SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Already adorned with a state championship, the West Catholic girls' 4x100-meter relay team wanted to one-up itself this year.
West Catholic, with its team of Jada Steward, Michelle Davis, Mia Hicks, and Caela Williams, set upon this weekend to break the PIAA Class AA record in the relay.
The Burrs won't defend their 2010 title until Saturday, but they already achieved their goal, clocking a time of 47.65 seconds in their preliminary heat at Shippensburg University. That broke the mark of 47.73 set in 2008.
"We wanted [to break the record] Saturday," Hicks said. "I guess with everyone being confident, already having the motivation that we needed, we just came out and did it today."
Williams, a sophomore, replaced Chante Moore, who had graduated, on the relay this season. West Catholic won the District 12 Class AA title a week ago in 48.05 - the district's best time, regardless of classification, by nearly two seconds.
The Burrs ran the race in 48.04 to win last season's state title.
"We didn't think we were going to be blazing like that," Steward said.
"We're going to come even harder [Saturday]," Davis added.
State champ. Pennridge senior Anne Holland won her second consecutive Class AAA girls' high-jump state title with a leap of 5 feet, 7 inches. She edged India McCoy (Ambridge), who hit the same mark but took more attempts to do it.
McCoy entered the meet holding Pennsylvania's top jump of the year, 5-9. Holland won last year's title with a jump of 5-8. Her winning jump is the third best in the state this season.
The medalists. Including Holland, 17 athletes from Districts 1 and 12 won medals, placing in the top eight in their events.
Abington's Jordan Matthews failed to defend her AAA long-jump title, taking silver with a jump of 18-31/4. The winning mark was 18-71/2 by Marshay Ryan (Chambersburg).
Tom Lang, who last year set the AA state javelin record for now-closed St. Pius X, saw his record vanish in just one season. His mark of 213-10 was shattered by Northeast Bradford's Rob Robbins, who threw 221-6.
Lang, now with Pope John Paul II, will compete Saturday in the AAA event.
Poised Panther. Cheltenham star sprinter Matt Gilmore is ready, and eager, to race for Class AAA state titles in the 200- and 400-meter dashes Saturday. Friday, he turned in heat-winning times of 22.13 in the 200 and 48.34 in the 400.
Gilmore, who has been hampered by a hamstring strain all season and still isn't 100 percent, appears as intent as any athlete to win gold. He took silver last year in the 400.
"I deserve it. I want it. . . . I'm going to go out [Saturday] and go get it," Gilmore said.