Area athletes shine at Raider Invite
Father Time might be undefeated.
But it was Mother Nature that proved to be unbeatable on Friday night.
Tamaqua’s annual Blue Raider Invitational was wiped out nearly halfway through the event because of heavy rain that continued to pound the area.
The adverse conditions didn’t put a damper on the performances of several area athletes, who left the meet with plenty to be happy about.
“I’m very pleased. Tamaqua has a really special place in my heart; I always run really great times here,” said Palmerton senior Jake Martinez. “Tonight is a really great stepping stone, a step in the right direction. We have some very big invites coming up within the next two weeks that will really set me up for some potential really good times. Today was kind of a good benchmark to see where we’re at.”
Martinez dodged raindrops, puddles and the competition to win the 1600 with a time of 4:33.43, edging Blue Mountain’s Kevin Haas (4:34.88).
“Kevin is an incredible runner,” Martinez said of Haas. “I have so much respect for him. He pushed me the whole race.”
Martinez was also on the Palmerton boys 3200 relay team that placed second with time of 8:31.52.
A state medalist (eighth) in the event a year ago, Martinez is hoping to carry that momentum forward into another strong postseason.
“I just want to keep improving,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to medal at the state championships last year, and I would like to improve on my position if I’m fortunate enough and go after some more school records as well.”
The Palmerton boys captured three gold medals, with Jordan Nelson (110 hurdles) and Chris Fredericks (javelin) also placing first.
Nelson won the 110 hurdles, which were run as timed finals in 15.60, while Fredericks was first in the javelin with a throw of 175-07.
“I’m pretty happy,” said Nelson. “In the beginning of the season I was running a little faster so I’m kind of disappointed with that but otherwise just happy with a win.”
Mahanoy’s Chase Mazalusky was second (15.88).
“There wasn’t really much to think about,” said Nelson. “I just tried to not slip out of the blocks but other than that it was just like a normal race.”
Fredericks made the best of his situation and did what needed to come away with the win.
“There’s not too much I can take out of it,” he said. “The runway is a little wet, the speed was a little bit slower because it was wet. I was a little nervous and didn’t want to slip. But other than that I just had to stay relaxed, trust what I know how to do and that’s about it.
“I didn’t change my approach at all, honestly. My mindset, I tried not to change, but it was inevitable. It kind of just happened with the way the weather was.”
Tunkhannock’s Matt Prebola was second in the event with a throw of 169-09.
Like Nelson and Martinez, Fredericks also found his way to Shippensburg a year ago. With several big throws already under his belt, the senior is eager to finish his career on the podium at Seth Grove Stadium.
“I’m pretty confident with where I’m at,” said Fredericks. “My training is going well. I’ve had some pretty good throws in for the way the weather’s been. It’s still early in the season. I’m really confident with the way things have been going.
“I’m confident this year. I have the Penn Relays coming up in a few weeks. I’m confident and excited about that. I can’t wait for leagues, districts and states.”
Jim Thorpe’s William Munson won the discus with throw of 132-0, and also placed first in the shot put (46-09.0).
Thorpe’s Allan Bailor was second (42-08.0) in the shot put, while Tamaqua’s Matthew Amodea was third (41-07.0).
Tamaqua’s Nathaniel Noftz was third (118-07) in the discus.
Jason Walck cleared 11-0 to win the pole vault for the Olympians.
“It was pretty fun, and hard. It was challenging,” said Walck. ““I was hoping for 12-6, or 13-0. My personal best is 12-1.
“But it gives me a lot of confidence for the coming meets and everything.”
Tamaqua’s Khalid Holland was third (11-0).
Lehighton’s Evan Beers won the 3200 in 11:03.06.
Kaia Slaw was second in the long jump (15-02.50) for the Tribe. Slaw was third in the high jump (4-10).
Isabella Baka added a runner-up finish in the pole vault (9-0) for Lehighton. Jim Thorpe’s Tessa Bevilacqua (8-6) was third in the event.
Tamaqua’s Barron Stauffenberg had a pair of second-place finishes. Stauffenberg was second in long jump with leap of 20-8.0, and the triple jump (42-04.50).
The Olympians had a pair of runner-up finishes from Lydia Wallace in the 400 with a time of 1:01.01, and Megan Rosahac in the 3200 (13:17.18).
Tamaqua’s 3200 relay team of Brianna Dumond, Grace Stegemerten, Sarah Maue and Frances Kabana placed second in the 3200 relay with a time of 10:07.65
Jim Thorpe’s Jarrin Geisinger placed third in boys 100 with time of 11.26. Geisinger was also third in long jump with leap of 20-04.0.
Tamaqua’s Emily Titus placed third in shot put with mark of 33-06.0. Marian’s Ean Chelak was also third in the 400 (53.36).
ON THE HORIZON … Jim Thorpe’s Olympian Invitational, typically held in April, has a new date this year. The event will be held on May 3, less than a week out from the Schuylkill League meet.
WHEN IT STOPPED … With 11 events scored in the girls competition, Abington Heights led the team standings with 75 points. Lehighton was fourth with 28 points. With 14 events completed on the boys’ side, Pocono Mountain West led the way with 59 points. Jim Thorpe (55) was second, Tamaqua (47) third and Palmerton (43) fourth.