Fetter, King, Moreau, Cohen, Jacobs grab gold
Before last night, Samantha Fetter only dreamed about standing on the top of the podium at big track meets.
Fetter's dream came true Thursday during the WPIAL Class AAA Track and Field Championships at Baldwin High School Stadium.
The Hempfield Area sophomore won the discus title with a personal best 121 feet, 10 inches. And that winning throw couldn't have come at a better time -- the finals.
"It's an honor to be No. 1," Fetter said. "To be honest with you, I never expected to win. I expected to place third.
"But my coach (David Murray) helped me out a lot. He told me what I was doing wrong. It felt great standing at the top of the podium. I've never won a big meet before."
Fetter was still on cloud nine when she competed in the shot put later in the day, and because of that, she lost her focus.
"I'm happy I won the discus, but bummed that I didn't do well in the shot put," Fetter said.
The meet also had its surprises and disappointments for district athletes.
Other surprise winners included Kenny King of Connellsville Area in the 800-meter run and Kristen Moreau of Indiana Area in the pole vault.
King, a senior, used a strong kick down the stretch to overtake four runners and win the 800 with a time of 1:55.10, a personal best.
"When I looked up I saw them when I came around then final bend, I told myself that I can catch them," King said. "I just took off. I don't know where I got that second wind."
King said he was surprised that he won. His goal was just to qualify for the state meet.
Moreau called her performance awesome.
"This is the best," Moreau said. "I was determined to come here and take home a gold medal. It took a lot of mental preparation."
Moreau won the pole vault with a leap of 11 feet. It was a good day for the Indiana vaulters. Alec Rice finished second with a jump of 14-3.
"Our jumpers had a very good day," Indiana coach Pat Snyder said. "I expected them both to do well. I'm not surprised that Kristen won."
Other district winners were Andrew Cohen of Franklin Regional in the discus, Breehana Jacobs of Uniontown Area in the 100 and Bev Rogers of Ringgold in the javelin. Rogers' winning throw of 141-5 was a new meet record.
Cohen, who is deaf, defended his title in the discus with a throw of 175 feet. It was his best throw in competition. The winning toss came on his first throw in the finals.
"I don't want to brag," Cohen said. "I know what it feels like to lose. It hurts a lot.
"It's nice to win again. I just did my best. This year's there is a lot of good competition."
Cohen also is the returning PIAA champion in the discus. He has his goal set at the state record and going over 200 feet.
Paul Beard, a junior high and high school track coach at Franklin Regional, surprised Cohen by showing up at yesterday's meet.
"I thought I'd show up and give him some support," Beard said. "I surprised him. Andrew is capable of throwing 200 feet. He's thrown 190 in practice before."
Jacobs, a freshman, qualified for states in four events. She won the 100, finished second in the 200, third in the long jump and was the anchor runner in the 400-meter relay that placed fourth.
"I was a little nervous in the preliminaries," Jacobs said. "It was the first time since year that I lost a race. It made me mad. My coach (Bob Manges) did a great job settling me down and getting me focused for the finals."
Caitlin Hewitt, a sophomore at Greater Latrobe, didn't win an event, but she did qualify for states in three events. She placed third in the 400, fifth in the pole vault and was the anchor runner on the 1,600-meter relay team that placed fifth.
Hewitt has been bothered by a shin injury, which forced her to miss practice this past week.
"Not practicing probably hurt me here, but it should help me in the long run," Hewitt said. "I couldn't practice because I was so sore."
Hewitt said she was satisfied with her race in the 400 but not pleased with her performances in the pole vault and long jump. She finished eighth in the long jump and failed to qualify for states.
"Hopefully, I'll do better next week," Hewitt said. "I'm hoping the rest the past week helps me."