SHIPPENSBURG – The applause for Cumberland Valley senior Wade Shomper began, as it did all afternoon, when he approached the shot put circle just outside Seth Grove Stadium for the final shot put of the day at the PIAA Athletics Championships. Shomper had edged the Class 3A field with his first pitch under temperate, cloudy skies, and all that was left by the time he approached the circle for his sixth of six pitches, all that remained was a crowning achievement.
And maybe another big throw.
“It was awesome,” he said, “to go into the last pitch, knowing you’re already state champion. I just got in there and tried to kill it. I didn’t not all figured out, but I’m happy with the result.
Shomper’s last attempt ran 59 feet 9.75 inches. It was a good throw for him, not quite the personal best 61-7.5 he threw at the District 3 Championships in the same circle a week earlier, but it will become the winning mark of the seventh Cumberland Valley outdoor boys’ individual track and field champion and Eagle’s first pitcher to strike gold since John McKissick won back-to-back discus titles in 1980-81.
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Shomper’s gold medal throw highlighted the first day of state championships for local athletes. Trinity’s Tyler Rossi and West Shore Christian’s Joshua Lehman clinched Class 2A bronze in the high jump and javelin events, East Pennsboro’s Breckin Swope climbed to a tie for sixth in the class pole vault 3A and Tra Kater of Shippensburg took seventh place in the Class 3A triple. skip a day that was split by a 90 minute weather delay due to heavy rain and a lightning bolt or two.
“I got to the zone after the rain delay,” Shomper said, “and I knew what I had to do. Then I executed well.
Shomper’s first pitch of the day landed at 56-8.5. His second shot, 59-5, put the competition out of reach.
“Getting a good rating on the first pitch helped calm my nerves,” Shomper said. “I felt like I just needed to get to the final, and I’m glad I did and was able to take advantage of that.”
Round Washington of Perkiomen Valley led the chasing pack. He secured second place with a 57-0 shot on his last attempt of the day.
When he landed, Shomper was a state champion, a golden punctuation mark for a run that began with Shomper’s performance in the last double meet of his junior season.
“I was a quarter inch from 50 (feet),” he said of that breakthrough performance. “That’s when I knew if I worked, I could be here one day.”
Shomper’s journey has had its share of setbacks and disappointments – he missed last year’s shot put final by one spot – but it ended with countless congratulations from the family, friends, fans and strangers.
“When people I’ve never seen come up to me, he says, and they know me by name and congratulate me, I think it’s great. People know who I am and they’re happy for me.
Before Shomper enters the next phase of his college and pitching career at Bucknell, he must compete in Saturday’s Class 3A discus competition scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Rossi wins bronze
The Class 2A boys’ high jump moved indoors to Heiges Field House in Shippensburg due to heavy rain earlier in the afternoon.
PIAA Athletics 2022: Breakdown of local entries in men’s events
The Trinity elder cleared 6-2 and went on to clear 6-3 on his first attempt, good enough to secure third place behind Union’s Hayden Smith (6-5) and Seneca’s Vincent Rupp (6- 4).
“I’m happy with 6-3 without spikes,” Rossi said. “I take it.”
After finishing 18th in the long jump earlier Friday with a mark of 19-11.25, and with the weather delay, Rossi had time to prepare for his bronze medal.
“I liked having some time in between,” he said. “Last week in the districts I only had 20 minutes between jumps, so today was good.”
Lehman sat in seventh place in the Class 2A Javelin Trials after his best Trials throw landed at 157-1.
“My hands were slipping a bit,” he said, “so in the final, I really focused on my catch. I took a little chalk from one of the other throwers, and I used on my hands. I was able to grip it really well, and it helped me throw farther.”
After a substantial delay between tries and finals, Lehman found his rhythm with a trio of pitches that gradually flew farther. The latter landed at 171-11, earning a bronze medal.
“It’s really cool,” said Lehman, who plans to play soccer in Bloomsburg in the fall. “Given my size, I’m not the biggest competitor out there, so it’s really cool to see me throwing right up there with them. Honestly, it pushes me further, watching them pitch.
Pass the jumps to 6th
Hershey’s Justin Rodgers broke his own state record and set a new bar for the PIAA Championships with a Class 3A pole vault performance that took him 17-3. Swope, the District 3 runner-up behind Rogers, tied for sixth with Indiana’s Josh Saurer after they both cleared 14-6.
“It was a great experience,” said Swope, a sophomore. “It’s a good thing to look forward to in the next two years. I hope I can improve. »
After clearing 13-0 and 13-6, Swope missed his first two attempts at 14-0. But after consulting with his coaches, he cleared the bar on his final attempt to climb and clinch a medal.
“We changed the plan a bit,” he said. “I was able to get a better plant.”
Shippensburg’s Kater also reached the medal stand on Friday with a 45-7.25 triple jump that earned him seventh place. He declined to comment on his performance.
Trinity’s Danny Britten won his qualifying heat in the Class 2A 110m hurdles trials. Other local athletes qualifying for the track finals include Jake Brungard of Camp Hill (400 meters Class 2A) and Luke Noss of Cumberland Valley (400 meters Class 3A). Noss, Matt Reinard, Nathan Frederick and Sam de la Riva also qualified for the Class 3A 4×400 meter relay final.
The PIAA Championships are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Tim Gross is The Sentinel’s sports editor and cumberlink.com. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at: @ByTimGross