No WPIAL athletes win PIAA titles on Day 1, Beaver’s Emma Pavelek comes very close
By: Chris Harlan
Friday, May 24, 2019 | 7:11 PM
SHIPPENSBURG — Beaver sophomore Emma Pavelek leaped plenty high enough to win a state title, matching her top rival jump for jump at Seth Grove Stadium.
With only two competitors left, both Pavelek and Elk County Catholic junior Taylor Newton cleared 5 feet, 7 inches in the Class AA girls high jump Friday at the PIAA track and field championships, but a tiebreaker from a few jumps earlier awarded Newton the gold medal.
“It didn’t end as I was planning it to end,” said Pavelek, who placed fourth as a freshman. “I’m frustrated because I missed my first attempt at 5-2 — and that’s why I didn’t get first. Second place in the state is pretty good. I’m pretty happy with that, but I’m already ready to come back next year.”
Newton converted her first five attempts as the bar rose from 4-10 to 5-foot, 5-2, 5-4 and 5-5. Pavelek entered the competition at 5-foot and made her first jump at that height, but needed two tries to clear 5-2.
That proved to be the difference. Pavelek and Newton each converted on their second attempts at 5-6 and 5-7. Both jumpers entered the competition seeded at 5-6.
Finally, the bar rose to 5-8. They each took three attempts but neither cleared that height.
“I knew that if I wanted to win first, I had to clear 5-8,” said Pavelek, who already understood that Newton held the tiebreaker. “I think if I would have had that jump two or three jumps earlier and I wasn’t as tired, maybe I would have had that little extra jump. But there’s nothing you can do about it now.”
— Emma Pavelek (@emmapavelek) May 24, 2019
The WPIAL celebrated no state champions on Day 1 of the two-day state championships but had six athletes place second or third. South Park’s Maura Huwalt was a two-time medalist who placed second in the girls Class AA discus and third in the javelin.
East Allegheny long jumper C-Keiyah Marshall was second in the Class AA girls long jump.
The third-place finishes were earned by Hempfield’s Mackenna Orie in the Class AAA girls shot put, North Catholic’s Joseph Kearney in the Class AA boys long jump and Shaler’s Cam Mbalo in the Class AAA boys triple jump.
The only medals awarded on Day 1 were for select field events. The track heats Friday were all preliminary races.
Huwalt won two medals, but considered it a disappointing day overall. The defending Class AA discus champion knew defending that title would be tough as the second seed. But a third-place finish in the javelin where she was seeded No. 1 left a bad taste in her mouth.
“I knew going in it would be tough,” Huwalt said. “And I know if you want to do well you have to (set personal records) because it’s the biggest meet of the year. But I did the best I could, not happy with what I did.”
Huwalt won the WPIAL javelin title with a throw of 144-11. She managed only 131 feet Friday.
Johnsonburg senior Skyler Sherry won with a 137-3 throw. Slippery Rock sophomore Maryann Ackerman was second at 134-2.
Greenwood senior Mallory Kauffman won the discus with a distance of 151-7. Huwalt was second at 136-9.
Huwalt has another chance for gold Saturday in the shot put, where she’s seeded second behind Kauffman by about two feet.
Staff writer Paul Schofield contributed.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .