Hess, Packer break records; Selinsgrove wins PHAC boys title

May 11—MILTON — Records are meant to be broken — even if the record was set by your older brother.

That's exactly the feat that Lewisburg junior distance runner Jonathan Hess achieved during Saturday's Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference meet at Milton High School's Alumni Stadium. Hess beat the meet record in the 1600-meter race after crossing the finish line at 4:15.42 — just 0.04 seconds better than his brother Thomas, who set the record last season.

Jonathan Hess and Shikellamy's Jayden Packer were the only male athletes from the Valley to end the day as new meet record-holders. Packer cleared 15 feet, 3 inches to take gold in the pole vault.

Selinsgrove amassed 101 points to claim the PHAC title.

"I was just hoping to beat what happened here last year and get the new league record," said Hess, who also set a personal best with the run. "Which I did by 0.04 seconds, which is not a lot, but I still got it."

Jonathan Hess would know most about what transpired last year. The younger Hess wound up in third behind his older brother and Danville's Rory Lieberman. In fact, all three of the runners broke the previous record, but since Thomas Hess won the race, the milestone went to him.

After finishing up his freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, Thomas Hess was present to watch his brother break his record.

"I feel like the league meet for me literally my entire high school career has just been me versus Thomas," Jonathan said. "This year I was just racing his old times because obviously he graduated, so he can't race. It was still like I was racing him."

As for Packer, he broke the pole vault record by three inches, which was previously set by Warrior Run's Jared McHenry in 2014. After failing to clear 15-3 during his first two attempts, Packer cleared the bar on his final try to seal the record. Packer's personal best is 15-6.

"It feels pretty good," said Packer, who also earned fifth in the triple jump. "Definitely wanna jump higher. Definitely need to get to 16 feet, get back to my long run."

As the title winner, there was plenty of success to go around for Selinsgrove. Logan Rodkey (200), Derick Blair (3200) and Colin Melhorn (shot put and discus) won their respective events for the Seals. Blair also helped the 4x800 relay win gold with a time of 8:06.56, which was nearly three seconds ahead of second place Williamsport. Evan Dagle, Bobby Kruskie and Jack Kappen were also a part of the quartet.

Rodkey, who's coming off a hamstring injury that sidelined him for much of the spring season, finished the 200 in 23.04 seconds. Rodkey also finished fifth in the 100 and helped the 4x100 and 4x400 squads to medals.

"This whole team — we're a family," Rodkey said. "We're gonna get points at some events, so having that brotherhood it helps us during these meets and practices."

Rodkey's 11.52 in the 100 landed him four spots behind event-winner Xavier Diaz, who zipped to a time of 11.17 seconds. Diaz also propelled Mount Carmel to golds in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays with times of 43:09 and 3:27.31, respectively.

Milton's Charles Wright also won multiple events after taking the high jump (6-2) and long jump (23-1). Wright went back-to-back with teammates Joel Langdon in the high jump.

Wright also pocketed a silver medal in the 400 after Shamokin's Benny Delbaugh ran it in 49.81 seconds to claim first.

"Long jump I would say is my favorite and the one I'm best at," Wright said. "I got 23-6 at Lock Haven. I'm trying to get 24 — I'm pretty sure I got 24 today, but I fouled."

Other local gold-medalists were Midd-West's Wyatt Nelson (800), Shamokin's Jason Alderson (triple jump) and Danville's Bronson Krainak (javelin). Krainak, a returning silver medalist at the state meet, unleashed a throw that traveled 206-4. Kraniak's toss was nearly 14 feet better than Central Columbia's Lincoln Huber, who took home silver on Saturday.

Kraniak's teammate, Collin Geise, finished in fourth place after hitting a personal-best mark of 176-3.

"I was probably more excited than (Geise) because he hit that number he was trying to hit," Kraniak said. "That's a state-qualifier right there for him. We're just gonna keep carrying it."