Sock’s Gardner wins long jump

SUNBURY — Sophia Gardner jumps as if there’s springs in her shoes. She seemingly floats through the air, knees tucked to her chest, avoiding the sand below her at all costs.

The Loyalsock freshman has made the long jump look so easy all spring. How? Who knows? But Gardner is clearly a natural.

She was at it again Saturday, posting a best jump of 17 feet to win the girls even at the PHAC Track and Field Championships at Shikellamy High School.

She was one of six local individuals to win seven events, and Gardner also teamed with Erin Machmer, Hailey Zurich and Charlotte Neylon to win the 400 relay. Loyalsock finished second in the team race behind only Selinsgrove.

Loyalsock’s Isabel Sagar was the lone local double winner, taking the 1,600 and 3,200 by comfortable margins. Milton’s Leah Bergey won the 100 hurdles, Zurich won the pole vault, and Central Mountain had a pair of winners in Amelia McCloy (high jump) and Sadie McCaleb (javelin).

Gardner’s 17-foot leap in the long jump was her fourth time this year hitting the mark in competition. She admits when she first hit the distance, which is beyond the state qualifying standard of 16-11, she didn’t realize how big of a deal it was.

She was in just her second varsity competition and won the Jim Taylor High School Classic at Susquehanna University with a jump of 17-7. That mark would have been good enough for sixth at last year’s state meet. She’s carried that early momentum into the rest of the season, living in the mid-to-high 16-feet range.

“The coaches said I had potential, but I didn’t think I would come out this strong,” Gardner said. “I’m just so thankful for my coaches who have helped me get to this point.”

An unassuming presence on the track or the jumping runway, she stands out if only because of the black sleeve she wore on her right calf Saturday afternoon. But in that moment when she hits the board, she becomes a living, breathing pogo stick, separating from the ground with ease and propelling her deep into the landing pit.

She jumps with power which belies her smaller stature. She travels through the air with the grace of a soaring eagle. And she stays curled up as long as possible, adding every inch she can to her distance before touching down in the sand.

“I didn’t expect it to be like this. That first time I hit 17, I just thought it was normal,” Gardner said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal.”

“She’s this little, tiny girl who is just so quick,” said Neylon, who finished second in the long jump to her teammate yesterday. “I played basketball with her, so I knew she was quick. And when she came in for track practice, I knew she was going to be pretty good.”

Gardner has accumulated a wealth of points for the Lancers this spring, and it came at a much-needed time. Loyalsock lost state medalist high jumper Maddie Fox to a torn ACL during the winter. But beyond the guaranteed points she was good for in the high jump, Fox was also a member of the state qualifying 400 relay team which was returning all four runners this season and in 2019.

But Gardner stepped right in. The group never missed a beat. The 50.34 the team ran Saturday to win the event was just .02 off its best time of the season.

Gardner is a strong presence as the second leg, sandwiched between Machmer and Zurich. She’s a 13-second, 100-meter sprinter with a season-best time of 13.07 in the event. And she’s been a key piece for a team which will be looking for another trip to the state meet in a couple weeks.

“It was tough to get used to. I had to get used to the chemistry between the girls,” Gardner said. “But we all get along pretty well, and that helps in passing the baton. It just kind of came naturally to us.”

Gardner was afforded the opportunity to join the team as a freshman and not be counted on for scoring a key portion of the Lancers’ team points. Zurich is a two-time state placewinner in the pole vault. Neylon is a returning state qualifier in the 100.

But Gardner has stepped into a key scoring role for Loyalsock. She, Neylon and Zurich took the top three spots in the long jump yesterday. She qualified for the two-heat final in the 100. She was a big part of the Lancers being the highest-finishing Class AA team in the annual league meet. And she’ll be a big part of Loyalsock making a run at a team title at this week’s District 4 meet at Williamsport.

“She’s been huge for us in everything she’s done,” Neylon said.

“The other girls push me and always encourage me,” Gardner said. “Their better times and their better jumps encourage me to do better.”

ATHLETE OF THE MEET: Megna Hoffman, Selinsgrove

Team standings: 1, Selinsgrove, 113; 2, Loyalsock, 85.5; 3, Mount Carmel, 53; 4, Shikellamy, 50; 5, Williamsport, 47; 6, Milton, 46.5; 7, Warrior Run, 41; t-8, Lewisburg, 32; t-8, Central Mountain, 32; 10, Danville, 29; 11, Bloomsburg, 28; 12, Jersey Shore, 26.5; t-13, Central Columbia, 25; t-13, Montoursville, 25; 15, Mifflinburg, 23.5; 16, Southern Columbia, 22.5; 17, Midd-West, 14; t-18, Hughesville, 4; t-18, Shamokin, 4; 20, South Williamsport, .5.

