Diaz pockets three state medals for Mount Carmel

May 25—SHIPPENSBURG — By the time Xavier Diaz was done running the 200-meter dash, his last event of the day, the Mount Carmel senior was battered as a result of competing in a plethora of sprints and relays during the final weeks of the track and field season.

However, judging by the way he ran during this weekend's PIAA championships, one wouldn't have been to tell that he was running on sore legs.

Despite not being able to perform at 100%, Diaz won three medals for Mount Carmel during the final day of the Class 2A state championships at Shippensburg's Seth Grove Stadium on Saturday.

Diaz's best result came in the 100, where he took the silver with a 10.85, which gave him the highest finish for a Mount Carmel athlete in in the event. Prior to Diaz, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach finished fifth in the 1997 state meet. Diaz also took sixth in the 200 while helping the Red Tornadoes' 4x100 team to a bronze.

"Nothing but love for Mount Carmel," Diaz said. "There's so many great people. They have a great tradition and culture, and I'm just happy to be a part of it.

"I wish I had fresh legs — who knows what could've happened. But it is what it is. I'm just happy that I got to run all of those races and got to show how much I've accomplished."

Diaz's 10.85 in the 100 was only bested by North East's Jamari Curlett, who ran a 10.82. Diaz clocked in a 22.72 in the 200, which was won by Penn Cambria's Josh Stolariski. As the only runner to finish under 22 seconds, Stolariski turned in a 21.98.

Serving as the anchor leg of the 4x100, Diaz helped the Red Tornadoes cross the finish line in 42.73. Andrew Lukoskie, Cole Spears and Cooper Karycki were also a part of Mount Carmel's relay.

As seniors, Diaz and Spears ran in their last relay together on Saturday. Diaz and Spears, along with Lukoskie and Billy Rishel, failed to qualify for the 4x400 final after coming in at ninth on Friday.

"I'm happy I got to do that with the guys," said Diaz, who will play football at Bloomsburg next season. "Especially Cole Spears. He's a senior, so I'm just happy we got him one medal."

Another Mount Carmel athlete, Hobi Forti, left Shippensburg with a fifth-place medal in the triple jump. After not being the medal range during his first two attempts, Forti landed a jump of 44-31/2, which gave him a new personal best and his first state medal.

"It was my third jump in the second flight, and I'm like 'You know, I'm not letting this be the last jump of my season, I just gotta go out,'" Forti said. "So running down the track I'm like 'You just gotta put it all together.'

"Having a state medal around your neck is just a different feeling. It's like no other. I can't even describe it."

Danville also had a successful Saturday as Gavin Holcombe and Dane Spahr both found the medal stand. Holcombe matched last season's placing in the pole vault with another fourth-place finish.

This time, Holcombe did it after clearing 15 feet, his new personal record, after his first two tries went unsuccessful. Holcombe the tried to clear the bar at 15-6, but he failed all three of his attempts.

"This year the competition for 2A was so good," Holcombe said. "We had four people over 15. So the whole competition was just a ton of fun with the guys. We kept each other on our toes. I had a clean meet until 15, so I'm really happy about that. Just having that competition and a bunch of people at 15 was really motivating."

Spahr took home seventh in the 3,200 with a time of 9:22.84, which gave him a new personal best. Spahr ended the weekend with two state medals after taking fifth in the 1,600 on Friday.

"It feels pretty good; I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't place higher," Spahr said. "Like it is what it is. I gave my best effort. I'm a little bit sore from the mile (on Friday), but I did what I could."

Additionally, Spahr was a part of Danville's 4x800 team that finished 20th. Wyatt Brady, Adam Gallo and Sam Nied also ran on the Ironmen's quartet that clocked in an 8:33.66. Gallo began his day in the 3,200, but finished 19th after turning in a 9:42.95.

There were a couple other 2A athletes who competed on Saturday, but failed to find the medal stand. Greenwood's Nicholas Stuck finished one spot short of the 800 medal podium after coming in ninth at 1:57.79.

Warrior Run's Judah Kennel ended his day tied for 15th in the pole vault after clearing 12 feet. Kennel was subsequently eliminated from the competition after failing to clear 12-6 three times.