HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD: WILLIAMSON'S DISTRICT CHAMPION RELAY TEAM ALL EARN INDIVIDUAL STATE BERTHS
(2023-05-20)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
WILLIAMSPORT — After winning the District IV title in the 4x800 relay, Williamson’s distance crew followed that up with six individual state berths during the District IV Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
Kristian Mizdail was third in the 3200 (9:31.54) and fourth in the 1600 (4:24.36), Nathaniel Welch was sixth in the 3200, sneaking up state time at 9:47.79, and took third in the 800 at 1:58.24. Owen Cummings took second in the 800 at 1:57.66, while Duncan Kerr hit state time in the 300 hurdles at 40.17, taking fourth overall.
It was the fastest 2-mile in district history, with the top two runners breaking the old district record as Danville’s Rory Lieberman won in 9:12.88.
With Mizdail signed up for two other races on the day he made sure not to challenge them.
“I’m saving my body, hoping I don’t get injured,” he remarked. “I had a race against two other very well known competitors, both Division-I runners, so I was happy that I just stuck with them for most of the race.”
His goal was just to qualify for states.
“I want to save myself for next week so I can obviously run my best races in my life,” Mizdail remarked. “It’s pretty cool being around great competition.”
Welch, too, was just trying to hit state and did so my about a second.
“That was my plan, I wanted to go out and run that exact pace,” he said. “I almost got a little sucked in to the faster pace, and then I realized I still have one more race today that I really wanted to focus on, so I decided to just sneak under state time, and really just hold that based on time, and that’s what I did.”
He couldn’t have planned it any better, running with the second pack just behind the leaders.
“That first lap, I saw the clock, and I was like, ‘OK, you know this is what its’ going to be,’” he explained. “I just need to stick to my guns. They can have their fun, I’ll have my fun later.”
It also helped the 2-mile was run under near perfect conditions - cool and overcast.
“It’s an amazing day for running this morning,” remarked Welch. “It feels awesome.”
Mizdail didn’t quite have the mile race he wanted.
“It’s a little disappointing for the outcome, but I’m definitely going to work on it next week, mentally and physically,” he said.
He hung right behind the leaders - the same two in the 3200.
“They went out a little slower than expected, most likely due to the 3200 earlier in the day,” Mizdail said. “But, that was the plan.”
When he went for his fastest gear in the final lap he was still feeling that 2-mile.
“My leg gave out right then,” he said about his last lap.
It was his third race of the meet - second that day - but at states the 1600 is the first race, so he’ll be fresh come Friday.
“I’m hoping to drop my PR by a lot coming in fresh against great competition,” he said.
In the 800 Cummings went in the lead for the first lap, but ultimately ceded the top spot to East Juniata’s Logan Strawser in the second lap. Strawser won in 1:46.26 - his third race of the day, and second title - but Cummings finished strong to take silver.
“I know there was tough competition in the field this year, so I knew I was going to have to do my best race,” said Cummings. “I’m just glad it worked out.”
He didn’t necessarily wanted to go out in the lead, but wanted to run a fast first lap.
“I knew it was alright letting Logan pass me,” Cummings said. “In the race I knew he’d probably out kick me. My goal was to be the second place guy to get the state spot.”
Cummings showed off his usual strength the last 100.
“I knew I had to save a little extra to out kick somebody at the end,” he explained.
Going forward, he plans on turning up his conditioning.
“I want to make sure my kicks just a little bit better for states,” he remarked.
Welch wasn’t as happy with his second race of the day. As Cummings got out in the lead Welch got boxed in for much of the half.
“I’m glad I qualified, but I had no other option to pass other than when I did,” he explained.
Welch did have a strong finish to take third, but felt he left some out there on the track.
“I had to step out of my lane, stop, and then pass everyone,” he said. “That was the only option I had, and I took it. I hesitated, I shouldn’t, I learned - states will be different.”
After missing out on an individual event last year Welch will be going to states in two individual events this year, so he’s pleased about that.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “Work pays off, and, at the end of the day, we worked.”
Elias Kaufmann just missed states, taking third in the 400 at 51.00, while Kade Flicks was 12th in the pole vault at 11-feet, 6-inches.
Fletcher Good was 11th in the triple jump (37-feet, 11 1/4-inches) and 13th in the high jump (5-feet, 5-inches), with Ean Bump taking 17th in the discus in 113-feet, 8-inches.
Michael Lundy (10:56.37) was 19th in the 2-mile, with their 4x400 taking seventh in 3:35.21.
For the girls Kyra Daley (1:05.24) was 15th in the 400, while Jade Colwell (28.07) took 21st in the 200.
PHOTOS: Chris Manning
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