3,200 relay: 1, Mount Carmel, 9:36.26; 2, Selinsgrove, 9:44.13; 3, Lewisburg (Anna Batkowski, Allison Reed, Lauren Michaels, Sarah Reif), 9:46.79; 4, Mifflinburg, 9:52.21; 5, Danville, 9:52.71; 6, Warrior Run (Kylee Brouse, Cameron Trapani, Lauren Trapani, Mya Shoemaker), 10:03.47; 7, Jersey Shore (Carli McConnell, Abby Gerst, Lydia Kirkendall, Aubrey Sechrist), 10:05.09; 8, Williamsport (Mary McMahon, Kaida Muise, Lydia Smith, Hannah Haussmann), 10:20.75.

100 hurdles: 1, Leah Bergey, Milton, 15.55; 2, Kari Cambria, Southern Columbia, 15.87; 3, Kaylie Schans, Montoursville, 16.12; 4, Nicole Varano, Mount Carmel, 16.45; 5, Kassie Celnett, Selinsgrove, 16.72; 6, Madison Roth, Danville, 16.80; 7, Julia Minnicks, Danville, 16.86; 8, Anna Delbaugh, Shamokin, 16.90.

100: 1, Megan Hoffman, Selinsgrove, 12.35; 2, Katie Penman, Williamsport, 12.60; 3, Charlotte Neylon, Loyalsock, 12.92; 4, Hailey Zurich, Loyalsock, 13.03; t-5, Olivia Walter, Mifflinburg, 13.09; t-5, Olivia Kerstetter, Shikellamy, 13.09; t-7, Samyjah James, Shikellamy, 13.13; t-7, Lily Leh, Bloomsburg, 13.13.

1,600: 1, Isabel Sagar, Loyalsock, 5:09.92*; 2, Alyssa Laughner, Central Mountain, 5:22.34; 3, Nicole Keely, Shikellamy, 5:23.27; 4, Audrey Macpherson, Mifflinburg, 5:27.46; 5, Sarah Reif, Lewisburg, 5:27.60; 6, Emma Mikita, Danville, 5:29.53; 7, Marisa Maffei, Danville, 5:30.00; 8, Rainey Oldfield, Danville, 5:30.33.

400 relay: 1, Loyalsock (Erin Machmer, Sophia Gardner, Hailey Zurich, Charlotte Neylon), 50.34; 2, Williamsport (Ebony Foster, Maia Morrone, Tionna Collier, Katie Penman), 50.47; 3, Bloomsburg, 51.30; 4, Shikellamy, 51.64; 5, Danville, 52.49; t-6, Jersey Shore (Jordan O’Connor, Alison Stamm, Veronica Sander, Madison Maihle), 52.74; t-6, Southern Columbia, 52.74; 8, Hughesville (Olivia Bower, Ashlynne Eichenlaub, Kenna Ammar-Khodja, Jayden Leighow), 53.15.

400: 1, Megan Hoffman, Selinsgrove, 57.21*; 2, Katie Penman, Williamsport, 58.10; 3, Sage Harmon, Bloomsburg, 58.12; 4, Hanna Davis, Southern Columbia, 1:00.19; 5, Alexa Thrush, Bloomsburg, 1:01.46; 6, Chloe Michaels, Lewisburg, 1:01.46; 7, Lilian Poust, Selinsgrove, 1:01.62; t-8, Erin Machmer, Loyalsock, 1:02.56; t-8, Elizabeth Manning, South Williamsport, 1:02.56.

300 hurdles: 1, Nicole Varano, Mount Carmel, 45.90; 2, Leah Bergey, Milton, 46.00; 3, Kylie Schans, Montoursville, 47.46; 4, Clara Coombe, Danville, 47.78; 5, Shayla Heckman, Midd-West, 48.69; 6, Taylor Stoltzfus, Selinsgrove, 49.41; 7, Kylie Roup, Milton, 49.72; 8, Julia Minnicks, Danville, 49.76.

800: 1, Madison Crawford, Central Columbia, 2:21.09; 2, Riley Snyder, Shikellamy, 2:22.72; 3, Caroline Fletcher, 2:24.17; 4, Skylar Maurer, Selinsgrove, 2:24.45; 5, Olivia Beaver, Milton, 2:25.81; 6, Mackenzie Rodarmel, Loyalsock, 2:26.56; 7, Aubrey Sechrist, Jersey Shore, 2:27.06; 8, Katelyn Zimmerman, Milton, 2:28.54.

200: 1, Megan Hoffman, Selinsgrove, 25.21; 2, Katie Penman, Williamsport, 25.70; 3, Sage Harmon, Bloomsburg, 26.13; 4, Charlotte Neylon, Loyalsock, 26.14; 5, Julia Laubach, Mifflinburg, 26.25; 6, Tionna Collier, Williamsport, 26.51; 7, Madison Klock, Southern Columbia, 26.82; 8, Hanna Davis, Southern Columbia, 26.84.

