BROOKVILLE — For the rest of the Tri-County Area Class AA boys teams Friday night’s District 9 Track and Field Championships, there were plenty of state-qualifying performances led by four gold medalists.
Elk County Catholic’s Ben Hoffman won the 3,200-meter run and combined with teammates Jacob Carnovale, Joe Wolfe and John Wittman to win the 4x800 relay. Redbank Valley’s Sam Hetrick won his second straight high jump title while Clarion-Limestone’s Ian Callen won the javelin.
Hoffman backed up his No. 1 seed and won his second straight 3,200 title, crossing the line in 9:51.47, just over three seconds ahead of No. 2 seed Darion Gregory of Smethport.
Hoffman and Jacob Carnovale, both back from last year’s fifth-place state medalist relay, combined to win the 4x800 in 8:11.26, just over two seconds ahead of Smethport. It’s the fifth straight year the Crusaders have won the 4x800.
Hetrick, also a returning state medalist after sharing seventh place last year, repeated his D9 title in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 5 inches.
Callen threw a season-best to win the javelin with a toss of 179 feet, 8 inches. He’s the second straight Lion to win a D9 title with Riley Hummell taking the gold a year ago.
Six other athletes claimed a state berth with either a runner-up finish or state-qualifying performance.
For Elk County Catholic, Carnovale was second in the 1,600 run in 4:37.55. He finished behind Smethport’s Darion Gregory, then had to hold off Cranberry’s Daniel Fisher for second. The Crusaders’ 4x100 relay also claimed a state berth with a runner-up finish with the foursome of Regis Wortman, Steven Bobby, Jacob Koss and John Wittman. Koss also captured a state spot in the 100 dash, finishing fourth but running a state-qualifying time.
DuBois Central Catholic’s Linkin Nichols qualified for states for the third time in the 800 run with his runner-up finish. Nichols ran a 2:01.12 to finish behind Smethport’s Christian Tanner’s 2:00.17 and just ahead of Clarion’s Noah Schill and ECC’s Isaac Wortman, who were both under 2:02 as well.
Johnsonburg’s Ethan Kemmer qualified with his second behind Brookville’s Dillon Olson in the 110 hurdles. Kemmer ran a 14.9 and was one of four hurdlers in the race to qualify on time as well.
Joining his teammate Hetrick at Shippensburg for Redbank Valley was senior Keaton Kahle, who despite finishing fifth in the 100 dash, showed off the district’s depth in sprinters this year by qualifying on time with a 11.29, just under the 11.3 cutoff.
Also scoring points with top-six finishes:
— For Elk County Catholic, the 4x400 relay of Regis Wortman, Gabe Kear, Wittman and Koss finished third as did Raivis Bobby in the javelin. Koss was also fourth in the 200 dash along with Isaac Wortman in the 800 run. Wittman was sixth in the 300 hurdles and Wolfe was sixth in the 1,600 run.
— Johnsonburg’s Kemmer added a fifth in the 300 hurdles while R.J. Miller finished third in the high jump and Tyler Watts was sixth in the javelin.
— Clarion-Limestone’s Austin Newcomb came real close to qualifying on time in his fifth in the 110 hurdles. His 15.52 was just shy of the 15.5 SQ required time to advance to states. Newcomb also added a fourth in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the 200 dash. Also for the Lions, Ben Smith finished fifth in the shot put.
— Redbank Valley freshman Joe Mansfield was the next highest finisher for the Bulldogs, finishing third in the triple jump. He, Hetrick and Javin Brentzel were fourth in the 4x100 relay as well as Declan Fricko in the high jump. Anthony Baileys and Trenten Rupp turned in sixth in the discus and pole vault respectively.
— Clarion had four third-place finishes with the 4x800 relay of Nick Schill, Don Cunningham, Noah Schill and Daniel Ketner, Gavin Brinkley in the long jump, Nathaniel Learch in the 3,200 run and Noah Schill in the 800 run. Clayton McElravy was fifth in the discus and Nick Schill added a fifth in the 1,600 run.