Three earn state track medals
And then there were three: Liberty’s Brylee Tereska, Freedom’s Alex Heidemann, and Liberty’s Annika Flanigan came home with state medals after competing in the PIAA State Track and Field Championships last Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.
Tereska received the bronze medal for javelin with a throw of 133-01 on Saturday.
“I’m so happy, especially coming in from last year at states. Last year was my first time competing here, and I was very nervous, but this year my coach took us to the Shippensburg Invite so I could get a few throws on the runway and feel comfortable with the place,” Tereska said. “Nerves are always present, but I felt confident on the runway compared to last year, so I’m very glad my coach decided to sign me up for that.”
Tereska reached 133-01 on her third and fifth throws, a personal record for the Bucknell University commit.
“Throughout the throws, I knew I needed to be faster because if you go faster, the further it’s gonna go and my technique was there and my speed was on my side today,” she said. “My coach (Chris D’Emilio) was keeping track of what everyone threw. He does it every meet, which I appreciate very much, and he was letting me know, but I also don’t focus on that because then I can get in my head a little bit, so I try and focus on me because I can only control myself.”
Nazareth’s Kelly Leszcynski won the gold medal with a distance of 141-03, and Harrisburg’s Kaylla Williams was the silver medalist with a throw of 133-04.
Also on Saturday, Freedom’s Alex Heidemann earned the sixth place medal for the 800 meter run with a time of 1:54.06.
“It feels great. It’s a great way to end my career. It’s a really good feeling,” said Heidemann, who raced in the second of two heats, the faster heat. “I knew everyone was within a second of each other in the seeding, 15 guys, and it’s gonna be a very rough race, so my goal was to get out really hard, and then in the first 200, just get in a good position, and for the next 300 meters, maintain that, hold where I was, and respond to any moves, and I did that.”
Heidemann finished fourth in his heat and said that having a detailed plan of what to do in every situation with Freedom distance coach Bob Thear was very helpful to his race.
“Once I had 300 to go, I opened my stride and put myself in a position to kick. With 200 meters to go, it was just about emptying the tank and going for it,” said the Lehigh University commit. “I saw where my position was, and I knew I had a chance to medal.”
And then Heidemann saw Southern Lehigh’s Chase Hensinger, who won the district 800 meter run by .35 seconds 10 days earlier.
“One of my goals was to beat Chase, and I slipped right by him on the inside and kept pushing. I kind of jostled position. It was a very physical race. I was pushing people, I got tripped a couple times, and that’s just how these races are,” Heidemann explained, “and when I got to the inside, I held it as best as I could.”
Archbishop Wood’s Gary Martin won the state gold medal with a time of 1:51.24.
On Friday, Liberty’s Annika Flanigan tied for seventh place at states with a medal in pole vault. The Hurricane junior cleared 11-00 along with Springfield Township’s (Montco) Julia McBride and Eastern Lebanon County’s Carissa Bender.
Veronica Vacca from Mount Saint Joseph was the gold medalist, clearing 13-00.
Also competing at states were Bethlehem Catholic’s Kensley Joasil in the 400 meter run, Freedom’s Ava Fihlman in the 3200 meter run and Heidemann in the 1600 meter run, and Liberty’s Josh Farrell in the 400 meter run, Raymon Deschamps in the 110 hurdles, and Brooke Rawls in triple jump.