Updike and Rimbey are stars at States
Neither Allison Updike nor Vanessa Rimbey was satisfied with her performance at last year's PIAA State Track and Field Championships.
Updike, Tamaqua's standout javelin thrower, was still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury to her knee and finished seventh in the Class AA competition after placing fourth as a freshman.
Lehighton's versatile Rimbey qualified for the State Meet in three events but failed to medal in any of them.
The ashes of those disappointments fueled their competitive fires this spring.
Updike and Rimbey dominated their events in league and District 11 competition, and once they returned to Shippensburg University for this year's PIAA Meet, they turned the previous results into distant memories.
Now a junior, Updike capped a remarkable season by capturing the Class AA javelin gold medal with a personal best throw of 161 feet, two inches.
Rimbey, a senior, took home three medals, earning bronzes in the Class AA 100 meter hurdles (15.29 seconds) and high jump (clearing five feet, two inches) and placing fifth in the long jump (17-10). She was also a member of the Lady Indians state-qualifying 4x100 relay team.
For their stellar showings on the State's elite stage, Updike and Rimbey have been named TIMES NEWS Female Co-Track and Field Athletes of the Year.
Both girls are all-around athletes. Rimbey was a member of Lehighton's PIAA Class AA State champion field hockey team in the fall and also played basketball.
As for Updike, she has now earned six consecutive District 11 gold medals, two each in soccer and basketball with champion Tamaqua squads, as well as two straight D-11 javelin crowns.
"The javelin is what I love the best of my three sports," Updike related. "I wanted to have a really good season because I was healthy again, and I wanted to make the most of it."
Updike isnt just a one-event specialist. At Districts, she set personal bests of 35-10 in the shot put and 100-5 in the discus and also high jumped during the season.
Updike won the Schuylkill League title with a heave of 156-9 and the District AA crown at 157-11, setting new records in both.
At States, she was top-seeded and held off two-time Class AA champ and PIAA record holder Fawn Miller of Lakeview for the gold.
Updike is only the fourth TN Area girl to win State gold in track, joining Palmerton's Debbie Rodriguez (long jump, 1975 and 1976) and Georgianna Messinger (1,600 meters, 1984) and Tamaqua's Tricia Plasko (100 and 200 meters, 1987).
"I have always wanted the gold deep down inside," admitted Updike. "I've had this as a goal ever since I started throwing."
Updike, who has been named All-State by the Pa. Track and Field Coaches Association, currently has the fourth best scholastic outdoor throw in the nation, according to PennTrack.com.
She isn't resting on her laurels, either. She finished second at the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro with a throw of 154 feet. Heather Carson of Mesa, Arizona hit 160-4 on her final attempt to overtake her. This weekend, she will compete at the Junior Nationals at Des Moines, Iowa.
"One goal I always have is to improve, and that won't change for the rest of my life. No one is perfect," related Updike.
Rimbey, who was last year's TN Girls Track and Field Athlete award winner, will continue her career at Bloomsburg University as a multi-event performer. She relishes the sweet taste of success that washed away the bitterness of her previous State Meets.
"Now I have these medals and can look at them and touch them," Rimbey related. "It's a lot better feeling than it was last year."
A three-time State qualifier in the long jump and hurdles, once she earned her first State medal in the long jump during day one, she was on her way to a State Meet to remember.
"That took a lot of the pressure off," said Rimbey. "I've been trying to medal in the long jump since my sophomore year. I was excited that I had one medal. I didn't know what was in store for me and that two other medals would be coming with it."
Rimbey, who won three D-11 golds for the second straight season, finished with career bests of 14.7 in the 100 hurdles, 18-6 in the long jump and 5-6 in the high jump.
While she will also try out for the field hockey team at Bloomsburg, she knows where her passion lies.
"In the end, it comes down to what sport you love the most," she noted. "I don't want it to end now, because I can't see myself not doing track."