Reserving a spot at WPIALs: Sarver leads Freeport at AA qualifier |

Reserving a spot at WPIALs: Sarver leads Freeport at AA qualifier

Bill Beckner Jr.

ADAMS TOWNSHIP: No one, not even Freeport track and field coach Bill Dillen, knew where Jessica Sarver had run off to.

Was she in the locker room• No.

Maybe the bleachers• Try again.

How about the team bus• Nope.

Sarver, a senior, had just helped the Freeport girls 3,200-meter relay team earn a ticket to the WPIAL Class AA Individual Championships when she disappeared.

‘She’s around here somewhere,’ Dillen, who helped keep times for all the teams and athletes at Mars High School Tuesday, said. ‘Maybe she’s getting ready for her next race.’

That’s exactly where Sarver was between competitions at the Class AA Northern Qualifier. While most athletes stood around and chatted about the day’s events, Sarver was jogging underneath the bleachers, getting ready for her long-distance races. It was Rocky-esque, to say the least.

Sarver came out swinging, also going for the knockout in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. In less-than-perfect conditions, she qualified in both events, to help round out a solid day for the Yellowjackets, who will send six individual athletes and two relay teams to the championships, next Tuesday at South Side Beaver High School.

Sarver, who teamed with Taylor Kerr, Cherrie Buday and Courtney Callas to take first in the 3,200 relay in 10:25.37, ran the 3,200 in 12:20.96 and the 1,600 in 5:42.18.

‘In the two-mile relay, I didn’t care about the time, I just wanted to beat Deer Lakes,’ Sarver said. ‘I was just hoping to qualify in the one-mile.’

While developing a friendly-rivalry with the likes of Kerry McKinney of Deer Lakes over the years, Sarver and her teammates have been getting better all season.

Deer Lakes also had a strong showing Tuesday, but Freeport ran some of its best times through hurdlers Bobby Woods and Joelle Ambrose, sprinter Colin Reilly and distance runners Sarver and Raven Bier.

Woods and Ambrose each qualified in both hurdles events. Woods ran the 110-meter hurdles in 15.3 seconds and the 300 in 40.5 seconds, while Ambrose ran the 100 hurdles in 16.46 and the 300 hurdles in 47.83.

Julie Edwards also qualified in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.25 and the 300 hurdles in 50.14, and Talon Conjack qualified in the boys 300 hurdles in 43.32 seconds.

Reilly grabbed the sixth spot in the boys 1,600 in 4:50.30, and Bier ran the girls 1,600 in 5:54.08.

Freeport also qualified its boys 3,200 relay team.

Freeport wasn’t the only school to enter qualifiers into the Class AA championships. Here is a look at the rest of the local AA qualifiers to come out of Mars:

  • Apollo-Ridge: Andrea Kolakowski (400-meter run), Sara McLay (javelin), Desiree Syster (high jump) and Laura Carpenter (triple jump) will compete for WPIAL titles after strong showings Tuesday.

    Carpenter has the day’s best qualifying mark in the triple jump, going 33 feet, three inches.

    Kolakowski finished the 400-meter run in 1:03.43, McLay threw the javelin 100 feet, four inches, and Syster was among seven girls to high jump 4-10.

    On the boys side, Zach Gourley (110 hurdles), Mark Pears (800) and the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams qualified.

    Gourley was less than two seconds back of Woods of Freeport.

  • Burrell: That Pete Kariotis qualified in the 200-meter dash wasn’t a surprise. It’s the fact he never ran it before that was.

    Kariotis qualified in four events – the 200, 100-meter dash, long jump and he ran a leg of the 400-meter relay team that made it in 46.06 seconds.

    Kariotis had a career-best mark of 20-11 3/4 in the long jump.

    ‘I wasn’t expecting to qualify in any more than two events,’ Kariotis said. ‘I did a lot better than I thought I would in the 200.’

    Adam Sharick also qualified in the 800, and the Burrell girls will send four individuals and two relay teams.

    Nikki Jones will compete in the 100, Jessie Witchey qualified in the 800, Amy Sieczkowski is in in the 200, and Ashley Pleva qualified in the discus.

    The 400 and 1,600 relay teams also made it for the Bucs.

  • Deer Lakes: Kerry McKinney didn’t disappoint, advancing in the open 800 (2:23.91) and 400 (59.09), and guiding the qualifying 3,200-meter relay team.

    The 400- and 1,600-meter relays also qualified, as did Patrice Rau – a surprise in the 800 – Nikki Brandstadter in the shot put and javelin, Meaghan Straznick in the discus, and Jess and Jenn Mitchell in the high jump.

    Jess Mitchell also qualified in the long jump and triple jump, while Jenn also made it in the triple jump.

    Brandstadter set a new school record of 33-2Ý in the shot put.

  • Ford City: The 3,200-meter relay team of Chris Grantz, Casey Welch, Jon Grantz and Phil Hahn got the Sabers on a roll Tuesday, as the boys team qualified two relay teams and two individuals for the finals.

    The 1,600 team of John Grantz, Chris Grantz, Hahn and Casey Welch ran a 3:37.77 to qualify, while Hahn also made it in the 800, and Seth Fox in the 200.

    For the girls, Kristin Myers qualified in the javelin with her throw of 103-1.

  • Riverview: The Raiders had a solid day, getting two girls relay teams and five individuals through to the finals.

    The girls 3,200- and 1,600-meter relays advanced, as did Kristin Jordan (1,600), Jessica Erdeljac (400), Kathleen McIntyre (300 hurdles), and Ashley Stanciu (3,200).

    For the boys, Aaron Tallafero qualified in the triple jump.

  • Springdale: Coach Kelsey McHenry was surprised by two things. One, Matt Kostewicz failed to qualify for the boys, reportedly pulling up lame during warm-ups. And two, Kate Slomer qualifying in the 200.

    Others were surprised the girls 400-meter relay team failed to advance.

    ‘The determined ones are the ones moving on for us,’ McHenry said.

    Casey Kropelak made the finals in two events, the 100 and 200.

    She ran the 200 in 28.1 seconds and the 100 in 13.41.

    Zach Brown was solid in the boys hurdles races, running the 110 hurdles in 15.89, and the 300 in 41.19, second to Woods.

    ‘I was pretty confident, but I was a little nervous in the 300,’ Brown said. ‘There was a lot on the line out there.’

  • Valley: Only Mycah Clemons qualified, taking a first in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.55 seconds, and in the long jump, where she leaped 16 feet, 2 3/4 inches.

    ‘She could have qualified in a lot more events,’ Valley coach Larry Rowe said. ‘Mycah is a very strong athlete.’

    In other qualifying news from Mars Tuesday, the pole vault was not finished because of the wet weather. The WPIAL will send 19 girls, including Springdale’s Mindy Oleson, and 25 boys to the finals in the event.

    The girls vault will be set at 8 feet, while the boys will begin at 11 feet.

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