Quaker Valley’s Nace caps high school career with runner-up finish at PIAA meet

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Friday, June 1, 2018 | 11:00 PM


Quaker Valley senior Franzi Nace had high hopes of claiming the girls triple jump title at the PIAA Class AA track and field championship meet May 25-26 at Shippensburg.

Nace fell short but did not come away empty-handed.

She gained a silver medal for the second consecutive season and optimism about competing in college.

“I was super happy with my performance,” she said. “This was a competitive year for my event.

“My top jump ended up being one of the best of my career.”

Nace, the WPIAL champion, went 37 feet, 9.75 inches to the winner's 38-3.25. The girl who defeated her, senior Breana Gambrell of District 4 Athens, was defending champion.

It was the only loss of the season for Nace, the school record-holder.

Quaker Valley jumps coach J.J. Veshio said Nace's goal was just to medal.

“The competition was significantly tougher,” he said. “She needed to improve upon her mark of last year to place high up on the medal stand.”

Encouraged by her progress, Nace, who is 5-foot-11, is considering walking on at Columbia.

She plans to study English at the Ivy League school in New York City.

“I originally didn't expect to continue my athletic career in college,” she said. “The fact that I've continued to improve my jump from year to year and build on my progress, especially this year, makes me reluctant to hang up my spikes.”

Quaker Valley coach Jerry Veshio, J.J.'s father, said Nace has been a joy to have around the past four seasons.

Nace was one of five Quakers, including three jumpers, to reach the podium.

Sophomore Annie Wicker came in fifth in the girls 1,600-meter run (5 minutes, 7.43 seconds), sophomore Daniel Ford was seventh in the boys 1,600 run (4:28.75), senior Noah Berry took seventh in the boys high jump (6-2) and freshman Amelia Skowron was eighth in the girls high jump (5-2).

Jerry Veshio said Berry rebounded in a great way after an off year last season.

It was the second consecutive season Wicker placed fifth in the girls 1,600.

“I was happy with how I did, but at the same time, it was a little bit frustrating to not place higher and get a faster time than last year,” she said. “This season definitely wasn't one where I dropped a lot of time, but I still enjoyed it and learned a lot about myself as a runner.”

Jerry Veshio said earning a medal at the state meet is a huge accomplishment.

“I tell the athletes all the time that you must take advantage of the opportunity that you have on that day because you may never get that chance to shine again,” he said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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