SHIPPENSBURG — Kyle Murr found a way to beat Saturday's cold, rainy and downright bitter conditions at the PIAA Class 3A track and field championships.
Despite his morning long jump finish of 11th place not being as high as he would've liked, Murr had an idea.
“After the long jump I went back and took a shower,” he said. “It warmed me up and got my mind set right.”
A couple hours later, Murr became the state boys triple jump champion after his leap of 46 feet, 10.75 inches, which was nine inches longer than the second-place jump at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
Entering as the event’s top seed, Murr was confident, but at the same time wary of the expectations.
"After the L-L league (championships) and that 47-10 I knew I had a pretty good chance of coming in first," he said. "I think that put a little pressure on me to try to beat the guy that his PR was better than me. Once I got my third jump in and it was 46-8 I knew it was set in stone from there."
Two weeks after stumbling on a hurdle at the L-L championships, Manheim Township junior Travis Wilk fed off last weekend's District Three meet and won a state bronze medal in the 300-meter hurdles in 39.15.
"I've had the goal for years and years. I am ecstatic," Wilk said. "I was hoping for a top-eight medal. I did not expect third. It's amazing; I am so happy right now. I wanted to prove myself like I did last week, and I'll come back next year and keep pushing."
Hours after he teamed with Luke Hinegardner, Ryan Wolfe and Jayden Heagle for a fourth-place medal in the 3,200 relay, Cedar Crest senior Tommy Bildheiser earned himself a bronze in the 800 run after clocking a 1:53.73.
"It was an amazing day. Something I won't forget the rest of my life," Bildheiser said. "I am so glad I got to share this with my teammates and coaches. I am so happy, I came all the way from a little freshman with big dreams and here I am, a state medalist. There's nothing else I could ask for today."
Tanner Haines said he had fluid drained from his knee on Wednesday, then had to face Saturday's unfriendly weather conditions. But neither challenge slowed the Warwick senior as he followed a solid preliminary 110 hurdles run with an even better one of 14.61 to earn a fourth-place medal.
“It was not my best race. But I haven't practiced all week," he said. "I got a bunch of stuff done to (my knee), so I am very happy with the outcome given the circumstances. I think the prelims I was still waking my leg up from not using it all week. The finals race we had a nice backwind and that helped."
His Warriors teammate Nate Good capped the long day by securing a fifth-place medal in the pole vault with a 14-6. While he didn't hit his prime target, Good was happy with how he finished —and happy the pole vault was moved inside the fieldhouse.
“I wanted 15, but at 14-6 I was clean all the way through," he said. "I was hoping it would get me higher on the podium but all these guys I was jumping against are top of the line at states. Getting top eight at states, especially my first year at states for pole vault, I can't complain about that."
Dylan Lambrecht of Northern Lebanon capped his high school career with a pair of PIAA medals; however, he was quick to say that it is only the beginning.
The Penn State-bound senior was fourth in the shot put (57-5) and fifth in the discus (170-2).
"I am happy, no complaints with two medals at states. Two years ago, I only got one," he said. "I've still got four more years to put in at Penn State so it hasn't even begun yet, throwing today with all those other great throwers makes me excited for college."
Two guys who love running against each other finished right next to each other on the PIAA award stand following the 3,200-meter run.
McCaskey's Stephen Schoussen (9:14.82) and Graham Thomas of Penn Manor (9:18.30) earned sixth- and eighth-place medals, respectively.
"Racing against a guy like Graham pushes you. He never has bad days so matching his energy and having someone like that is incredible," Schoussen said. "I had a little bit of an injury last week, so I took a few days off. I didn't know how I would be able to do but I'm happy to walk away with one."
"I always knew he had it in him and we both had a good race," Thomas echoed. "It was a great time. It's never losing when you get beat by quality guys. It just shows how good they are and how fast they are. This was one of the best state meets so to end up in eighth place is really good."
Thomas capped his outstanding Comets career with a 21st-place finish in the 1,600. Planning to run at Temple, Thomas knows the two will meet again at the next level. Schoussen will run at Bucknell.
A pair of L-L athletes weren't seeded in the top 12 of their events, yet found themselves on the medal stand.
Donegal's Zack Nissley, was seeded 14th in the javelin and feeling no pressure threw a 160-4 to earn eighth-place hardware.
"I went out and I threw. Sometimes you just put them together well," he said. "One of my other coaches always said, ‘It's just another track meet.’ That's all it was. It feels amazing."
Seeded 18th prior to his race, Warwick junior Jacob Smith blazed the 800 in 1:56.13 to also finish eighth.
"(I knew) it was possible, but not very likely. It feels really good," Smith said of his medal chances. "I just knew I had to get out fast."
The Hempfield foursome of Owen Jackson, Aidan Hodge, Christopher Titter and David Jackson started the day by placing sixth in the 3,200 relay in 8:02.13.
Lampeter-Strasburg's Nathan Eberly, Arik Harnish, Colin Whitager and Luke Vranich ran 8:02.80 for eighth in that same event.
Other L-L finishers
Harnish took 11th and Wolfe 22nd in the 800.
Manheim Township's Darren Cammauf was ninth in the 400. Teammate Ethan Mylin was 14th in the shot put and Tyler Smith 23rd in the 3,200.
Conestoga Valley's Kyle Thrush was 15th in the 1,600.