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D9 Track and Field Championships

U/A-C’s Smith Soars to High Jump Title; C-L’s Hummel Claims Javelin Crown as Field Athletes Have Big Day at D9 Boys Championships

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT/D9) — As Hayden Smith took a deep breath and got ready to begin his approach in the high jump, heavy rain began to fall.

No worries. Smith has learned to shut out the distractions.

That wasn’t always easy for the Union/A-C Valley sophomore, who has battled anxiety and depression throughout his life. At times, it has been debilitating.

The high jump has helped Smith come out of his shell. He’s open about his struggles and his confidence is soaring higher now than his leaps over the bar.

Smith won a District 9 Class 2A title again in the high jump this year, clearing 6 feet, 5 inches.

He also snagged gold at the District 9 Track and Field Championships last season.

He holds the school record at 6-9, but that height was far-fetched on a rainy early Friday afternoon at Brookville High School.

“The weather did change my approach a little bit,” Smith admitted. “But I didn’t let it affect me too much. I kept my confidence up. It was a rough day.”

Not rough enough to deny him the gold.

Sam Lundeen of Kane was second at 6-3 and Moniteau’s Cody Daniels third at 5-11 in an event marred by the early rainy weather.

Smith attempted 6-7, but it was not in the cards.

“This is nice, but I want to push farther,” Smith said. “I want to keep pushing and pushing. I want to hopefully get four district championships. That’d be nice. And hopefully take a state title this year.”

His approach leading into the PIAA Track and Field Championships next weekend in Shippensburg will be the same as for any meet, Smith said. He’ll take lots of repetition jumps at 5-11 during the week and stick to his routine.

He hopes that will produce the state title he’s seeking.

Smith is hoping to learn from the experience he had last season when he didn’t place at the state meet.

“There was a lot of people at states and there were a lot of people here today,” Smith said. “My coach was saying, ‘Put a show on for them.’ So I’m going to go out there, not let the nerves get the best of me, and try to put on a show. I won’t let that anxiety take this away. I can’t do it.”

Smith highlighted an intriguing day on the track and in the field for the boys in D9.

His teammates, Landon Chalmers and Dawson Camper each won district crowns. Chalmers won the discus with a throw of 16-01 feet, 4 inches to edge Redbank Valley’s Cam Wagner, who came in with the top throw in the district this season.

Chalmers was fifth last season at the D9 meet. His throw this year is just one inch off the school record.

“Landon has worked hard all year to get to this point,” said Union/A-C Valley throwing coach Lexis Twentier. “He is determined to break that school record, and being one inch shy, it’s obviously within reach.”

Camper, a sophomore, was another bright spot for Union/A-C Valley with his win in the shot put. He threw 49-6 to win the gold.

“It was a well-deserved win for Dawson,” Twentier said. “He knows what he’s capable of and it’s exciting to watch him show up and perform well.”

It was also a big day in the throws for Clarion-Limestone’s Ryan Hummel, who threw 158-7 to win the gold ahead of Luke Cramer of Karns City (148-9).

“It feels pretty good,” said a smiling Hummel. “I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile.”

(Ryan Hummell)

But Hummell had little time to relax. Over his shoulder was Cramer.

“I was a little scared about it because of Cramer,” Hummell said, grinning.

Coudersport’s Kevin Sherry was a multiple winner, claiming first in the 3,200-run, as well as the 1,600 run.

The performance of the night may have belonged to Johnsonburg’s Enoch Aboussou, who jumped 45-6 in the triple jump to break the district’s Class 2A record.

The Redbank Valley 400-meter relay team of Jacob Kundick, Aiden Ortz, Joe Mansfield and Ashton Kahle was edged by Brookville’s quartet of Brayden Kunselman, Jack Pete, Ian Pete and Hunter Geer, but it was still a triumph for the Bulldogs.

Mansfield just joined the relay in the week leading up to the district championships.

(From left, Aiden Ortz, Ashton Kahle, Jacob Kundick and Joe Mansfield)

“It means a lot,” said Ortz, who won the long jump title. “We had to switch this around, see how fast we can get and we had the right order today.

“There was no better feeling,” Kahle added.

Mansfield hadn’t run the 100 meters all season until this week, preparing for the relay.

“I did it my freshman year and my junior year, so I knew I could handle the handoffs,” Mansfield said. “I was just happy I was able to come out here and help my boys out.”

The Punxsutawney boys won the team title in 2A and DuBois won the 3A crown.

Complete results can be found here.

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