Elk Lake Thinclads Claim Five PIAA Medals
Elk Lake’s track team returned from the PIAA track and field championships with five Class AA medal-winning performances distributed among six athletes.
Seniors Mike Bedell, Sean Carney, Bryan Grosvenor and Cassie VanEtten closed out their high school careers with medal-winning efforts. Underclassmen Will Bennett and Luke Jones also medaled.
Bedell and Carney returned from Shippensburg with two medals each.
In the boys’ 3200 relay, the team of Carney, Bedell, Bennett and Grosvenor backed up last year’s fourth-place finish with an identical result in a time of 7:57.99.
Carney ran the opening leg, giving Grosvenor the lead. Grosvenor followed a solid second leg, falling back to fourth. Bennett, the newcomer to the team, held his own dropping one spot before giving the baton to Bedell.
Bedell, who also won a medal in the 800, picked up one spot on his final lap.
“I was trying to get the lead to Bryan,” said Carney, who also claimed a medal in the 400 later in the day. “Overall we had a phenomenal race.
Bennett was pleased with his outing.
“I just wanted to do my best for these guys,” he said.
Grosvenor was equally pleased to end his long association with classmates Carney and Bedell with another medal.
“I’m thrilled with the outcome,” Grosvenor said. “I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but these guys.”
“It’s a tough leg because there are a lot of good kids in it,” Bedell said of his anchor leg. “My teammates gave me a good spot.”
The relay team qualified for Saturday’s final with a second-place finish in its heat in a time of 7:58.94 on Friday.
Carney and Grosvenor held fourth place through their legs. Bennett fell back to sixth at the exchange, but Bedell picked up four spots assuring the Warriors of another race. Their time was second only to Lewisburg’s 7:55.93 in the two heats.
VanEtten won her second straight 400 medal, finishing sixth to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish. Her final time of 58.22 seconds was slightly slower than the time she ran Friday in the qualifying heats.
“I needed to run really hard on prelim day because I wasn’t sure what I was running would make it in,” she said.
“Yesterday, I ran my first 200 faster. But I ran a 58 so I’m not going to complain too much.”
VanEtten finished second in Friday’s qualifying with a time of 57.77.
Carney, who battled an injury early this season, was seventh in the 400 in a time of 50.56. He was extremely pleased with the result considering the state final was only his fourth 400 of the season.
“Half of my open 400s this year were here at states,” he said.
With his qualifying time of 50.65 seconds in his qualifying heat, Carney assured himself of a state medal. He was third in his heat and the final boy to earn a berth in the final.
Bedell added a seventh-place finish in the 800, running a 1:57.7 in the final.
Surprised by the early pace of the race, Bedell fell to last going into the first turn and rallied back to third or fourth at the end of the first lap.
“I didn’t mean to do that,” he said of his slow start. “It’s a totally different race from the mile. I didn’t do as well as I thought I could.”
In his heat race on Friday, Bedell was boxed in along the rail at the start. He eventually found running room on the outside and moved up to finish third with a qualifying time of 1:56.91.
In the boys’ 3200 race, Jones hung near the front most of the race. He held on for eighth with a time of 9:43.94.
“I worked really hard this season and got where I want to be,” Jones said.
“I wasn’t sure how I wanted to start out. I tried picking through people and staying near them the whole time. That didn’t work out so I just stayed on my own pace.”
Several other Elk Lake athletes competed, but fell short of the medal stand.
Maria Trowbridge, a two-time state medalist in the 3200, started fast but faded in the latter stages of Saturday’s final. She finished 21st in a time of 12:10.57.
Jason Vermeulen, competing in the long jump, was 26th with a jump of 18 feet, 8 inches on Saturday.
Both 1600 relay teams failed to advance past Friday’s preliminary heats.
The girls’ 1600 team of VanEtten, Emily Williams, Kirsten Hollister and Kelsie Hermick finished fifth in their heat with a time of 4:09.36.
The boys’ 1600 team of Brad Moore, Bennett, Bedell and Carney also finished fifth in its heat in a time of 3:35.29 and failed to qualify for Saturday’s final.