PIAA TRACK & FIELD: Elk Lake's Jones wins medal in Class 2A 1,600

SHIPPENSBURG — Kendel Jones already headed to the athlete warmup tent to retrieve his gear when he heard his name over the public address system.

He needed to return to the awards area.

The Elk Lake sophomore competed in the second heat of the 1,600-meter run. He stayed with the leaders and crossed the finish line in third place with a career-best time of 4 minutes, 20.68 seconds.

The final heat raced, and Coudersport senior Kevin Sherry took first in 4:13.74 and won the gold.

When all the times were slotted, Jones landed in eighth place and earned the first medal for District 2 at Friday’s PIAA Track and Field Championship meet at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.

“This is a really cool accomplishment,” said Jones, who ran faster than his District 2 winning time of 4:28.24 and leaped up 11 places from his No. 19 seed. “This is what I have been working for: to win a medal in the mile and the two-mile.”

Jones got out in 1:04.54 and ran in sixth place. He bumped up two places on his second lap and picked up the pace in the final 800 meters in 2:08.88. Mohawk’s Jaxon Schoedel won the heat in 4:16.51, and Freesport Area’s Michael Braun edged Jones late to finish second in 4:20.53.

Then, the waiting game started, but Jones figured he didn’t make the podium, so he headed out.

After the announcement, he hustled back in time to take his spot on the eighth-place step and sport a broad smile with his medal draped around his neck.

“I just wanted to give my very best effort,” Jones said. “I was just trying to stay with Jaxon in my heat. It’s mentally tough in the race. Sometimes you lose confidence. I tried to stay confident and give it my all.”

After a warm start to the day, Jones made plans to cool down.

He is also racing Saturday at 9 a.m. in the 3,200.

“I am going to take an ice bath,” Jones said. “I will chill out and relax for the rest of the day.”

Flynn improves

Mountain View senior Carissa Flynn ran a personal-best and school-record time in the Class 2A 1,600-meter run. She finished fourth in the first heat and ran a time of 5:15.08 to finish 14th of 31 runners. She improved seven places from her seed and beat her District 2 time of 5:21.72.

Southern Columbia senior Kate Moncavage won gold with a time of 4:57.52.

Honesdale’s Brenna Dahlgren also ran faster than her district time in the Class 3A 1,600. She finished 10th in her heat and had a time of 5:10.55, which placed her 26th of 32 runners. That beat her time of 5:13.56, which earned her a gold medal at the District 2 Championships.

Mount Lebanon senior Logan St. John Kletter won the gold in 4:38.54.

Onto the finals

Montrose’s Chloe Diaz qualified for the Class 2A final in the 100 hurdles.

She ran a time of 15.05 to win her preliminary race. It was the fourth-best time of the day.

Northeast freshman Abby Malesiewski had the fastest time at 14.69.

Diaz also ran the 400 relay for the Lady Meteors. She teamed with Carly Frey, Gracie Dalton and Sadie Jones to run a season-best time of 50.48, but they finished 19th overall.

Carbondale Area’s Kate Korty reached the final in the 400 at the Class 2A meet. The junior ran a 58.15 and finished second in her qualifying heat. It was the fifth-fastest time in the event.

Laurel junior Tori Atkins is the top qualifier with a time of 56.25.