SELINSGROVE South Williamsport's Ryan Foran came around the third turn of his second lap and sprinted toward the finish line 100 meters ahead. Just prior to the finish and to its left stood an orange canopy that was an eye-catcher on a cloudy day, but Foran's vision was fixated on the clock was recording the times at Saturday's District 4 Class AA and Class AAA Championships at Susquehanna University.
As that clock came into focus and it ticked closer to 8 minutes, the junior fought a battle with his mind and body. A tiring Foran knew his team was going to win the 3,200-meter relay and advance to the PIAA Championships Friday and Saturday in Shippensburg, but that 8-minute mark kept South's anchor pushing for the finish that drew closer and closer with each stride and each tick of the clock.
Before the clock hit eight, Foran reached his destination and so did the Mounties as they finished in 7:58.09.
Dominic Gallanti lines up a pole vault Saturday at Suquehanna. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"It meant a lot to break that (8-minute) barrier," Foran said. "We are a double-A school and for all of us to step up like that was great."
Dakota Rosenberg led off the relay before handing off to the lone senior on the relay Andrew Gipe. Gipe, who came out for track for the first time this year, turned the race over to sophomore Griffin Molino before Foran took the baton and chased the 8-minute barrier.
"I was hurting, but when you see the clock you just give everything you have," Foran said.
The top two finishers and those among the top eight that reached the state qualifying time or distance all advanced to the PIAA Championships from the boys and girls Class AA meets.
Montoursville's Matt Krezmer not only reached the state qualifying mark in the javelin, the senior added to his school record with a throw of 204 feet, 9 inches. Krezmer was one of three throwers to reach the state qualifying mark of 176, joining Lewisburg's Brandon Smith and Montgomery's Colton Harer.
Smith nearly took the district title from the top seed with a throw of 197-1 on his last attempt. Krezmer didn't allow it to stand for long, however, as he quickly approached the runway and let fly a throw that didn't land until it reached beyond 200 feet.
"I was nervous after Brandon threw his 197, but I knew I just needed one big one," Krezmer said. "That really helped push me to get that 204."
Other local boys Class AA winners included Lewisburg's Udoka Eze (long and triple jumps) and Sean Walker (1,600) and Montgomery's Dominick Galanti (pole vault).
Southern Columbia won the boys team title with 83 points, while Lewisburg was second with 65 .
The Montoursville girls won a second consecutive district title with 125 points, 52 better than second-place Central Columbia. The Warriors cemented their team championship by winning the 1,600-meter relay.
Kirsten O'Malley (400), Teri Stoner (100 hurdles), Jordan Long (discus) and Kaylee Caruso (long and triple jumps) were individual winners for the Warriors.
Warrior Run's Steph Shamburg continued to gain momentum late in the season by winning the javelin. The junior, who won a PHAC Championship last week, threw a personal best 127-5 to secure a berth to the state meet.
"Last week gave me a boost and I knew coming into this week I just had to perform my best and there was nothing to lose," Shamburg said. "I just had to go out and throw my best knowing states was just around the corner if I get it."
Shamburg set a new personal best by 8 feet. Her seeding distance was 119-1.
"After that I just wanted to keep throwing and I'm ready for states now," said Shamburg, who grew up as a softball catcher before trying track and field in high school.
Traditional state qualifiers Lewisburg and Montoursville finished 1-2 in the girls Class AA 3,200-meter relay. The Warriors continued to drop significant time, but were still 3 seconds behind the frontrunner Green Dragons (9:34.33).
Montgomery's Allyssa Hitesman won the shot put with a throw of 33-9 and her teammate Kiana Gough responded from a difficult week where she didn't clear a height at the PHAC Championships to win the pole vault title at 10-6.
Milton's Joselyn Pascual won the high jump at 5-6 and Lewisburg's Jenna Farmer the 800 to round out the local winners.