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D9 Class 3A Track and Field Preview: Bradford’s Eakin brings big arm to Brookville

BROOKVILLE — For the first time in awhile, it’ll be a combined meet for Class 2A and 3A and the District 9 Track and Field Championships when the entire district convenes Friday at Brookville.

Bradford senior John Eakin (pictured above) has the best throw in the state in the shot put this year.

Here is the time schedule for Friday’s combined meet.

Here’s the breakdown of how things look in Class 3A:


Teams: Bradford, Clearfield, DuBois, Punxsutawney. St. Marys is Class 2A. With 18 of the last 19 team titles since 1999, expect the Owls to run away with things again. They have nine of the 18 top seeds.

To qualify for states: Champions in each event plus any state-qualifying performance marks earn a trip to the PIAA Championships at Shippensburg University May 25-26. Bradford’s John Eakin (see below) is one of just two D9 3A boys to reach a SQS during the season.

The athletes: Clearly, the main man to watch in Class 3A boys is Bradford senior John Eakin, who has the top throw this year … in the state for Class 3A at 62 feet, 6 inches. That’s six feet better than Selinsgrove’s Keith Dreese, so districts is just a start for Eakin who owns just two D9 crowns in his career, last year’s shot put (55 feet, 1 inch) and the 100-meter dash title as a freshman. He’s headed to Slippery Rock University this fall to play football.

Eakin is also the top seed by over 13 feet in the discus at 144 feet, 7 inches, but he’ll have work to do for him to be a factor at states in that event. The SQS mark is 153 feet.

Eakin is one of seven returning district champions, which include teammates Logan Caruso (1,600- and 3,200-meter runs), Jaron Ambrose (300 hurdles) and Michael Bosworth (400 dash), and Clearfield’s Taye Lynch (triple jump) and Punxsutawney’s Matthew Wehrle (800 run), who tries to win his third straight crown in the event.

Top seeds, notes by event:

4×800 relay: Punxsutawney. Heavy favorite, seeded by nearly 12 seconds faster over No. 2 Bradford.

110 hurdles: Bayden Lyle, Jr., Punxsutawney. He’s the top seed at 15.34, but Bradford’s Jaron Ambrose (15.5) and Matthew Stafford (15.51) could challenge.

100 dash: Ken Garvey, Sr., DuBois. Garvey ran a SQS seeded time of 11.1 seconds, the actual mark needed for an automatic berth. He may be pushed by senior teammate Kyle Hopson, who’s seeded second at 11.2. They’re the only runners under 11.5.

1,600 run: Logan Caruso, Sr., Bradford. He’s looking for his third title after sweeping the 1,600 and 3,200s as a freshman and last year as a junior. He’s the top seed at 4:34.24, over 13 seconds faster than No. 2 seed Andrew Wehrle of Punxsutawney.

4×100 relay: Bradford. The Owls could be pushed by Punxsutawney. They’re the only two teams under 45 seconds, at 44.24 and 44.44.

400 dash: Michael Bosworth, Soph., Bradford. He and Clearfield’s No. 2 seed Trevor Frank are the only runners seeded under 54 seconds at 53.27 and 53.54 seconds respectively.

300 hurdles: Jaron Ambrose, Jr., Bradford. He could be pushed by teammate and No. 2 seed Matthew Stafford. They’re the only two seeds under 43 seconds at 41.14 and 41.54 seconds.

800 run: Matthew Wehrle, Sr., Punxsutawney. After finishing last in the 800 as a freshman, he’s been the best and he’s heavily favored over his sophomore brother Andrew, who is the No. 2 seed at 2:06.14. Matthew’s 1:57.98 has him close to the SQS of 1:57.32.

200 dash: Matthew Stafford, Jr., Bradford. He’s top-seeded at 22.94. Punxsutawney’s Antonio Stello (23.25) and DuBois’ Garvey (23.71) are nearby.

3,200 run: Owen Bartlebaugh, Soph., Punxsutawney. He’s seeded at 9:58.44, significantly better than Bradford’s Caruso’s season-best time of 10:21.1. The defending champion Caruso hasn’t run a sub-10 since his trip to states in 2015.

4×400 relay: Bradford. Solid favorite, seeded by nearly five seconds faster than Punxsutawney at 3:34.94 to 3:39.74. Nobody else is under 3:41.

Pole vault: Steven Kellam, Fr., Bradford. He’s the only one who’s gotten over 12 feet, 6 inches this year. Sophomore teammate Derek Sunafrank is the only one over 12 feet.

High jump: Jordan Meinert, Jr., DuBois. He’s top-seeded at 6 feet. Punxsutawney’s Ethan Presloid and Clearfield’s Taye Lynch have cleared a season-best 5-10.

Long jump: Jordan Meinart, Jr., DuBois. He’s the only jumper over 20 feet this year, seeded at 20 feet, 3 inches. Clearfield’s Logan Firanski (19-10.5) and Punxsutawney’s Lyle (19-6.25) are nearby.

Triple jump: Taye Lynch, Jr., Clearfield. He’s the heavy favorite, seeded at 44 feet, 5 inches, not far from the SQS of 45 feet. No other jumper has gotten over 40 feet this year.

Shot put: John Eakin, Sr., Bradford. To put in perspective, Eakin’s 62-6, if he threw that at states last year, he would’ve finished … second … by almost nine feet. Knoch senior Jordan Geist won with a toss of 71 feet, 4 1/2 inches. Geist, a likely future Olympian, is already dominating in the college ranks at the University of Arizona. Nobody aside from Geist has thrown a 60-plus at states in Class 3A since 2009.

