Streisel leads area contingent
Tamaqua senior Christine Streisel has certainly had a year to remember, but still has one more feat to accomplish for this to be a truly memorable season.
Streisel comes into this weekend's PIAA State Track and Field Championships as the second seed in the Class AA javelin and the third seed in the AA shot put.
She also comes into this weekend with quite a bit of momentum, after taking first in both events at the Schuylkill League Championships and the District 11 Track and Field Championships last week. She also took first in the javelin for the second consecutive year at the Penn Relays this past April.
With all of those accomplishments, many would consider this a highly successful season. But for Streisel, only a gold in Shippensburg will suffice.
Streisel took gold in the javelin as a sophomore and returned last year with her sights set on a repeat performance. It wasn't to be, as Fort Cherry's Jessie Merckle prevented Streisel from going back-to-back, forcing her to settle for a second place finish.
"Christine has been kind of what I would call on a mission this year for a big throw and last year's second place definitely motivated her to improve this year," said Tamaqua coach Tom Kanger. "She was happy with her win at Penn Relays, but I know she really wants a second win at javelin and big throw to go with it."
She also stands a good chance of improving her performance in the shot put, where she took sixth last year.
"Christine has been consistent with shot put this season and has had some big throws at practice, so it is just one of those game day performances," Kanger said. "She throws well at Shippensburg and has as good a shot as any of the top performers in the event."
Joining Streisel in the javelin will be Paige Demetriades, who is seeded 13th. Streisel will be joined by another teammate in the shot put, as Amanda Solt makes the trip as the 15th seed.
Christine's sister, Maria, who won the Class AA long jump at districts last week, will join her in Shippensburg, as she earned the seventh seed in the event. Kanger feels this weekend could be Maria's time to shine.
"Maria has been jumping solid all season and getting better every meet," Kanger said. "She was always jumping behind state gold and silver medalist Kayla Hope, but with her graduation Maria has stepped right in and done great all season.
"Maria has experience at Shippensburg, which is an advantage and she has been consistently in the 17' area all season, so she's not there just to compete, she wants a medal."
Rounding out the Tamaqua contingent on the girl's side is Chelsea Frantz, who earned the 24th seed in the Class AA 800.
Tamaqua's Eric Hertzog (110 hurdles) and Tyler Hope (javelin) will be competing in Class AAA action this weekend. Hertzog is seeded ninth while Hope enters with the 15th seed.
After achieving success as a junior last season, Northern Lehigh's Caleb Johnson, who earned the fourth seed in the AA 200 and the sixth seed in the AA 400, is hoping to recapture to some the magic from his trip to states last year.
"His goal is to medal in the 200 and the 400," Northern Lehigh coach Mike Lehtonen said. "I think he has a real good shot to go back-to-back after medaling last year.
"It's going to be tough, though. There are no guarantees in racing."
Northern Lehigh's Jessica Olewine will join Johnson at states after she earned the 22nd seed in the Class AA triple jump.
Northwestern Lehigh's Cam Richardson (sixth seed) will join Johnson in the 200, while Marian's Nico Agosti earned the seventh seed in the 200 and the 12th seed in the 400. The Colts' Chris Bruno will take part in the Class AA 100, also as the 12th seed.
Ryan Karnish and John Julian will join Bruno and Agosti in the AA 1600 relay, where they are the 13th seed. The Palmerton team of Gerald Pereira, Dominic Shivone, Shaun Seiler and Austin Shupp earned the 27th seed in the event.
The Bombers' Shupp is also entered in the Class AA 110 hurdles as the sixth seed and in the 300 hurdles as the third seed, making a podium position a very attainable goal.
Palmerton will also have Brad Ehret in the AA high jump (13th seed), Jarred Sacks in the triple jump (sixth seed), John Snyder in the shot put (eighth seed) and Darris Rodrigues in the pole vault as the 16th seed.
The Palmerton boys and girls will also field teams in the 400 relay events, as Trevin Green, Austin Shupp, Alex Vignone and Gerald Pereira took the 12th seed in AA action. Kaelyn Englert, Lauryn Solt, Jess Pereira and Brianna Doherty helped the Lady Bombers secure the 31st seed in the AAA field.
Pereira and Solt will be competing in individual action as well, with Pereira earning the 21st seed in the AAA 400 and Solt claiming the 12th seed the AAA high jump.
With Palmerton sending a record number of athletes to states this weekend, coach Mike Gombert certainly has a lot to look forward to.
"We're extremely excited on multiple levels," Gombert said. "It's really an honor just to make it to states, and to have so many kids competing in such a variety of events, I think the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit."
But Gombert admits that simply earning recognition as a state qualifier is not good enough for his team.
"Taking 14 kids, we want to bring a few medals home," Gombert said. "The kids have worked really hard and they're going out there to earn medals."
Northwestern will also have strong representation in multiple relay events and individual competition this weekend. Along with Richardson in the 200, the Tigers' will have Tyler Stelmack in the AA 3200 (20th seed), Austin Weiss in the 110 hurdles (20th seed) and Alex Partington in the discus as the 17th seed. Cole Miller and Harry Hall will join Weiss and Richardson in the AA 400 relay, where the team is the eighth seed.
On the girl's side, Northwestern will have Haley Yost (27th seed) and Rachele Cerrone (29th seed) in the AAA 1600. Sabrina Mertz and Carly Pierce will join Yost and Cerrone in the AAA 3200 relay, where the team is the 15th seed.
With such high seeds in both relay events, Northwestern coach Dave Kerschner is hoping for continued success this weekend.
"We have high expectations for all, but I would say we are hoping for medals specifically from the relays," Kerschner said. " We had a great week at districts and so far we have had a great week of practice. Our kids are excited for the opportunity and the experience."
Rounding out the action on the boy's side is Pleasant Valley's John Wathen, who earned the 25th seed in the AAA 1600 meter run and Marian's Corry Quick, who secured the 13th seed in the AA javelin.
Marian's Christy Digiandomenico took the 23rd seed in the AA 300 hurdles, while Lehighton's Gwen Remaley earned the 13th seed in the AAA shot put and teammate Sarah Keer secured the 18th seed in the AAA javelin.