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District 11 girls track: Walters, Snyder and Fenstermaker post first-place finishes

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - It’s a place Palmerton’s Nataly Walters has become familiar with.

And a position the Bombers’ Emma Snyder and Northwestern’s Sadie Fenstermaker have been trying to reach.

The accomplished trio achieved their goals on Tuesday with gold medals on the first day of the District 11 Track and Field Championships in Class 2A competition.

Walters won the long jump for the second year in a row, while Fenstermaker and Snyder captured their first district titles.

Those performances highlighted a day that saw five individuals and one relay team advance to states. In addition to Walters, Snyder and Fenstermaker, Panther Valley’s Mikayla Yuricheck and the Northern Lehigh 3200 relay qualified for states in Class 2A, while Lehighton’s Lorah Thomas advanced in 3A.

Walters wins

The top seed and defending district and state champion in the long jump, Walters continued her success in the event with a winning leap of 18-6.

“Today’s extra special,” said Walters. “My third jump was my best jump of the day, which was 18-6. So that was a half-inch less than I jumped at the league meet, but that means I’m pretty consistent so that’s a good thing to have going into states. I know if I stay consistent I’ll jump 18-6 or better or maybe a little bit worse. But that’s a good mark to go in with.”

The junior hasn’t missed a beat after missing significant time with an ankle injury earlier this year.

“It kind of boosts my confidence knowing I’m finally back,” said Walters. “And tomorrow is triple jump, 100 finals and the 400 relay finals. So I’m curious to see what other events I’ll qualify for.

“For my jumps today, they weren’t horrible, but they weren’t my best. I’m excited to see what I can do at states. That extra adrenaline, maybe I can hit 19-(feet), that would be a dream. But I’m excited to go to Shippensburg again, third year in a row going. I’m proud of that. Hopefully I can go for triple and maybe a couple other sprinting events. We’ll see.”

Taking flight

Snyder won the 2A high jump, clearing 5-2.

“I’m just really happy. I’ve never been able to get a gold medal at districts. Last year I didn’t even medal at all,” said Snyder who was fifth at districts last season. “So it was really exciting. I was just trying to get to states with a gold medal.

“It started off a little rainy. It’s actually the perfect weather, because it’s not too hot, there’s no real wind. So honestly it’s kind of the perfect weather for it.”

Snyder, who hit the state qualifying standard at districts last season, medaled at states a year ago, tying for fifth.

“I definitely was very very nervous,” said Snyder. “I just think, because if I didn’t make this it would be my last high school jump. So I was definitely very nervous it was going to end. But once I got 5-2 every bit of weight on my shoulders was just gone. So it felt really good.

“I’m hoping to do better than I did last year at states because now I know what it’s like, what to do out there. So I’m just hoping for a better medal now this year. The goal height is 5-5 to match the school record. But if I got 5-4 next week I would be happy with that.”

Breaking through

Fenstermaker won the discus with a throw of 112-10 after placing third in the event a year ago and second in the discus last week at leagues.

“It means a lot to me. I’ve been excited for this since the beginning of the season, and I’m very proud of how I did today,” she said. “I threw how I wanted coming back from last week not doing so great. So I’m really excited, I’m really proud of how I did and my coach is very happy for me.

“Last week I wasn’t getting on my toe good enough and keeping my arms up, so I definitely worked on that, and as you can see in the results, it helped me out.”

Fenstermaker was runner-up at the Colonial League meet in the discus before winning the shot put the next day.

“I definitely was a lot calmer today compared to how I was at leagues,” said Fenstermaker. “I just was in a different mindset. I was more relaxed and I was just very smooth through the circle so that definitely helped me out. I was just more calm.

“I feel like since last week I was nervous I used that and was kind of like, ‘OK, obviously that did not help me, so I have to be more calm this week.’ I was able to do that and put it all together and it worked out for me.”

Fenstermaker got her best mark on her second throw to help ease the nerves. Prior to that, she had thrown around 105-feet.

“That also helped to calm me down. I knew I was good and I could just go for it. That helped me relax and gave me a better mindset.”

Heading to states

The Northern Lehigh team of Natalie Moffitt, Emma Heil, Mikayla Gordon and Katelynn Barthold qualified for states with a second-place finish in the 2A 3200 relay with a school record time of 9:57.85.

“It feels really good,” said Barthold. “Ending last year, we kind of missed it by about four seconds. And we knew we could do this, but that Pen Argyl had some good freshmen come up. We just really pushed each other and we knew we were capable of it. We just performed really well today.”

It was the same group that finished third last year.

“We’re really happy with the time,” said Barthold. “That broke our school record. We had it around 10:00, but I definitely still think we can run faster. We’re really looking forward to doing that next week.

“Three of us play soccer together, and Emma is just amazing. We just get along really well and have a special bond. It’s just amazing, coming to practice every day and getting to spend time together. It’s the best.”

Thomas advanced to states in the 3A shot put with runner-up finish of 33-10.5.

“It means a huge deal to me, only being a junior,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for growth and improvement. I didn’t throw my best today. But it was good enough to get me to states, which is super exciting and thrilling.

Thomas was seeded second in the event. The junior wants to break her PR, which is 35-0.

“I just want to go all out and throw past that,” she said. “My coach, Gwen Remaley (Davidson), has been huge for my improvement and has helped me a lot. She’s really helped me out mentally and really helped me all around.

“I’m just looking forward to more improvement. I also have the discus tomorrow. I’m ranked first in that so that will be interesting. I think this is a good boost. My discus hasn’t been that consistent, but getting this today I think will be a big help for my confidence.”

