SHIPPENSBURG – Leaving the PIAA Track & Field Championships with two medals was not good enough for California High School senior Kailyn Clancy.
She also wanted a personal best.
Clancy, who is headed to Iowa State this fall, repeated as the PIAA Class AA shot put champion with a throw of 45-6 ¾ inches Saturday at Shippensburg University. The gold medal came one day after she took sixth place in the discus, which she did not medal in last year after fouling on all three attempts.
The senior came a toe-length away from setting a personal record on her first throw of the shot put yesterday. Clancy wound up for a textbook put that soared close to 50 feet, but her toe touched the top of the floor board for a foul.
“I got really mad about that, but there’s nothing I can do,” Clancy said. “I know it was farther than my best throw.”
Clancy’s college recruitment gained traction last month when she took first place in the shot at the prestigious Penn Relays. She admits she was unaware of how big the meet is, as athletes travel from across the East Coast to compete.
The legend of Clancy’s throwing prowess began in 2011, when Clancy decided to give track a try. Her older sister, Kadie, encouraged her to join the Trojans’ team. Kailyn did not know what a shot put looked like, but she learned on the job and began her ascension as the best in the state last year, when her throw of 40-11 ¼ won PIAA gold.
“I definitely wanted to take first again this year in the shot put,” Clancy said. “I wanted a better throw, but I guess it was good enough to win.”
The top-three medalists in the shot came from the WPIAL as Chartiers-Houston senior Addy Knetzer took second with a put of 42-4 ¾ and Burrell freshman Lizzie Weimer tied for third with a distance of 40-11 ¾ inches.
Knetzer, who remembers throwing 30 feet as a freshman, credits Clancy’s success as a driving factor in her improvement.
“She is so good and to have her in the WPIAL with me, she is not necessarily pushing me, but I’m trying to catch up to her,” Knetzer said. “It’s tough that I couldn’t beat her today, but I’m happy to be here today. She has made me better. If it weren’t for her, I may not be as good as I am now.”
Hilverding medals in 3200
Waynesburg junior Sean Hilverding overcame a sinus infection to take fourth place in the Class AA 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:33.47.
The time is a personal record for Hilverding, who was the Raiders’ lone athlete in Shippensburg this weekend.
“I told myself that they’d have to drag me off the track and they did,” Hilverding said. “My side was hurting, and my body was starting to shut down toward the end, but I kept pushing and had to take the final 50 meters.”
South Fayette junior Mitch Valko took fifth place in the Class AAA 300 hurdles behind Montae Nicholson of Gateway. Valko defeated Nicholson in the semifinals, but finished with a time of 14.67.
“I wrecked all of the hurdles,” Valko said. “I almost kissed the ground on the third one and had to make up from there.”
Rideout takes fifth in shot put
One day after taking third place in the discus, Canon-McMillan senior Alec Rideout took fifth place in the Class AAA shot with a put of 56-0 ¾.
Rideout fouled on his third throw of the preliminary round and his second in the finals.
“My chin was low and I was leaning downward,” Rideout said. “I count that as lazy, because I drill that constantly. There are no excuses.”
Other local athletes competing Saturday included Natalie Hilton of South Fayette, who took ninth in the Class AA 3,200 run, and Koryn Jozwiakowski of Fort Cherry, who placed 14th in the Class AA triple jump. Wash High boys finished sixth in the Class AA team standings.