured Notre Dame's Allison Constant might try for the early lead, but when Constant stayed back, Carroll surged ahead early and never looked back, taking her second straight 3,200 gold in 11:18.83, about five seconds ahead of Constant.
"I tried to retain my championship from last year, and it feels good to do it again as a sophomore," said Carroll. "The time was my personal best. I thought I'd give the pace to Allison, but when she didn't go for it, I just took the lead and maintained it."
The Raider 4x800 quartet of Kelsey Patrick, Dana Ansbach, Cecily Kohlmeir and Carroll ran a season's best 9:46.42. While that was good for third place behind Saucon Valley and Bethlehem Catholic, it was well under the State standard of 9:50.4.
Carroll is also the defending AA 1,600 champion and is seeded third for today's race. Should she also earn a State berth there, she will have a decision to make.
"I am definitely doing the 4x8 (at States), but if I make it in the mile, I don't know what I'm going to do yet," she related.
Just missing State berths with third place finishes were Palmerton's Kelsey Hay in the AA shot put (35-11 ) and Tamaqua's Allison Updike in the AA discus (100-5).
Updike, who also placed fourth in the shot (35-10), is the defending champ in the AA javelin, where she is seeded at 156-9. If she reaches that today she would set a new District record for that event. The AA mark is 146-9 by Wilson's Heather Korhammer.
Thorpe's Page had the top time in the AA 100 meter trials at 12.94, with Frey third at 13.28 and Thorpe's Ashley Nicola foirth at 13.31. Frey had the top trial time for the AA 200 at 26.7, with Nicola third at 26.87.