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Laurel's Atkins, Mohawk's Schoedel win state track gold medals

May 27—SHIPPENSBURG — Two gold medals were claimed by Lawrence County track and field standouts Saturday.

Laurel High's Tori Atkins and Mohawk's Jaxon Schoedel snared first place in their respective events at the PIAA Track and Field Championships. The event was held at Shippensburg University.

All of the county's competitors participating on Saturday did so in Class 2A events.

Atkins won the gold in the 400, while Schoedel did so in the 3200.

Atkins, a junior, won the 400 in a time of 55.49. The time was a school record, breaking her old mark that she set at the WPIAL Championship earlier this month.

"She was extremely nervous before the race," Lady Spartans coach Drue Flora said. "The coaches and everyone around her were trying to calm her down. l told her to run her race, not anyone elses.

"I knew she was going to win after she got out of the blocks as good as she did. She won by 15 meters or more. It wasn't even close. That's what we kind of thought would happen."

Atkins took third in the event as a freshman and second last year.

"Just to improve over the years, it demonstrates strength. It's all about strength and conditioning," Flora said. "With not doing basketball and doing indoor track helped a lot; lifting helped a lot, too.

"She worked very hard on her conditioning. I've never seen her work harder than she did between the WPIAL championship and the state championship. She had it in her mind that she wanted to win. She was going to win no matter what."

Schoedel, a junior, posted a time of 9:10.45.

"We had talked the day before after the mile was done, Jaxon has a really good kick," Warriors boys coach Jared Stratton said. "The last few races he has been sitting behind kids and beating them at the end.

"We told him, you're going to lead the race. We thought he was the best runner in the race. Let's go try and run it that way and he did that. He set the tone form the beginning. With about 500 meters left, he turned it on. It was really a good ran race by Jaxon and a big accomplishment for him."

Schoedel took second last year in the 3200.

On Friday, Schoedel won a bronze medal in the 1600 in a time of 4:16.51.

"We were trying to better that (in the 3200) and he did that," Stratton said. "Jaxon has been running for a little over two years. What he has accomplished in those two years is unlike anything I have ever seen.

"He has big hopes for the future. He's putting his name out there as one of the best ever."

Atkins also won a medal in the 200 (6th in 25.85) and a medal in the 100 (12.37) in eighth place.

"When you have three races, it's difficult," Flora said. "When it's as hot as it was, the track was over 100 degrees. To run early in the morning, and then to come back and run the 400 and run the 200, it's very difficult.

"She did exactly what we thought she would do do in the 400. In the 200, she had all the weight lifted off her. We told her, this is icing on the cake. Do what you can do. Do as best as you can and whatever you get is gravy. She was happy with it. She was able to medal. I thought she had a great day."

Laurel's Alexis Geiwitz, a junior, scored a medal in the shot put, placing fifth with a toss of 39-8. Geiwitz broke her own school record, which she set at the WPIAL Championship meet.

"I thought she performed well," Flora said. "That was her first throw. We were truly ecstatic with her.

"We were trying to push her to get further. But, we couldn't be happier for her, and she was happy, too."

Flora noted the future is bright with Atkins and Geiwitz returning.

"They're the cornerstone of the program, along with Amara McKissick. We're hoping for big things from the team; we're hoping to make the team playoffs next year."

Mohawk's Ellie Whippo, a junior, snared a bronze medal in the girls 300 hurdles with a time of 45.04.

"I thought she performed very well," Lady Warriors coach Cameron Schirmer said. "We were excited that she made it to the finals and she was excited that she made it to the finals.

"There were a really good group of hurdlers in the state. It was her first appearance in the hurdles at the state meet. It was amazing to see. She was saying how bad she wanted it and she did a great job."

Ellwood City Lincoln's 3200-meter relay team of Nick Wise, Bradley Custer, Drew Steffler and Colten Crizer captured a fifth-place medal in a time of 8:05.71. Crizer also claimed 14th place in the 800 in 1:58.91.

Shenango's Colton Fedrizzi finished sixth place in the shot put to earn a medal with a heave of 52-2 1/4. Teammate Levi Stuck took 16th in the event with a toss of 45-7. Fedrizzi and Stuck are both seniors.

Fedrizzi took fifth Friday in the discus for his first of two state medals on the weekend.

"I'm proud of him," Wildcats boys coach Chris Vecenie said of Fedrizzi. "Any time you get to state and walk away with a medal you have to be appreciative. He was probably aspiring for higher and that's what makes him a great competitor. He's a mentally tough kid. Two medals in two different events as a senior, I couldn't be happier for him.

"I'm very proud of Levi's first trip up there. It can be a daunting task, never throwing in those circles. He was close to a PR, just a few inches away from that. He had that 45-7 throw on his last throw. I can't say enough about his mental toughness."

The Shenango girls had three participants competing in the shot put, with freshman Anna McKinley leading the way. McKinley finished fourth to earn a medal with an effort of 39-10 1/4.

"I thought she did amazing," Lady Wildcats coach John Montgomery said of McKinley. "She won the WPIAL championship with a throw that was almost the same distance.

"I thought she handled the pressure really well. It was good for her to handle the big stage and get some confidence for next year."

Lady Wildcats sophomore Zoe Bupp was ninth in the shot put with a toss of 36-3. Teammate Maria Bryant was 17th in the shot put at 34-2 3/4.

"Zoe just missed going to state last year," Montgomery said. "Nobody wants to go to state and finish ninth. She got a lot of good experience and she got to perform with some really good athletes.

"Maria had a big day in the discus on Friday. We're really proud of the season she had. I want to remember her for everything she has done for the program."

NESHANNOCK

Brendan Burns, a junior, raced to a 24th-place finish in the 3200 in 9:54.09.

"Coming in to it, everyone's goal is to run their PR," Lancers coach Adam Held said. "Not too many of them did that. It was kind of an interesting day. It got warm pretty fast.

"I was hoping the temperature would stay down a little bit. He was just off of his best time by a little bit. If he works hard this offseason, I don't see a reason why he can't get back there next year. He's the kind of kid that will work hard. There's times he's out running before school. He's a pretty dedicated young man. We'll expect a lot from him."

SHENANGO

Sara Roe, a junior, finished 15th in the triple jump with a leap of 36-6 1/4.

"She had a good day. It wasn't a great day, but it was a good day," Montgomery said of Roe. "Girls were having huge jumps. I thought she did really well.

"I'm really proud of the season she had. I would have liked to see her get to the medal stand."

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com