BROOKVILLE — It’s only fitting that the Redbank Valley Lady Bulldogs are sending a relay to this weekend’s PIAA Class 2A Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
The unbeaten KSAC champions thrived on balance and depth, so the Lady Bulldogs’ 4x800-meter relay of Emma Huffman, Quinn Fricko, Ryleigh Huffman and Carley Shick got the job done, grabbing the runner-up state berth with a season-best time of 10:33.56.
That was an improvement of over 21 seconds, which got them second behind Kane’s 10:23.53. The Lady Bulldogs finished just over five seconds ahead of Redbank Valley.
“At the 2018 district meet, the 4x800 squad improved their time by 20 seconds,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Mike Fricko said. “We discussed that before the race on Friday and the girls apparently took it seriously. They went into the race looking to make it to states. That was the goal and this group has continued to improve all season. So when they crossed that finish line, I was very proud of them, but not surprised. We look to simply keep improving. That’s the ultimate goal.
“I knew that performance would set the tone for the team on Friday and it kept hopes alive all day for the team. I know I’ve said it before, but this team has been fun to coach. There is such a balance of ability in every event.”
The Lady Bulldogs scored points with top-six finishes in eight events and wound up eighth in the team standings with 26.5 points.
The 4x100 relay of Paiton Rizzo, Elisabeth Hook, Katie Davis and Mariah Clark finished fourth in 53.72 seconds. Rizzo added a fifth in the 100 hurdles (17.42) along with a 10th in the long jump and 11th in the triple jump.
Hook finished fourth in the triple jump, going 33 feet, 6 1/2 inches.
Shick also helped score points in 400 dash (1:04.51) along with a ninth in the 200 dash.
Lindsay Evans and Taylor King were fourth and sixth respectively in the discus with throws of 98 feet, 9 inches and 91 feet, 2 inches.
Brooke Eberle cleared 4 feet, 6 inches to tie for sixth in the high jump. MacKenzie Young finished sixth in the pole vault, clearing 8 feet and beating out teammate and seventh-placer Hope Spence on tiebreaker after Spence also cleared the same height.
Missing out on scoring but finishing in the top 10 places was the seventh-place 4x400 relay of Davis, Hook, Smathers and Shick.
Smathers and Shick were eighth and ninth respectively in the 800 run with season-best times.
Karlee Wells was 10th in the javelin.
“I would have really liked to get a few others to the state competition, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year,” Fricko said. “We had some great performances and we just came up short a few times with Rizzo in the 100 hurdles, Hook in the triple jump and Evans in the discus were all in the competition to the last. And they handled it like true competitors and dedicated athletes. I’m very proud of that more than anything.”