Hempfield senior Holmberg's school-record triple jump highlights opening day of PIAA track
SHIPPENSBURG — Gabby Holmberg finished her high school career with many wonderful memories from the PIAA track and field championships.
The Hempfield senior ended her career Friday on a high note: a third-place medal in the Class AAA triple jump, and she did it by breaking her school record (38-41⁄2) with a leap 38 feet, 81⁄2. Perkiomen Valley's Christina Warren won with a jump of 39-93⁄4.
“This feels awesome. I was just hoping to make the finals,” Holmberg said. “Once I got into the finals, I was hoping just to place.
“It blew my mind that I was seeded second going into the finals. I worked hard on my second phase with my coach this past week, and it paid off.”
This was Holmberg's first individual medal at states. She was on the winning 400-meter relay team as a freshman (2014) and was part of the state championship team.
“My freshman year was my fondest memory here,” Holmberg said. “But earning my first individual medal would be next.”
Holmberg also competed in the 300 hurdles and finished third in her heat.
“I messed up on the second hurdle, and I didn't run well,” Holmberg said. “I don't know what really happened. I had a good week of practice and I expected to do well, maybe a personal best.”
Despite not qualifying for the 300 hurdle finals, Holmberg was pleased.
When Hempfield senior Samantha Orie was attempting her final shot put throw of her high school career she was hoping for a personal best.
But the shot put slipped off her left hand and came up shorter than she wanted.
Orie placed third with a throw of 42-23⁄4.
“I'm a little disappointed,” Orie said. “I was hoping for second place and another personal best.”
Berwick junior Payden Montana finished first with a toss of 47-3. Greencastle-Antrim's Jenay Faulkner was second with a toss of 42-43⁄4.
Orie, who has an appointment to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, will compete in the discus Saturday. She is seeded 19th with a throw of 122-1. She would like to throw more than 130.
Hempfield junior Molly DeBone will return with a fifth-place medal in the pole vault. She cleared 12 feet and just missed 12-6.
“Clearing 12 feet was a goal that I hadn't reached since I cleared 12-6 earlier this year,” DeBone said. “So, I'm happy that I medaled. Just missing 12-6 will give me motivation to work harder in the offseason.”
DeBone will compete in the long jump during Day 2.
Derry senior Zach Baum surprised himself by placing fourth in the Class AA javelin with a throw of 188-1, the second farthest of his career. His best throw of 192-1 came at the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association meet last month.
“I definitely didn't expect to place fourth,” said Baum, a record-setting swimmer at Derry. “Swimming actually got me ready for track season. I was just hoping to place. Today was great.”
Baum's teammate Shawn Broadway qualified to run in the 110 and 300 hurdles on Day 2.
Penn-Trafford senior Nick Wagner advanced to the 800 finals with the fourth-fastest time of 1 minutes, 55.91 seconds.
The Greensburg Salem boys 3,200 relay team ran the fifth-fastest time in the trials and advanced to the finals along with top seed Seneca Valley and Franklin Regional, which finished sixth.
Also advancing to the Class AAA 100 hurdles semifinals were Hempfield junior Bailey Traczynski, who was third in her heat, and Norwin sophomore Emily Brozeski.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior Moira O'Shea made it to the Class AA girls 1,600 finals.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.