SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Connellsville javelin thrower Madison Wiltrout capped an amazing 15-day span by winning the Class AAA girls title with a throw of 182 feet, 8 inches on Friday during the PIAA Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.
The sophomore’s throw broke the PIAA record by 11 feet, 6 inches. And it came on the heels of Wiltrout’s heave of 185-8 on May 7, which is the best recorded throw for a girl in high school history.
Wiltrout was one of 14 field champions crowned on Day 1 of the meet. Another 14 field events will be contested Saturday, while all of the track events will hold finals.
“The last couple of weeks have been crazy,” Wiltrout said. “It’s all happened so fast.”
Wiltrout won states last year as a freshman with a throw of 151-1, which happened just three months after she first tried the sport. Her winning throw Friday came on her first attempt, and it was more than 47 feet better than the runner-up.
“Having the national record hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it did help me be confident coming here,” Wiltrout said. “I was lucky on my first throw the wind died down.”
Winning a state championship is quite a reward on its own. Trinity Christian junior Tyler Carter will receive a little extra notoriety with his gold medal. By capturing the boys Class AA triple jump, Carter became the first PIAA track & field champion from Trinity Christian, and he used that as extra motivation.
“I did a little research, and I decided I wanted to be the first state champion at this school,” Carter said. “I wanted somebody to remember me.”
Carter’s best jump before Friday was 45-8, and he surpassed that with a 45-10 leap early in the competition. But going into his final attempt, he trailed defending champion Kobren Frederick of Huntingdon, who had posted a distance of 46-3.
On his final jump, Carter hit a distance of 47-0 ¾ to set the crowd buzzing.
Courtney McCartney of Selinsgrove, a senior, defended her title in the girls AAA shot put. Her winning throw of 46-0 was just over three feet better than the runner-up, Jocelyn Ruth of Kutztown, even though it was almost three feet shorter than her winning throw of 49-0 ¼ last year.
McCartney said, “I had a rough start today, but I ended the day very happy. I thought my mental game and form weren’t there today, but I was still hoping for a big throw. ”
Friday started out as a beautiful spring day, but a gusty breeze was a factor in some events. It did not bother Williamsburg senior Michael Biddle, who won the boys AA javelin with a throw of 199-6, nearly 10 feet better than his next-closest competitor.
Biddle said, “I tried not to worry about the wind. Every throw I make I try to attack as hard as I can.”
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