CLARION, Pa. – As the decade of the 2010s ends, we take a look back at the top track and field performances in District 9 from the decade at the PIAA meet.
(Photo of Brookville’s Lanae Newsome jumping when she was at Ole Miss. Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics)
As with any such list, debates are sure to ensue and are in fact welcomed.
10. BROOKE HINDERLITER, REDBANK VALLEY
Redbank Valley’s Brooke Hinderliter won the PIAA Class 2A championship in the javelin in 2015, one of three District 9 girls’ athletes to win the Class 2A javelin throw during the decade.
But Hinderliter’s throw was more than just the best throw of 2015, it was the best throw from 2011 through 2019 and was over 20 feet longer than the championship-winning throw in 2019 by Johnsonburg’s Skylar Sherry. In fact. Hinderliter’s throw of 158 feet, 9 inches is the second-longest throw of any girl athlete in the javelin in the entire decade.
9. RYAN THRUSH, BROOKVILLE
One PIAA title wasn’t enough for Brookville’s Ryan Thrush.
After winning the Class 2A boys’ title in the 400-meter dash in 2016 in a time of 48.71 seconds, Thrush decided that twice was nice repeating as the Class 2A boys’ 400 champion in 2017 in a faster time of 48.18 seconds.
8. JOHN EAKIN, BRADFORD
The Class 3A meet isn’t usually a friendly one for District 9 athletes, but Bradford’s John Eakin didn’t allow that to get in his head.
Eakin won the 2018 shot put by over a foot – 58-feet, 10 ¾ inches – over Somerset Area’s Nickolas Hyde (57-7 ¾) to take home the lone Class 3A state title of the decade for District 9.
7. ADAIR GENNOCRO, ST. MARYS
In the early part of the decade, St. Marys’ Adair Gennocro was one of the premier long-distance runners – boy or girl – in District 9.
Not only did she turn in three top-three finishes in cross country including winning the Class 2A state title in 2012, she was the dominant Class 2A girls’ 3,200-runner in both 2012 and 2013.
In 2012, as a junior, she won the PIAA Class 2A 3,200 championship by over 11 seconds winning in a time of 10:36.62. The following season, in 2013 as a senior, she repeated the feat in a much closer race (three seconds) turning in a time of 10:37.90.
6. PATRICK ANDERSON, KANE
Kane has been long known for its pole vaulters, and Patrick Anderson was the best of the group winning back-to-back PIAA Class 2A titles in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, his vault of 15-feet, 11-inches was so dominating no one came within a foot of him with the second-place vaulter going over the bar at 14-6.
Anderson wasn’t fooling around repeating the feat a year later with another jump of 15-11 with again the second-best competitor clearing the bar at 14-6.
5. MEGAN DORNISH, ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
In the early part of the decade, Elk County Catholic’s Megan Dornish was the premier thrower in District 9 and won three PIAA gold medals to prove it.
In 2010, Dornish helped District 9 take two of the top three spots in the girls’ Class 2A shot put tossing a winning throw of 45-feet, 8 ¼ inches, nearly three feet farther than the second-place finisher.
The next season, Dornish made it two golds in two seasons in the shot put this time going four-and-half feet farther than her nearest competition (44-8 to 40-1 ¼).
Dornish wasn’t satisfied with one state title in 2011, though, as she also took home the discus championship with a throw of 141-3, which bested second place by over four feet.
4. KENNEDY WEISNER, ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
As the decade started to hit the midway point, ECC’s Kennedy Weisner continued the strong tradition of long-distance runners from Elk County.
Winning a total of four PIAA Class 2A girls titles, Weisner was a double-winner in both 2013 and 2014 taking home gold in both the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run in both seasons.
In 2013, she edged Trinity’s Shannon Quinn at the tape in the 800, winning in a time of 2:13.27 compared to Quinn’s 2:13.66.
The same season in the 1,600 she battled fellow D9 runner Gennocro for the title keeping the St. Marys senior from a dual-title that season by winning the race in a time of 5:01.14 to Gennocro’s 5:06.38.
As a senior in 2014, Weisner repeated as a double-winner
Again in the 800, it was her and Quinn, but unlike the year before this race wasn’t quite as close with Weisner winning 2:09.46 to 2:13.38.
With Gennocro graduated, the 1,600 was all Weinser as her winning time of 4:45.99 was nearly nine seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
3. MICHAEL SHUEY, JOHNSONBURG
Michael Shuey of Johnsonburg won the PIAA title in the boys’ Class 2A javelin in 2012 with a toss of 200-feet, 1-inch, just under two feet farther than the second-place thrower.
That throw was just the start for Shuey, who has turned into one of the top javelin throwers in the nation.
At Penn State University, Shuey won a pair of Big Ten titles and set the Penn State school record in the event. He is the reigning United States champion in the event having won the U.S. national champion in July and is ranked as the No. 28 javelin thrower in the world. He just missed medaling at the 2019 Pan American game in Peru, taking fourth, and he finished 11th at the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
If Shuey can maintain his No. 28 world ranking, he would qualify for the 2020 Olympics with the top 32 throwers in the world being chosen for the games.
2. KALIL SLAUGHTER, SHEFFIELD
Sheffield’s Kalil Slaughter did the almost unthinkable for a District 9 athlete, he swept the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash at the 2012 Class 2A boys’ championships.
Slaughter outran West Middlesex’s Clay Allen in both races winning the 100 in a time of 10.85 and the 200 in a PIAA meet-record time of 21.78
1. LANAE NEWSOME, BROOKVILLE
Lanae Newsome of Brookville owns four PIAA championship including winning the triple jump in three straight season – 2011-13 – while also taking home the long jump title in 2013.
Her most impressive PIAA title may have come in the triple jump in 2012 when she needed a state-meet record jump of 40-feet, 3 ½-inches to claim the title over Richland’s Paige Lumley, who also went over 40 feet at 40-1 ¾. Newsome’s jump that year still stands as the meet record.
Newsome won her first PIAA gold in the triple jump as a sophomore when she went 38-3 ½ to beat Lumley by just under a foot (37-4).
Then in 2013, with Lumley having graduated, Newsome outjumped fellow D9er Gabbi Benninger of Johnsonburg 39-6 ¾ to 36-9 ½ to win her third consecutive gold medal in the event.
Newsome’s victory in 2013 in the long jump came with a leap of 18-1 ¾.