3,200: 1, Isabel Sagar, Loyalsock, 11:05.88; 2, Cameron Trapani, Warrior Run, 11:46.03; 3, Lauren Michaels, Lewisburg, 11:52.30; 4, Hannah Mirshahi, Lewisburg, 11:57.20; 5, Alyssa Laughner, Central Mountain, 12:08.07; 6, Deana Betzer, Milton, 12:13.51; 7, Abby Gerst, Jersey Shore, 12:15.90; 8, Mary McMahon, Williamsport, 12:18.90.

1,600 relay: 1, Selinsgrove, 4:06.12; 2, Shikellamy, 4:09.74; 3, Mifflinburg, 4:11.20; 4, Mount Carmel, 4:13.54; 5, Lewisburg (Chloe Michaels, Anna Batkowski, Liz Fessler, Sarah Reif), 4:15.57; 6, Bloomsburg, 4:19.77; 7, Warrior Run (Paige Bowman, Emma Burrows, Maddie Majcher, Kierra Trivelpiece), 4:20.88; 8, Central Columbia, 4:22.0.

Shot put: 1, Piper Klinger, Selinsgrove, 38-9; 2, Kamryn Snyder, Milton, 37-1; 3, Hayden Divers, Warrior Run, 36-1 1/2; 4, Kailey Swineford, Midd-West, 35-6 1/4; 5, Alexis Krall, Milton, 33-9 1/2; 6, Sarah Kratzer, Shamokin, 33-9; 7, Kaytlyn Reitenbach, Shikellamy, 33-5; 8, Za’Imah Tutler, Lewisburg, 32-1.

Discus: 1, Piper Klinger, Selinsgrove, 154-1*; 2, Hayden Divers, Warrior Run, 119-5; 3, Jane James, Warrior Run, 119-0; 4, Hannah Swineford, Selinsgrove, 115-8; 5, Emma Butzler, Jersey Shore, 106-2; 6, Samiyah Little, Williamsport, 104-6; 7, Ashley Gaugler, Selinsgrove, 104-5; 8, Kinsey Metzger, Selinsgrove, 100-7.

Javelin: 1, Sadie McCaleb, Central Mountain, 133-7; 2, Lyndsay Malicky, Jersey Shore, 128-6; 3, Reba Lorson, Jersey Shore, 123-7; 4, JayCee Marinero, Shikellamy, 123-6; 5, Alexis Krall, Milton, 119-11; 6, Nicole Varano, Mount Carmel, 112-0; 7, Samantha Thompson, Hughesville, 110-10; 8, Payton Carl, Mount Carmel, 109-9.

Long jump: 1, Sophia Gardner, Loyalsock, 17-0; 2, Charlotte Neylon, Loyalsock, 16-8 3/4; 3, Hailey Zurich, Loyalsock, 15-10 1/2; 4, Kaylie Schans, Montoursville, 15-7; 5, Samantha Chillis, Danville, 15-7; 6, Bailey Little, Mount Carmel, 15-3; 7, Megan Kendall, Loyalsock, 15-2 3/4; 8, Chynna Curry, Shikellamy, 15-1 1/2.

Triple jump: 1, Emilee Wasilewski, Mount Carmel, 34-9 1/2; 2, Hannah Doll, Selinsgrove, 34-0 1/2; 3, Lauren O’Malley, Montoursville, 34-0; 4, Shayla Heckman, Midd-West, 33-10 1/2; 5, Madison Williard, Selinsgrove, 33-6 1/2; 6, Hannah Lewis, Williamsport, 33-1; 7, Brooke Snyder, Shikellamy, 33-0 1/2; Jayden Leighow, Hughesville, 32-10.

High jump: 1, Amelia McCloy, Central Mountain, 5-6; 2, Aleigh Heckman, Shikellamy, 5-2; 3, Madison Crawford, Central Columbia, 5-0; 4, Tessa Gill, Central Columbia, 4-10; 5, Amy Fisher, Williamsport, 4-10; 6, Erin Hilkert, Lewisburg, 4-10; t-7, Kelsey Widom, Bloomsburg, 4-10; t-7, Kaylin Scott, Milton, 4-8.

Pole vault: 1, Hailey Zurich, Loyalsock, 11-0; 2, Rylie Mong, Warrior Run, 10-6; 3, Katie Bond, Selinsgrove, 10-0; 4, Annalise Bond, Selinsgrove, 10-0; 5, Karly Renn, Southern Columbia, 10-0; 6, Addison Gemberling, Central Columbia, 9-0; 7, Rebecca Reeder, Montoursville, 9-0; 8, Jenna Devito, Milton, 9-0.

*–Denotes meet record

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