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D9 Track and Field Championships

TRIPLE CROWNS: Redbank Valley’s Mylee Harmon Caps Adventurous and Soggy Day at District 9 Track and Field Championships With Three Golds and a Silver

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Mylee Harmon was once a gymnast long ago. In another time. In another life.

She could tumble and roll with the best of them.

Harmon gave all that up in the sixth grade for basketball and later track and field. But those skills came in handy during the Redbank Valley junior’s successful — and rather adventurous — day at the District 9 Track and Field Championships at Brookville High School on soggy Friday.

Harmon was cruising down the straightaway in the 300-meter hurdles when her foot clipped a hurdle. Harmon fell forward, but went into a full tuck and roll, springing to her feet to finish the final 50 meters and win the event despite the mishap.

(Pictured above, Mylee Harmon)

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Union/A-C Valley girls track and field coach Stacey Fox, “and that was the most athletic thing I’ve ever seen.”

Harmon still finished with a time of 48.17 seconds, a half-second better than second-place finisher Sami Straub of Elk County Catholic.

Harmon has only been running the event for a little more than a month.

She had never clipped a hurdle before.

“I thought it was never gonna happen to me,” Harmon said, smiling. “But if it was going to happen, I’d rather it not happen at states.”

Harmon said the fall is just a blur. She wasn’t even sure how she got back on her feet to finish. But she did.

“My gymnastic skills came back to help me,” she said, laughing. “My first instinct was to get up. There really wasn’t any other choice. I didn’t know how close the girls were behind me. When I crossed the finish line, I just had a whole lot of emotions. Embarrassment. Hurt. But I was just glad I won.”

Harmon won — a lot — on Friday.

She left with quite the medal haul, claiming firsts in the 300 hurdles, the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. She was also second in the long jump, just an inch behind winner Hannah Ithen of Union/A-C Valley.

Harmon has only competed in the long jump for two weeks.

She qualified for the PIAA Track and Field Championships, which begin Friday, in all four events.

“It was a lot for me to decide for this because I had six events to choose from and a lot of pressure because I wanted to pick the best ones,” Harmon said.

Harmon, who won the state championship in the 400-meter dash as a freshman two years ago and was fourth in the event last year in Shippensburg, shelved that event this year for the district meet.

Instead, she focused on the familiar 100 and 200 and add the 300 hurdles and long jump to her quest for four district golds.

She almost got all four.

Harmon ran a time of 12.54 seconds in the driving rain in the 100 to claim the gold. She followed that up with a 26.07 in the 200 for that title.

She was second in the long jump at 16 feet, 5 inches. Ithen jumped 16-6 on her first attempt to win.

Harmon was so green in that event, she thought marks achieved in the preliminaries didn’t carry over to the finals. They do.

“I beat myself up pretty hard over anything other than a first,” Harmon said. “But it’s only been two weeks since I’ve been doing this, so I’m not gonna be too hard on myself. I wanted to win, but I can work on it more for next year.”

Harmon said she still has some mixed feelings about not running the 400.

But she said these four events were her best chance to win district crowns and do well at the state meet.

“I was talking to a girl here, and she was like, ‘I thought you’d run the 400 all your life,’” Harmon said. “Things change, I guess.”

Other highlights from the Class 2A girls meet:


Ithen, who edged Harmon for the long jump title in Class 2A, did so under a bit of adversity.

First was the weather. Second was her aching legs.

Still, Ithen found a way to grind out a gold in just her second year competing in track and field.

“This past week, my legs have been really bad,” Ithen said. “They’re getting to where they were last year with the shins and the calves and the hamstrings. So, honestly, this week I didn’t practice much. I did a few landings in the pit. Other than that, I just went with the trainer.”

Ithen powered through, hitting her winning distance of 16-6 on her first attempt.

She came into the meet with the best jump by far by anyone in the field at 18-10½. Ithen has been chasing that number again since.

“I did have 17s a couple of times,” Ithen said. “I’ve been in the high 16s and 17s.I know I have it me, it’s just a matter of going out and doing it.”

That may mean nursing those legs again this week leading into the state meet.

Ithen was fifth last year in the long jump at the D9 championships. Then, she was just scratching the surface on what she could in her first season.

Ithen, who was also third in the triple jump on Friday, said she has come far in one year.

“Last year, getting a 16-6 — I would have been so excited,” she said. “But I said last year, ‘Next year, you are going to make it to states. I reached my first goal, which was to make it to states. Now my next goal is to get a medal.”


North Clarion’s Brenna Armstrong has had her sights set on a District 9 championship in the shot put since the first time she stepped into the circle.

The junior, who attends Clarion Area High School, accomplished that feat on Friday with a throw of 36 feet, 1 inch.

“This means a lot to me,” Armstrong said. “I have been trying to achieve this since freshman year. I’m excited to continue to work to get better and defend the title next year.”

Armstrong was also third in the discus.


Ayanna Ferringer is known for her powerful right arm on the volleyball court for Cranberry.

But the senior showed off the strength in that arm while throwing the javelin, winning the D9 crown with a personal record throw of 125 feet, 3 inches.

(Ayanna Ferringer)

Ferringer came in seeded third behind Tori Newton of Elk County Catholic and Mary Grusky of Punxsutawney, but uncorked her winning throw on her last attempt of the competition.

“It’s crazy,” Ferringer said, smile beaming. “It was a PR in the rain, so I wasn’t really expecting it. But it was definitely really cool.”

Grusky was hobbled during the event, which affected her greatly. She still finished second behind Ferringer.

“I felt bad because she got hurt. She had to scratch, but she handled it really well and she still gets to go to state.”

Grusky approached Ferringer after the medal presentation and posed for a picture with her. She told Ferringer, “We gotta represent D9 at states.”

Ferringer is happy to do just that in her last year of throwing.

She said she had thought about winning a D9 crown, but wasn’t sure how realistic that was because volleyball was her primary focus.

“I didn’t honestly think I could attain this,” Ferringer said. “It’s pretty cool to be here. My goal for the state meet is to just go and have fun, hopefully get my PR and maybe get the school record.”

That mark is 127.

“That would be really cool,” she said. “With volleyball, track is sometimes on the back burner. That would be a great way to end my senior year and go out.”

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