Brownsville’s Jolena Quarzo captures PIAA Class 2A gold in 1,600

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Friday, May 27, 2022 | 2:31 PM


SHIPPENSBURG — Jolena Quarzo prefers running in the morning.

The Brownsville junior was pleased when the PIAA announced that it was splitting the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events and running the 1,600 final as the first race Friday morning.

Quarzo won her first PIAA Class 2A 1,600 title Friday with a personal best time of 4 minutes, 54.08 seconds. The second-place finisher, Delaney Dumm of Forest Hills, was more than seven seconds behind.

Now Quarzo, the returning champion, can focus on winning her favorite event, the 3,200, on Saturday morning at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium.

Quarzo took command of the race on the second lap and slowly pulled away from the pack.

“I believe the 3,200 was first last year and to be the first winner of the day was great,” Quarzo said. “Last week I was happy to break 4:59 and to run a 4:54 is great.

“It was my personal record by five seconds. I didn’t feel I’d go quite that low, but to get a 4:54 is like, wow.”

It was the fourth consecutive year that a Quarzo has won a PIAA title. Her older sister, Gionna, was a 3,200-meter winner in 2018 and ‘19.

“My sister set the bar high for me,” Quarzo said. “So I just try to come in and win more gold medals. Neither of us had won the 1,600 before, so it was great.”

Jolena Quarzo has an opportunity to one-up her sister if she wins the 3,200.

“I don’t know, but I hope so,” Quarzo said. “I was super nervous coming into the race, more nervous that I normally am. I normally don’t run the mile. If there is a big invitational, I ran the 3,200.

“This was the first time I did it in a really big meet which is really good. Maybe I’ll concentrate on the 1,600 a little bit more.”

She also is excited to run the 3,200 on a different day. Last year, because of covid concerns, the Class 2A championship was held on Friday and Class 3A on Saturday.

Now, she will attempt to win the 3,200 when the meet begins Saturday.

“Last year, it was kind of bad because I used all my energy in the 3,200,” Quarzo said. “I wasn’t satisfied with my 1,600 and to win it means a lot.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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