SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Laiyla Russell had one thought on her mind this year at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.
Last year was not a good experience for the Cranberry junior.
“I just remember I came here last year and I ran the prelims and did horrible and was crying about it,” Russell said.
The only tears Saturday were of joy.
Russell left Shippensburg University with two medals — a bronze in the Class 2A triple jump and a sixth place one in the 100-meter dash.
“Definitely a little bit of redemption,” Russell said. “For sure.”
In the morning, Russell finished the 100 in 13 seconds to snag her sixth-place finish.
At the District 9 meet last week, she was edged at the finish line by Union/A-C Valley’s Baylee Blauser.
She wanted to bounce back from that disappointment at the state meet.
She did, but was still a bit down about her time.
“We definitely felt a little slow,” Russell said of the race that featured times that were worse than the prelims on Friday. “I don’t know what was going on with that — maybe it but just nerves. But I haven’t ran a 13 since the 10th grade. I definitely could have done better, but I’m always wanting to do better. I think I’m going to be back next year for sure.”
Russell saved her most clutch performance for the triple jump.
She struggled on her first two jumps, but made her final one in her flight count, qualifying for the finals.
On her final jump of the afternoon, she hit 37 feet, 2 1/4 inches to secure third place.
That mark is also a school record.
“Honestly, I just thought about keeping calm, staying calm listening to coach,” Russell said. “I think I was in my head a little bit about where my steps were.”
Once she got that ironed out, she was confident.
Last year, Russell’s older brother Cameron also placed third in the Class 2A triple jump at the state meet.
“I’m just glad to follow in his footsteps and to be here and to do triple jump,” Russell said. “And to get third is an amazing feeling.
“I learned a lot from him,” she added. “He texted me today to wish me good luck. He gave me a little bit of motivation to do really good today.”
Brookville’s Ian Pete returned home with a lot of bling.
Pete finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in Class 2A with a time of 39.98 and ran legs on the 400 relay with Brayden Kunselman, Jack Pete and Hunter Geer that ran a 43.54 to place fifth, and the 1,600 relay with Jack Gill, Jack Pete, and Geer that finished eighth at 3:30.94.
For complete results from the weekend, click here