Marian’s Capparell claims pair of golds
WHITEHALL — For Marian’s Tina Capparell, her final district meet turned out to be the best of her high school career.
Capparell won a pair of events Thursday, grabbing gold in the Class AA girls’ 1,600 meters and 800 meters during the second day of the two-day District 11 Track and Field Championships at Whitehall High School’s Zephyr Sports Complex.
Capparell’s first victory came in the 1,600 where she ran a 5:02.23 to dominate the field. North Schuylkill’s Cori McCormick (5:12.06) was second.
During the 800, Capparell used a kick over the final 100 meters to hold off Jim Thorpe’s Lydia Wallace. Capparell finished in 2:18.11, while Wallace had a 2:20.08.
The district title in the 1,600 was second for Capparell as her first came in 2016 when she was a sophomore. The 800 championship was her first in the event at districts, while Thursday was the first time Capparell won two events as the same district meet.
“It is really exciting,” Capparell said. “I’ve wanted this for the past couple of years. This is the first time I’ve ever won the 800. I am really excited to win it as a senior.”
It turned out be a successful day for female Schuylkill League athletes as six others won championships, while a total of 16 qualified for states with either titles or second-place finishes.
Earning gold medals Thursday in Class AA were Mahanoy Area’s Meredith Rhoades (100 hurdles), Weatherly’s Emily Zoscin (100), North Schuylkill’s Sarah Wagner (triple jump), Jim Thorpe’s Debbie Loyd (pole vault) and Wallace (400). Lehighton’s Isabelle Meckes (discus) won a Class AAA title.
Zoscin’s title was her second in as many years, while Rhoades won her second in two days after she took first in the 300 hurdles Wednesday.
Others qualifying for states with second-place finishes in Class AA individual events included Jim Thorpe’s Emma Dunbar (100) and Devon Lignore (shot put), North Schuylkill’s Sara Manbeck (400), Pine Grove’s Nilitza Malave (200), McCormick (1,600) and Wallace (800).
Blue Mountain’s Kylie Kutz (100, 200) qualified for states in a pair of events after runner-up finishes in the Class AAA 100 and 200.
Two relay teams are also going to Shippensburg as the Spartans’ Manbeck, Brinn DeAngelo, Liz Harner and McCormick were second in the 1,600 relay and Jim Thorpe’s Kylee Dulski, Dunbar, Loyd and Wallace were second in the 400 relay.
Capparell’s two championships Thursday followed her pair of Schuylkill League titles in the same events last week. She was almost as dominating in the 1,600 as she was at leagues, winning Thursday’s race by around 10 seconds. The only thing Capparell didn’t do was run under 5 minutes.
“I was going out to break 5, that’s been my goal all season,” she said. “I am two seconds away from it. Hopefully I can do that at states.”
The 800 was also turning into a rout before Wallace started to close in with about 200 meters left. But just when it appeared Wallace might get even closer, Capparell turned on the jets and pulled away.
“I saved a kick at the end,” Capparell said “I make sure to have a kick so using it at the end helps.”
Capparell will making her fourth trip to states and plans on compet- ing in both events. She is also looking to improve upon her sixth-place finish in the 1,600 at Shippensburg last year.
Rhoades had the best time during the 100 hurdle preliminaries Wednesday at 16.81 seconds and followed that up with another title Thursday by running a personalbest 16.14. Palisades’ Elora Mitchell (16.27) was second.
“It honestly feels just as good (as Wednesday’s title), but overall I feel amazing to get two,” Rhoades said. “This was my goal all season and to achieve it means everything to me.”
A big focus for Rhoades this postseason, and for Thursday’s final, was to focus and worry about herself and not others in the race. She feels it’s been an issue during her career.
That focus was important Thursday as Mitchell was right with Rhoades for the entire race, but Rhoades was able to get the victory.
“Honestly, I just didn’t think too much and said to myself the entire race ‘Attack it, attack it,’ ” Rhoades said. “I just went out and ran as fast as I could.”
Zoscin won last year’s 100 with a time of 12.74 seconds. She was clocked in 12.73 on Thursday, getting past Jim Thorpe’s Dunbar (12.76). The top four finishers were from the Schuylkill League as Shenandoah Valley’s Emily Demalis (12.82) was third and Pine Grove’s Malave (12.93) took fourth.
When asked about her championship Thursday, Zocsin brought up the memory of former Weatherly cross country and track coach Jonathan Kiddish, who passed away last August.
“It feels really amazing because the last time I was here was my freshman year and my coach passed away and just felt like he was here with me because this is where I last ran with him,” Zoscin said. “It felt really good. I am just so happy.”
Zoscin was second during last week’s Schuylkill League meet to Blue Mountain’s Kutz. The Class AA race was indeed a close one, and Zoscin believes her improved starts have really helped her this season.
The fact that the Wreckers don’t have a track to run on is a motivation for Zoscin, too.
“Honesty, the odds are kind of against me,” she said. “Most of the girls have a track and we sadly do not, but that is what kind of makes me push harder because I don’t have a track so I do have the disadvantage.”
Wagner became the second North Schuylkill freshman to win a championship during this district meet after McCormick won the 3,200 on Wednesday. Wagner’s winning distance was 35 feet, 11 inches, which she hit during her second attempt of the preliminaries.
“I just didn’t kind of think about it on that one,” Wagner said. “I just let myself go and it worked out.”
Wagner entered Thursday knowing she had already wrapped up a trip to states by beating the state qualifying standard in the long jump Wednesday. That helped relieve whatever pressure Wagner might have felt going into Thursday’s event.
“I just wanted to come out here and have fun,” Wagner said. “But it is fun to win, too.”
Andy MAtsko / stAFF photogrApher Marian’s Tina Capparell takes a commanding lead in the girls’ 1,600-meter run during Thursday’s District 11 Track and Field Championships in Whitehall. Capparell won the event in 5:02.23.
Mahanoy Area’s Meredith Rhoades clears a hurdle on her way to winning gold in the girls’ Class AA 100-meter hurdles during Thursday’s District 11 Track and Field Championships at the Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall. The victory was Rhoades’ second of the meet after winning the 300 hurdles Wednesday.
Blue Mountain’s Kylie Kutz finished second in both the Class AAA 100- and 200-meter dashes, qualifying for states in both events.