Double-digit seed doesn’t stop Stianche
Tamaqua’s Derian Stianche captured the District 11 Class 3A 800 meter title despite coming into the race as the No. 10 seed. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO
Derian Stianche knew what the paper said.
And the sticker slapped on his chest served as just another reminder.
That the Tamaqua senior wasn’t viewed as a favorite wasn’t a problem.
Stianche’s preperation propelled him to gold last Thursday in the District 11 Class 3A 800.
And it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone.
“It means so much to me, because coming in as the 10th seed, nobody expected that coming from me,” said Stianche. “But in a race that close, you never know what’s going to happen; everybody’s so close. So you just have to go out and run your race, and I ran a great race.”
Stianche trusted his training to run a 1:57.18, well ahead of Northampton’s Dalton Domchek (1:58.67).
“I wanted the time, but I’ll take the gold, too,” said Stianche, who was a member of two Raider relay teams (1600 and 3200) that won gold at the District 11 Class 2A meet a year ago, while also placing second in the 800 to secure his place at states in three events.
With training focused more on improving his overall quickness, Stianche hadn’t been concentrating much on the race in recent weeks, which paid off in the jump up to 3A competition.
“I haven’t run the 800 in about two or three weeks because I’ve been running a bunch of 400s to work on leg speed,” Stianche said. “I knew coming out, that depending on the type of race, if we came out in a 1:00-flat, I could come back in a :55, :56. And if we came out in a :56, :57, I knew I had the endurance and the speed in the last 200 to come back in a :57, :58. So I just felt good. All those 400s really paid off. I carried my 400 speed from last week into today, and it just felt amazing out there.
“I feel like I’m in a great spot right now. I feel like I haven’t really peaked yet. I peaked, but I don’t think I hit the top of my peak yet, and I think I can drop another two or three seconds. It was great; that was a great race by everybody. The competition, it was just amazing out there.”
Stianche’s triumph highlighted a slew of stellar performances by area athletes that might not have had a top seed, but delivered when it mattered most.
Tamaqua’s Barron Stauffenberg and Northern Lehigh’s Kristen Guelcher — both seeded fifth — came away with gold medals in their respective events and qualified for states for the first time.
Stauffenberg won the 3A long jump with a leap of 22-2 3/4.
“It means a whole lot,” he said. “Last year, I ended kind of poorly, and I told my coach that I would get to Shippensburg this year, and now I have a district championship, so it feels really good.
“Every week, I’ve just been getting better and better distances.”
Guelcher won the 2A 100 with a time of 12.69. Guelcher was seeded with a time of 13.18, and ran a 12.86 in the prelims.
“It was crazy,” said Guelcher. “Being a sophomore, going against all these older girls who are so talented, and just to be able to pull out the win meant a lot to me.
“I definitely had nerves. It was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a meet, because I was going against all these really good girls. I really wanted to go to Ship. It was a good experience.”
Guelcher’s massive improvement has her excited for what’s to come in Shippensburg.
“There was definitely a lot more pressure, because knowing that it qualified me for something else, and something bigger, I knew there was a lot more riding on it, and there was just a lot more pressure,” said Guelcher. “I’ve been trying to get myself in the right mindset to run, and really have just been trying to focus on my race, and I think it helped a lot.”
CLEAN SWEEP ... Jim Thorpe took the top three spots last week in the Class 2A shot put. William Munson won his second gold medal of the meet, winning the shot put with a mark of 51-8 1/4. Thorpe’s Allan Bailor was second (47-1/2) and Dylan Dailey third (46-1).
“I knew the competition was my teammate,” Munson said. “So I was really just pushing against myself. But I was trying to push myself against those 3A guys, because they were nuts.
“It’s amazing, and I’m going to be honest, he’s (Bailor) probably going to be better than me. He’s got two more years, and he’s throwing better than I ever did at that age, which is going to be crazy. I wish him the best of luck, of course.”
Palmerton’s Chris Fredericks was fourth (44-7 1/4).
CORRECTION ... Jim Thorpe’s Jarrin Geisinger was credited with the Class 2A 100 record, running a time of 10.89 last Thursday to better Tamaqua’s Noah Powell, who was listed as running a 10.94 in 2000. The District 11 website has since gone back to Powell having the record at 10.84. Geisinger is still credited with the record in the 200 with a time of 22.52.
HELPING HANDS ... Tamaqua junior Emily Titus set a huge PR to win the Class 2A shot put with a mark of 34-8 3/4.
“I was just hoping to get the win, no matter what it took,” said Titus, who was seeded third. “There were obviously girls around me that had better seeds than me, but I was pretty confident that day, and I worked hard all season and I give a lot of credit to coach, (Mike) Sakash (Tamaqua throwing coach), because he worked so much with me, and helped me get to where I am.
