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Pain is worth the gain for Davies, others at state track

SHIPPENSBURG >> Thelma Davies gingerly stepped off the awards platform after winning the girls Class 2A 200-meter dash at the PIAA Track & Field Championships Saturday.

It was the second gold medal of the meet for the sophomore from Girard College and the fourth of her high school career, yet it came at a slight cost for the Darby resident. She had a cramp in her right leg and could only walk on the ball of her right foot as she strolled across the infield at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium.

“I’m OK,” Davies said. “I just have to stretch it out.”

Davies burst onto the scene a year ago when she set the meet record in the 2A 100 and tied the meet mark in the 200. Setting records, though, were secondary in her second trip to the state championships.

“This year, with the weather, there was no breaking records,” Davies said. “That’s something me and my coach (Diamond Woolford) talked about. It was just too cold and to warm up enough to do that, so my goal was to come out here and keep my state titles.”

Winning the short sprints is not easy. You have to run three times just to win one medal. There’s a preliminary round, a semifinal and a final, so Davies had to run six times to win her two golds. Next year, she hopes to add two more races to that schedule.

Davies wants to add the 4 x 100-meter relay to that list.

“I know my girls want to win one of these,” Davies said. “It’s a blessing and I’m so happy to win again.”

***

Collingdale resident Sydni Townsend has an impressive medals haul in her three years at Neumann-Goretti.

Her resume includes three individual gold medals, a silver medal and two bronze medals. She’s also been part of four gold medal-winning relay teams.

Townsend was first in the 300 hurdles, third in the 100 hurdles and led the 4 x 400-relay team to victory for the third straight year.

The win in the 4 x 400 gave the Saints the team title.

“It means a lot to me because this is the first time winning the 300 hurdles,” Townsend said. “I got second last year and I didn’t run it at all as a freshman so I’m pretty excited.”

Townsend wasn’t the only Delco native who had a hand in that team title. Sharon Hill’s Janese Lynch added a silver medal in the shot put and a fourth-place medal in the discus to her collection. Brookhaven’s Eliza Brooks was fourth in the 200.

“I’m going to be honest. I’m not happy with what I’ve done, but it’s on to bigger and better things,” Lynch said. “I’m going to Wake Forest University and I’m excited to see what I can do there.”

Lynch heads to Winston-Salem, N.C., as a six-time outdoor state medal winner, four in the shot put and two in the discus. She was second in the 2A shot as a junior and seventh as a freshman in 2014. She also placed third in the Class 3A shot put as a sophomore at Academy Park in 2015 and third in the discus as a junior.

“Overall, my high school career went well,” Lynch said. “I’m proud of myself and I just can’t wait because I think I can do bigger and better things, and I’m excited for the next stage of my life.”

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With a little more than a lap to go, Emma Seifried of Sacred Heart was on the verge of doing something for the first time in her career: Failing to medal at the state meet.

Seifried was second in the Class 2A 3,200 as a freshman and sophomore, and sixth in the 1,600 last year. But with a lap to go in the 3,200, the junior was in 10th place, two spots out of medal contention. Seifried, though, was determined not to go home empty handed.

She made a move with about 300 meters to go to take home an eighth-place medal.

“I just stuck in the pack,” Seifried said. “That happened yesterday, too (in the 1,600). It’s been a pretty off season for me because I was sick in cross country.”

Seifried’s time, 11:10.34, was her best of the season.

“This was only the third time I’ve run the 3,200 this year, which is way different than normal,” Seifried said. “But I’m working with (former Olympian an ex-Penncrest and Villanova great) Kate Fonshell-Taylor for cross country and track.

“We’ve worked a lot on my pacing. I never really had a strategy before so that has definitely helped. I haven’t mastered that yet. I’m getting there.”

***

Liam Galligan’s senior year did not go quite the way he had hoped. A hip injury forced the Springfield distance runner to miss half of the cross country season and the entire indoor campaign.

Yet there he was Saturday on the medals stand in the boys Class 3A 1,600-meter run for the second year in a row after an eighth-place finish.

“That was the goal,” Galligan said. “I just wanted to medal. I knew it would be tough because it was cold so I’m just blessed to have a medal, my second one.”

Galligan finished fourth as a junior. This time around he had to fight to hold on to eighth place.

“I was struggling a little bit,” Galligan said. “I got shoved with about 325 (meters) to go. That’s when they started to break away so I just held on. I knew I had a gap between eight and nine so I knew all I had to do was hang on.

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