Yuricheck threw a personal best 125-5 to place second in the javelin and move on to states.

“It feels really good,” said the senior. “My expectations were to get out there and have a good throw to start because I knew the state qualifying standard was 121-(feet), and as soon as I threw a 122-0, the pressure was off. I kind of just knew I could throw how I throw.”

Yuricheck, who was third in the event last season, hit the state qualifying standard on her first throw and got her best mark on her next throw.

“The number I’m going for now is 130-(feet),” said Yuricheck, who also reached 100 career hits for the softball team this year. “I would love to break the school record, which is around 135-0. I think it’s doable with a lot of work.”

In the finals

Walters (12.89) and teammate Erin Gombert (12.91), along with Northwestern’s Carsyn Van Norman (13.06) and Kaia Grantham (13.13) advanced to the 2A girls 100 finals.

Gombert (26.48), Grantham (26.98), Van Norman (27.17) also qualified for the girls 200 2A finals.

Northern Lehigh’s Evelina Mayak (15.61), Northwestern’s Katie Brensinger (16.52), Palmerton’s Ruby Walters (16.71) and Jim Thorpe’s Leah Wasko (16.77) advanced to the 100 hurdle finals.

Back in action

Competition is scheduled to resume today at 3 p.m. at Blue Mountain High School.




Class 3A

Team legend

Parkland (Park), Easton (E), Pottsville (Pott), Tamaqua (Tam), Emmaus (Em), Saucon Valley (SV), Wilson (Wil), Nazareth (Naz), Whitehall (W), Blue Mountain (BM), Lehighton (L), East Stroudsburg North (ESN), Stroudsburg (S), Northampton (Nor).

(top-3 plus other locals in top-10)

3200 relay – 1. Parkland 9:26.73, 2. Emmaus 9:31.34, 3. Easton 9:46.80; 300 hurdles – 1. Maggie Scalzo (E) 43.30, 2. Alexa Giuffre (Pott) 45.95, 3. Katelynn Fredericks (Tam) 46.93; 3200 – 1. Madelyn McCartney (Em) 10:41.96, 2. Virginia Kraus (SV) 10:45.31, 3. Avery Errico (Wil) 11:05.72; Pole vault – 1. Naomee Adams (Naz) 11-0, 2. Tessa Hopkins (W) 10-6, 3. Gabriella Kozic (E) 10-0, 4. Samantha Plasha (Tam) 10-0; Shot put – 1. Rosalind Gergely (BM) 38-3.25, 2. Lorah Thomas (L) 33-10.5, 3. Celis Miranda (ESN) 33-8.25, 9. Ceanna Gormley (Tam) 30-9.75; Triple jump

- 1. Lindsey Palaez (S) 36-6.5, 2. Anne Beenders (Nor) 36-6.5, 3. Naomee Adisa (Naz) 36-2.


Team legend

Notre Dame Green Pond (NDGP), Pen Argyl (PA), Palmerton (Palm), Northwestern (NW), Schuylkill Haven (SH), Northern Lehigh (NL), Jim Thorpe (JT), Nativity (Nat), Panther Valley (PV), Lehigh Valley Academy (LVA), Minersville (Min), Marian (Mar).

(top-3 plus other locals in top-10)

3200 relay – 1. Notre Dame Green Pond 9:37.54, 2. Northern Lehigh 9:57.85, 3. Pen Argyl 10:10.07, 4. Northwestern 10:18.71, 8. Marian 11:40.32, 9. Palmerton 12:04.52; 300 hurdles – 1. Savina Steele (NDGP) 45.22, 2. Ellianna Wallbillich (PA) 47.59, 3. Ruby Walters (Palm) 48.50, 7. Katie Brensinger (NW) 51.13; 3200 – 1. Anna Schaeffer (SH) 11:43.98, 2. Madison Dietz (PA) 11:50.23, 3. Emma Heil (NL) 12:02.32, 9. Stacy Bos (JT) 12:58.15, 10. Delaney Szwast (NL) 13:09.43; Discus – 1. Sadie Fenstermaker (NW) 112-10, 2. Evelyn Hersh (NDGP) 107-0, 3. Arieanna Sherman (Nat) 104-7, 6. Katie Brensinger (NW) 97-2, 7. Mikayla Yurichek (PV) 96-9, 8. Mara Levins (JT) 91-9, 9. Mallory Conner (NW) 88-4, 10. Dekota Barthold (NL) 87-3; High jump – 1. Emma Snyder (Palm) 5-2, 2. Ella Schweitzer (NDGP) 5-0, 3. Celina Rudell (NW) 5-0, 4. Ellianna Wallbillich (PA) 4-10, 5. (tie) Kimora Seales-Griffith (JT) 4-8, Taylor Wasilewski (Palm) 4-8. 9. (tie) Kamarrah Saslo (Palm) 4-8; Javelin – 1. Maria Puglia (NS) 131-9, 2. Mikayla Yuricheck (PV) 125-5, 3. Hannah Leninger (PG) 110-8, 7. Hannah Gober (NW) 104-4, 10. Kylie Christman (NW); Long jump

– 1. Nataly Walters (Palm) 18-6, 2. Brooke Rawls (LVA) 16-10.25, 3. Maggie Hoffman-Long (Min) 16-5.25, 4. Leah Wasko (JT) 16-3.5, 5. Abby Pomajevich (NW) 15-7, 7. Katelynn Barthold (NL) 15-4.5, 10. Caitlyn Kovatch (Mar) 14-11.

Nataly Walters, Palmerton