“He had me peaking at the right time, the greatest time, because this is obviously the meet you want to do it at, going into states this weekend.”
Titus is certainly peaking at the right time.
“I just know that I have to stay confident,” she said. “I was not as confident as I am now at the beginning of the season, so right now I feel really good with where I’m at.
“If you would have told me my freshman year I’d be the district champ in two years, I would have called you crazy. I just wasn’t that into it. I didn’t practice it a whole lot. I just went out and did it for fun. But now, I really enjoy it.”
Titus also got a boost from teammate Matthew Amodea last week. Amodea turned in a stellar performance with a runner-up finish in the Class 3A shot put with a school record 53-1 3/4.
“We practice together, and it was so awesome to see him get the school record,” Titus said. “We really push each other at practice, and have a lot of fun.
“I’m trying to be more explosive, that’s what I’m trying to work on right now, is just to be more explosive through the circle, and get maybe a few more inches, or a foot or two. I still feel like I have a foot or two in me.”
Titus is hoping to continue her improvement this weekend in Shippensburg – an experience she isn’t taking for granted.
“I’m just hoping to go out there and maybe get a PR, but just have some fun, because I know this doesn’t happen for everyone,” Tius said of her first “Trip to Shipp.”
BACK FOR MORE ... Jim Thorpe’s Jarrin Geisinger, Marian’s Emma McClafferty, Palmerton’s Jake Martinez and Tamaqua’s Khalid Holland are the returning medalists among area athletes that qualified for states this season. McClafferty was sixth in the 2A discus a year ago, while Martinez (1600) and Holland (pole vault) were both eighth. Geisinger finished seventh in the Class 2A 100 in 2017 while running for Marian.
Following are the Times News athletes (with event and seed) who will be competing at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
3200 relay - 6. Tamaqua, 9:49.46 (26 teams)
100 - 13. Kristen Guelcher, Northern Lehigh, 12.69 (25 girls)
300 hurdles - 22. Lydia Wallace, Jim Thorpe, 48.28 (25 girls)
800 - 17. Lydia Wallace, Jim Thorpe, 2:22.43 (24 girls)
3200 - 3. Reagan Pender, Northern Lehigh, 11:13.60 (23 girls)
Pole vault - 15. Debbie Loyd, Jim Thorpe, 10-0 (21 girls)
Shot put - 20. Emily Titus, Tamaqua, 34-8 3/4 (24 girls)
Discus - 9. Emma McClafferty, Marian, 120-3 (30 girls)
3200 relay - 22. Northwestern, 9:42.60 (27 teams)
High jump - 21. Kaia Slaw, Lehighton, 5-3; 23. Armani Dunkley, Pleasant Valley, 5-3 (35 girls)
Long jump - 13. Kaia Slaw, Lehighton, 17-9 1/2 (24 girls)
Triple jump - 10. Kaia Slaw, Lehighton, 37-4 3/4 (31 girls)
Discus - 7. Isabelle Meckes, Lehighton, 127-3 (25 girls)
110 hurdles - 2. Jordan Nelson, Palmerton, 14.68 (27 boys)
100 - 5. Jarrin Geisinger, Jim Thorpe, 10.89; 20. Gabriel Bauer, Marian, 11.16; 29. Aaron Stasko, Palmerton, 11.25 (39 boys)
1600 - 15. Jake Martinez, Palmerton, 4:31.18 (28 boys)
400 relay - 12. Palmerton, 43.86 (26 teams)
400 - 19. Ean Chelak, Marian, 51.91 (24 boys)
800 - 3. Samuel Hydro, Jim Thorpe, 1:56.99; 6. Jake Martinez, Palmerton, 1:57.91 (26 boys)
200 - 13. Jarrin Geisinger, Jim Thorpe, 22.52 (28 boys)
High jump - 13. Zach Moyer, Northern Lehigh, 6-3 (27 boys)
Triple jump - 8. Jordan Nelson, Palmerton, 44-0 1/4 (24 boys)
Shot put - 6. William Munson, Jim Thorpe, 51-8 1/4 (26 boys)
Discus - 22. William Munson, Jim Thorpe, 134-4 (27 boys)
Javelin - 2. Chris Fredericks, Palmerton, 186-10 (24 boys)
800 - 17. Derian Stianche, Tamaqua, 1:57.18 (27 boys)
Pole vault - 9. Khalid Holland, Tamaqua, 14-3 (26 boys)
Long jump - 13. Barron Stauffenberg, Tamaqua, 22-2 3/4 (26 boys)
Shot put - 8. Matthew Amodea, Tamaqua, 53-1 3/4 (25 boys)