bob ford/times news Kayla Hope of Tamaqua won the Class AA long jump with a leap of 17-3.
ORWIGSBURG - One down, three to go for Tamaqua's Kayla Hope.
For teammate Amber Carroll, it's three down with one to go.
Hope and Carroll both earned individual gold medals to lead all TIMES NEWS area athletes yesterday afternoon on the first day of the District 11 Track and Field Championships held at Blue Mountain High School.
It was the first career District 11 Class AA gold medal for Hope, who will be trying to add three more golds to her collection when the District Championships resume later this afternoon.
Hope, who placed second in the long jump a year ago, leaped 17-3 for a decisive victory over Pen Argyl's Sarah Vough (15-8 1/2).
The Tamaqua junior also posted the top performance in the preliminaries of the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.35, which was a new personal best. As the top-seed, Hope will be favored in today's 200-meter finals, as well as in the 400-meter relay, where her team is also seeded first. In the triple jump, Hope is seeded second, but is just four inches shy of top-seeded Sarah Vough.
"The long jump is probably my favorite event and I've been really looking forward to it all week," stated Hope. "It was really nice to come in and get a gold right away in my first event."
"In tomorrow's triple jump, I'm just hoping to have my best jump of the season, and I definitely want to push myself in the 200," added Hope. "But I really want to get the gold in the 4x100 so I can get to States and share that experience with three of my teammates."
While Hope claimed her first District gold medal yesterday, Carroll secured her third straight gold in the 3200-meter run. After winning the event as a freshman and sophomore, Carroll posted a time of 12:12.62, which was about three seconds faster than Salisbury's Taylor Gonoude.
Carroll's time may have been a little slower than she is used to, but it's an amazing performance for someone who is just getting back into running shape after having her appendix removed.
"It's pretty exciting to three-peat, especially just coming off surgery a few weeks back," said Carroll who led from start to finish of the race. "I thought I was in control for most of the race. I felt the Salisbury girl catching up to me in the final 100 yards, so I knew I had to pick it up a little and finish strong."
Carroll also took part on Tamaqua's 3200-meter relay team (with junior classmates Cecily Kohlmeir, Dana Ansbach and Kelsey Patrick), which finished in third place behind Notre Dame of Green Pond and Bethlehem Catholic.
Carroll will attempt to add more hardware to her collection later today when she competes in the 1600-meter relay and 1600-meter run, where she is seeded second in both events.
In Class AAA, Kelecia Harris of Pleasant Valley placed second in the long jump with a leap of 16-6 . Harris, a junior who is competing in her first year of varsity track, also qualified for next week's State Championships.
"I'm just so excited, it's hard to even put it into words," beamed Harris. "I wasn't totally satisfied with my jumps because I thought I could have done a little better, but I'm definitely happy with the results."
In the Class AA shot put, Palmerton's Kelsey Hay and Lehighton freshman Gwen Remaley will be representing the TIMES NEWS area in the State Tournament.
Hay, who just missed qualifying for States a year ago, heaved a toss of 36-5 on her final attempt to secure a second-place finish, while Remaley recorded a personal best fourth-place throw of 36-2, which was just above the state qualifying standard of 36-0.
"Making it to States was definitely my top goal this year after not making it last season," noted Hay. "Prior to my last attempt, I was in third place and two inches shy of qualifying for States, so I just put everything I had into that final throw."
Remaley also added a third-place finish in the Discus for a solid start to her varsity career.
"I was disappointed that I didn't make States in the discus, but I had to put that out of my mind and start over in the shot put," stated Remaley. "I ended up throwing a personal best in the shot though, so that definitely made me feel a lot better."
Palmerton also got third-place finishes from Casey Rinfret in the long jump (15-8 ) and Sam Doherty in the pole vault (8-6).
Several area athletes also posted preliminary times that will qualify them for today's finals.
In Class AA, Tamaqua's Taylor Gerber was tied for first with Palisades' Meryah Harding in the 100-meter low hurdles (16.71), while teammate Maria Streisel posted the second-best time in the 100-meter dash (13.26, which was just behind the 13.20 posted by Notre Dame of Green Pond's Amy Kester).
Other TIMES NEWS preliminary qualifiers for today's finals include: Palmerton's Jessica Pereira (100 and 200), Lehighton's Sage Terembula (100 and 200), Palmerton's Casey Rinfret (100), Palmerton's Kristen Romano (100 low hurdles), Lehighton's Lauren Michalik (100 low hurdles), Pleasant Valley's Kelecia Harris (100 and 200) and Pleasant Valley's Kiasia Dunbar (100 low hurdles).