Discus: John Eakin, Sr., Bradford. As stated above, he’s the heavy favorite here as well at 144 feet, 7 inches. Senior teammate Ryan Whittemore is the No. 2 seed at 131-6.

Javelin: Riley Barnett, Sr., DuBois. He’s the top seed at 161 feet, 3 inches, slightly ahead of Clearfield’s Grady Yarger at 159-7.


Teams: Bradford, Clearfield, DuBois, St. Marys. Punxsutawney is Class 2A. Bradford is the defending champion, DuBois has won eight of the last 10 team titles, but St. Marys, with big-time depth in the track events, gets the nod as favorites. It’s believed that the Lady Dutch have never won a team track title.

To qualify for states: Same as the 3A boys. Champions in each event plus any state-qualifying performance marks earn a trip to the PIAA Championships at Shippensburg University May 25-26. The only athlete to reach a SQS going into districts is St. Marys’ Amanda Foster in the 1,600 run.

The athletes: Bradford senior Ashton McGriff heads to her final district meet already with eight individual titles in hand, including three in the 200 and 400 dashes, and one each in the 100 dash and triple jump. She won’t be gunning for a fourth 400 title, but is the top seed in the 200, triple jump and 300 hurdles. She’ll likely run a leg on the top-seeded 4×400 relay.

Foster seeks her third title in the 1,600 and is also out to defend her 800 run title as well. Her teammate Arianna Kleppinger is gunning for her third straight 100 dash crown.

In all, 11 of the 15 individual events have returning champions. Others include DuBois’ Jerica Fischer in the high jump, Bradford’s Regan Johnson in the long jump, Bradford’s Abby Coffman in the shot put and DuBois’ Crystal Clinger in discus.

Top seeds, notes by event:

4×800 relay: St. Marys. The heavily-favored Lady Dutch’s best time of 9:49.8 is almost 41 seconds faster than second-seeded DuBois.

100 hurdles: Maddison King, Sr., DuBois. She holds a slight edge in seeding time over No. 2 seed Summer Herring of St. Marys, 16.64 to 16.83.

100 dash: Arianna Kleppinger, Sr., St. Marys. Her best time of 12.52 is just off the SQS time of 12.5. Two others come in under 13 seconds, Bradford’s Regan Johnson at 12.74 and DuBois’ Reese Sayers at 12.84.

1,600 run: Amanda Foster, Sr., St. Marys. Her 5:06.95 seeded time is comfortably under the SQS mark of 5:10 and nearly 31 seconds faster than No. 2 seed and teammate Samantha Hayes. St. Marys’ Kyla Johnson is the third seed.

4×100 relay: Bradford. The Lady Owls come in at 52.04 with DuBois (52.9) and St. Marys (52.93) nearby.

400 dash: Emily Bosworth, Fr., Bradford. She’s the top seed at 1:01.4 and the only one under 1:02.5 with three St. Marys runners — Tessa Grotzinger, Samantha Hayes and Megan Quesenberry.

300 hurdles: Ashton McGriff, Sr. Bradford. She’s not far off the SQS time in an event she’s never run in the postseason with DuBois’ No. 2 seed Reese Sayers nearby as her top threat.

800 run: Amanda Foster, Sr., St. Marys. She’s heavily favored just outside the SQS time, with a seeded time over 10 seconds faster than No. 2 seed and teammate Tessa Grotzinger.

200 dash: Ashton McGriff, Sr., Bradford. She’s just off the SQS of 25.91 at 25.94 with No. 2-3 seeds Arianna Kleppinger of St. Marys and Regan Johnson of Bradford under 26.5.

3,200 run: Kyla Johnson, Fr., St. Marys. She’s the heavy favorite at 11:42.49, almost 47 seconds faster than No. 2 seed and teammate Lucy Anthony.

4×400 relay: Bradford. The Lady Owls at 4:10.67 are nearly three seconds faster than No. 2 seed Clearfield. St. Marys is third at 4:16.01.

Pole Vault: Alexis Huber, Jr., Bradford. She’s the only one who’s cleared 9 feet this year. St. Marys’ Amber Schauer and Sierra Nunamaker, and DuBois’ Marissa King have cleared 8-6.

High jump: Jerica Fischer, Sr., DuBois. She’s the only one over 5 feet at 5 feet, 1 inch. No. 2 seed Mikayla Bond of Bradford has cleared a season-best 4-10.

Long jump: Reese Sayers, Sr., DuBois. At 17 feet, 1/2 inch as her season-best jump, he’s only a quarter-inch better than No. 2 seed Regan Johnson of Bradford, so it’ll likely be a two-girl battle with no other jumper over 16 feet this year.

Triple jump: Ashton McGriff, Sr., Bradford. Seeded at 34 feet, 7 inches, she’ll try to win her second TJ crown. No. 2 seed Sierra Nunamaker of St. Marys, at 34-3.5, is the only other jumper over 33 feet.

Shot put: Abby Coffman, Sr., Bradford. The defending champion is seeded at 36 feet, 1 inch with No. 2 seed Crystal Clinger of DuBois the only other putter over 34 feet nearby at 35-7.75.

Discus: Crystal Clinger, Sr., DuBois. The defending champion isn’t far under the SQS (118-0) with a seeded throw of 116 feet, 5 inches. She’s over 11 feet ahead of No. 2 seed and teammate Courtney Clinger with another DuBois thrower, Gabby Snyder, at No. 3. They’re the only ones over 100 feet this year.

Javelin: Abby Coffman, Sr., Bradford. Coffman is seeded at 110 feet, 3 inches. The only other thrower over 100 feet is No. 2 seed Catlin Drahushak of DuBois at 107-4.