PIAA TRACK & FIELD: Diaz claims silver in photo finish of Class 2A hurdles; EL's Jones earns second medal

SHIPPENSBURG — Chloe Diaz saved her best race for last and came within a fraction of a second of a state title.

In the final race of her career, the Montrose senior blistered the scorching hot all-weather track at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium on a steamy Saturday morning in the girls Class 2A 100-meter hurdles at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.

She ran stride for stride with Northeast freshman Abby Malesiewski, and the two finished together.

After an examination of the photo, Malesiewski won gold, Diaz claimed silver and both officially ran the same time of 14.85 seconds. West Catholic’s Amirah Crabbe finished third in 14.87.

It was that close.

“I feel really good,” Diaz said. “My goal this year was to win a state title or finish better than fifth, which is what I did the last two years. I am really happy with how we pushed each other, and I was able to run a PR (personal record).”

In her career at Montrose, Diaz developed into the premier racer in the hurdle events.

She had a record-breaking senior season in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Diaz did not make the finals of the 300 hurdles at the state meet this season. That allowed her to focus on the 100 hurdles, an event where she held the No. 1 time in the state for most of the postseason at 14.92 at the Robert Spagna Championship meet.

In the trials Friday, Diaz qualified and earned Lane 6 for the final.

She burst from the blocks and looked strong over every hurdle. The fans who filled the bleachers at the finish line rose to their feet and cheered.

Hurdle for hurdle, Diaz and Malesiewski battled, and on the lean at the line, nobody knew who won.

They waited patiently until the scoreboard flashed the order of finish. Malesiewski came first, Diaz second.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Diaz said. “I didn’t know if my name was going to come up or her name. I knew it was a photo finish. It was nerve-wracking.”

Her trip to the medal stand completed a dominant end of the season for Diaz, who does not plan on competing at the next level.

She won gold in both hurdles races at the Robert Spagna Championships and the District 2 Class 2A Championships. Diaz owns the school record in the 100 hurdles with 14.85 and in the 300 hurdles with 46.30.

“I am really excited and proud of myself for what I have accomplished,” Diaz said. “Breaking into the 14s really makes me very proud of what I accomplished.”

Distance double

Elk Lake’s Kendel Jones added to his family’s legacy in the distance events. He won a sixth-place medal in the 3,200-meter run in Class 2A with a time of 9:22.47. He also won a medal Friday in the 1,600.

After he claimed an eighth-place medal Friday in the 1,600, Jones said he needed an ice bath.

It didn’t cool off his running or competitive spirit.

He returned to the track Saturday morning to earn a sixth-place medal in the 3,200, joining his brother Luke as a state-medal winner in the event. Luke finished fourth in the same event in 2013 with a time of 9:21.85.

Jones’ sisters, Krista earned a District 2 gold in the 1,600 in 2021 and won a sixth-place medal at the state meet in the 1,600 (5:07.89) in 2022; Peyton won a district silver in the 3,200 in 2018 and a bronze in the 3,200 in 2019; Keri won a silver at the district meet in the 3,200 in 2016; and Kenzie won a pair of district medals in the 1,600 and 3,200 in 2014.

“I feel really good,” Jones said. “I just knew that it would be a tough race. Obviously, at states, you have a lot more competition, so I am very happy.

“I looked up to all my siblings. It makes me feel very accomplished to win another state medal.”

Riverside’s Daniel Danilovitz finished ninth with a time of 9:24.24.

Jones, a sophomore, jumped out at a fast pace and stayed with the lead pack through the first 1,600 meters. He closed with a final lap time of 1:08.94 to secure his second state medal.

“I wanted to get out in a good spot and stay with the lead pack,” Jones said. “Once I got to the mile, which is usually when separation happens, I didn’t want to get too far away from the leaders.”