SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - It wasn't the performance Tom Mallon coveted. It was, however, a cherished consolation prize.
The Central Bucks South senior broke the PIAA track and field championships' meet record in the boys' 800 meters Saturday at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
He claimed his third consecutive Class AAA title in the event with a time of 1 minute, 49.31 seconds. The previous record of 1:50.31 was set by Penn Wood's Mark Fowler in 1984.
"I'm definitely satisfied," Mallon said, "but not satisfied enough."
The Stanford signee had hoped to break the overall state record of 1:48.8 set by Archbishop Kennedy's Paul Vandegrift in 1987.
"Vandegrift is one of the best runners ever in Pennsylvania," Mallon said. "To break his record would have been awesome.
"But I guess that goes to show that he's such an awesome runner. And that's not an easy record to break."
Some would argue that Mallon is in the same category as Vandegrift.
Saturday's winning time is this season's second-fastest time in the nation, according to MileSplit.us.
Mallon was one of 10 boys' state champions from Southeastern Pennsylvania on the final day of the two-day meet.
Most of the victories came in Class AAA. Methacton's Carlton Lavong won the long jump; Unionville's Matthew Fischer, 3,200 meters; Kennett's Blake Davenport, shot put; Coatesville's Marcus Blakely, high jump; Norristown's Tyler Smith, 100; West Chester Henderson's Will Kellar, 1,600; Central Bucks South's Robert Knuckles, Yacine Zerdoum, Tyler Dougherty, and Jon Eisemann, 4x100 relay; and Cardinal O'Hara's Bob Boyle, Tyler Gallen, Andrew Onimus, and Corey Brown, 4x400.
In AA, West Catholic's Kevaugh Gail, Chris Booker, Jordan Stephney, and Ozzie Bryan won the 4x400.
Mallon's 800 race provided the most excitement.
In the lead throughout, Mallon came through the 400 in 54.4 seconds. He went to extend a 12-meter cushion but fell short of his ultimate goal.
"I gave it my all," said Mallon, who planned to cover the first 400 in 52 seconds. "And it was a tactical error on me not going out fast enough."
Like Mallon, Fischer had a motivating factor in the boys' 3,200. The senior wanted to become the fourth consecutive Southeastern Pennsylvania runner to win the race.
Fischer was 10th after the first 1,600. He gradually moved up to third with two laps remaining. He took the lead at the bell lap with an all-out sprint and held on win in 9:03.01. North Allegheny's Ryan Gil, who was charging at the end, finished a close second in 9:03.87.
Davenport, a senior, lifted weights four days a week this season in preparation for the shot put. And it paid off.
His heave of 55 feet, 71/2 inches was more than a foot farther than the 54-23/4 recorded by Hampton's Jordan Paskorz, the runner-up.
Whereas Davenport clutched his gold medal, Blakely had other plans for his.
"This gold medal I'm wearing to the prom, by the way," the senior said after winning the AAA high jump with a 6-8. "I promised everybody back home that I would."
Thirty minutes or so after Blakely announced his prom plans, West Chester Henderson's Will Kellar and Father Judge's Tom Kehl competed in a thrilling 1,600 meters.
Kellar nipped Kehl at the finish line to win in 4:12. Kehl was second in 4:12.02.
Lavong leaped 24-81/2 to add a long-jump title to the triple-jump crown he won Friday. By winning the 100 in 10.65, Smith proved that this month's Colonial Classic victory wasn't a fluke.
The Titans won the 4x100 in 42.30. The Lions ran 3:16.94 to post a come-from-behind victory in the AAA 4x400. And the Burrs went 3:21.64 to win the event in Class AA.