Missing out on this year’s track and field postseason was a definite bummer.
I would’ve been covering the PIAA Track and Field Championships in Shippensburg this weekend, but that among everything else was canceled earlier this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But why not look back at yesteryear, considering that 50 years ago, the Redbank Valley Bulldogs track and field team won its first D9 title, then called Class B.
The Leader-Vindicator had it covered in its May 20 issue of 1970.
Redbank Valley’s 1970 track and field team, one of the best to ever represent the school, added new honors the past weekend by winning the District 9 Class B Championship title at Clarion State College.
The Bulldogs piled up five first-place wins and a total of 43 points — a 5-4-3-2-1 scoring method was used in placing — to finish well ahead of runner-up Keystone which scored 30 points.
Roger Young won two individual events in the 100-yard dash and 220 dash. The Bulldogs also won all three relays, and the 880-yard, 1-mile and 2-mile runs. It was the first time Redbank Valley won a district team title.
Twelve Bulldogs will make the trip to states. Young joined Steve Rupp, Danny Snyder and Tom Bowser on the 880 relay that broke the meet record with a time of 1:34. The same foursome made up both the 1-mile and 2-mile relays — Doug Seelbach, Jim Snyder, Wade Cowan and Jim Painter. Also qualifying for states was Jerry Wolfgang who was second in the high jump.
Earlier last week, the Bulldogs finished their dual-meet schedule with an 84-66 win over Clarion-Limestone, finishing the year with an 8-2 mark.
The following weekend at the PIAA Championships held at Penn State University, Wolfgang finished sixth in the high jump after he cleared 6 feet, 2 inches but medal awards did not reach as far as sixth place. Young finished third in his heat in the 100 dash.
Among other notes from yesteryear:
— The metric system was not initiated at the high school level until 1979.
— Redbank Valley’s only other D9 title came in 1975. The Lady Bulldogs have never won a D9 track team championship.
— Speaking of the girls, the first PIAA-sponsored season was in 1974. It was a one-class postseason setup. Elk County Christian won the first D9 team title. The girls didn’t go to two classifications until 1977.
— The PIAA used Class A and B as its large and small divisions until it became 2A and 3A in 1976. There’s talk of the sport going to three divisions at some point, but no serious signs of that happening soon.
— 25 years ago, Redbank Valley’s Heather Copenhaver won a silver medal at the PIAA Championships, also in Shippensburg. She cleared 5 feet, 2 inches for the second straight weekend with that height claiming second at the D9 meet as well. She won a tiebreaker on less misses against Reynolds’ Kristy Dickson to claim second place. She became the fourth Lady Bulldog to medal twice at the state meet, joining Angie Shirey, Keli Schoeffel and Michelle Johnson.