SHIPPENSBURG — Noah Gunderson figured his day was done when he was leaving the Shippensburg University high jump area during Friday's PIAA Class 2A track and field championships.
That is, until the Annville-Cleona sophomore heard some news he didn't expect.
“They were like, 'You've got to come back. You were eighth,’ " Gunderson said. "I was shocked. I am really happy now."
In fact, Gunderson's medal — in one of the final events of the day — was the only hardware won by a Lancaster-Lebanon League participant on Friday.
“It just means a lot being the only person to do that. I’m only a sophomore," he said. "I've just got to work harder now. I've got to keep going, keep jumping and keep trying to go higher and get my form a lot better. Hopefully I do better next year."
Gunderson matched his personal-best jump of 6 feet, 2 inches on Friday, although in his words: "I didn't expect 10 guys to clear 6-2."
"I just tried to come in and do it again," he added. "The mindset I had going into this was 6-2, maybe next year I will go 6-6, hopefully 6-8 and I keep going up. Maybe when I’m a senior I can win."
Annville-Cleona senior Jack Tshudy and Dan Myers of Lancaster Catholic have always had a friendly rivalry on the track, from Section Three competition to the Lancaster-Lebanon League championships to districts and capped with states.
Going against each other once again in the first boys event of the day, the 3,200-meter run, Tshudy executed a late charge to finish in front of Myers and place 10th overall.
“I was remembering how I lost in the kick at districts. I lost first place, so I really wanted to try and make it different from that. It gave me a lot of motivation," Tshudy said after clocked 9 minutes, 42.73 seconds.
Myers finished 14th with a 9:53.33.
“In these bigger races he does tend to beat me," Myers said of Tshudy. "He beat me at leagues. I'd really like to sit and kick on people, but Jack really has that drive to win. It was a great rivalry."
Both runners were happy to complete their high school careers on the track at Shippensburg.
"That was a dream come true right there," Tshudy said. "I never thought I would be at states to begin with. I don't think I could ask for more."
“I was a little disappointed, but it was only a second off my PR. I really wasn't expecting the competition I guess," Myers said. "I am mainly just happy that I got here. I did great at districts and this is the main goal."
Myers' final high school run was a 4:35.58 for a 19th-place finish in the 1,600. Crusaders teammate Mason Moore had a solid 4:32.60 in that event, good for 13th. The junior also ran the 800 in 2:01.42 to finish 11th.
"I am happy with it. It was pretty close to my PR, so I can't be mad at that," Moore said of his mile run. "That first pack was ahead of me for probably the first two and a half laps. My plan was to outkick them. I passed a few of them at the end, but the two kids were pretty far out in front of me."
In her first PIAA meet, Annville-Cleona junior Braeten Peters jumped three spots from her No. 16 seed to place 13th in the girls 3,200 run in 11:42.11.
"I didn't look at the seeds; my coach didn't want me to get psyched out," she said. "I was just kind of going into this blind and just chasing whoever I was with. I was just trying to stay with the group today and try to pass as many as I could.
"I definitely want to make states in both cross country and track next year. That is my main goal — and to PR."
By the time the 400 run was held, the wind was blowing against the homestretch, but Lancaster Catholic's Fiona Holland had a solid run of 1:00.77 to place 15th. The junior enjoyed her first state experience and is looking forward to returning.
"All of a sudden it got really chilly and picked up wind. I don't know where it came from," she said. "It definitely is (tough competition), but it's good to keep pushing. I’m thinking about the future. I want to try to do better next year. Maybe get into the top of states and run in college."
Casey Hess of Annville-Cleona tied for 16th in the long jump with a 20-5. Teammate Rogan Harter ran 23.51 in the preliminaries of the 200 dash, which placed him 21st in the state.