Distance runner CJ Singleton continues to make history at St. Joseph

Friday, May 17, 2019 | 6:09 PM

CJ Singleton made history in the fall as he became the first St. Joseph athlete to compete at the WPIAL and PIAA cross country championships.

The freshman distance runner capped his first cross country campaign with a 20th-place finish in the Class A boys race at Hershey.

Singleton added another debut Thursday as the first Spartan to run, jump or throw at a WPIAL track and field finals.

He didn’t just make an appearance. He punched his ticket to states. As one of just two freshmen in the Class AA boys 3,200-meter run, Singleton placed fifth with a time of 10 minutes, 1.22 seconds and qualified automatically.

“I was a little more nervous this time (at WPIALs) because there’s a lot less kids, but it was kind of a good nervous,” said Singleton, who will run again Friday morning, the first day of the two-day PIAA meet at Shippensburg.

“I tried to use (the nervousness) to help me through the race. I ran against everyone better than I thought I would, but I didn’t run the time I thought I could. I just want to go to states, have a good experience, learn from it and hopefully PR.”

Singleton was part of a strong day for Alle-Kiski Valley athletes who, led by five WPIAL champions, qualified for states in 22 individual or relay events.

Burrell seniors Ashley and Lauren Brown, junior Megan Malits and freshman Anna Novak ran the 3,200 relay together for the first time at the WPIAL Class AA semifinals April 30.

The quartet came to WPIALs seeded 10th with a time of 10:49.57, but they lowered that time in a big way and earned silver medals with a time of 10:09.08.

“We had been switching in and out, and the last time we ran it, the weather was terrible,” said Novak, the team’s anchor. “It was a nice day to all run together. That really helped. We just put it all together.”

Those who finished fifth or better in each Class AA event and fourth or better in Class AAA automatically qualified for the PIAA championships May 24-25 at Shippensburg.

Also, those eighth or better in either classification who met the pre-set qualifying standard also earned berths to states.

Plum sophomore Logan Parker will make his PIAA debut after he finished third at WPIALs, improving nine places from last year’s 12th.

Seeded second, Parker recorded a best toss of 51-4¾. He wasn’t far off his career best of 51-5½ set at Slippery Rock’s Rock Relays on April 20.

“I’m not upset with how I threw because I did place third, but I could’ve definitely thrown over 52 and possibly taken second or first. But practicing with my coach and getting an overall good base, I am excited to see what I can do at states.”

Also earning third-place at WPIALs were Freeport junior Sidney Shemanski (AA girls 400, 59.04), Deer Lakes junior Kelli Galbraith (AA girls long jump, 16-8¼), Apollo-Ridge senior Brian Sproat (AA boys pole vault, 12-6), Kiski Area senior Kierra Shreffler (AA girls 1,600 run, 5:12.51) and the Fox Chapel girls 3,200 relay of seniors Sarena Seeger and Annika Urban and juniors Abbie Kieffer and Brooke Krally (9:29.02).

Shemanski placed fourth in the Class AA girls 800 (2:19.67), as did Seeger in the Class AAA girls 1,600 (5:12.66), Deer Lakes senior McKenzie Spence in the Class AA girls discus (118-9) and Fox Chapel junior Grace Sisson in the Class AAA girls 3,200 (11:26.99).

Apollo-Ridge senior Michael Booker raced to a fifth-place finish in the Class AA boys 100 (11.13).

Four individuals — Burrell sophomore Jocelyn Vickers (sixth, AA girls 100 dash, 12.70), Fox Chapel senior Kate Carnevale (sixth, AAA girls 100 dash, 12.34), Highlands junior CJ Thimons (fifth, AAA boys 800, 1:56.11) and Fox Chapel junior Christian Fitch (fifth, AA boys 3,200, 9:21.26) — had times that were better than the state-qualifying standard for their event.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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