ROYERSFORD >> The ferocity on Mia Rose’s face tells much of the story.
With every hop, skip, jump and every step on the runway in between, there’s teeth-clenched determination in the Pottsgrove senior whenever she’s competing, especially in the triple jump.
That was maybe never more true than on her final attempt in the girls’ triple jump at the Pioneer Athletic Conference Track & Field Championships Friday at Pope John Paul II.
Rose uncorked a personal-best 38-10 to edge out the 38-9 of event favorite Christina Warren and the rest of the field to win the girls’ triple jump title and headline Day 1 of the PAC’s two-day league championships.
Three champions were crowned Friday along with Rose: on the track, Perkiomen Valley’s Teagan Schein-Becker won the 3,200 meters (11:10.02) and Methacton’s Amy Domenick (46.21) placed first in the 300 hurdles; in the field, Perkiomen Valley’s Caitlyn Stankina took the shot put (35-3¼).
The bulk of the events will be competed Saturday back at PJP beginning at 9 a.m.
Rose’s day didn’t have the look of a championship one through four jumps. But last year’s fourth-place finisher made sure to keep her mentality.
“I knew what I had to do and at first I wasn’t happy with how I was doing. But I knew I had to keep going because if I got in my head I wasn’t going to be able to do what I had to do. I was getting 37s, 36s, which isn’t what I’ve been getting lately. But then I got my 38 (fifth jump) and I knew I could get farther.
“I kept warm, kept with my steps, getting them perfect, and praying – a lot of praying – and I got it.”
Rose hit her best mark, a 38-10 that bested her previous PR by six inches, and then was left to sweat as Perkiomen Valley’s Warren hit 38-9 on her final jump. It was an off day for Warren, the reigning event champion who set a personal-best of 41-1½ last week at the West Chester Henderson Invitational and was the top American finisher at the Penn Relays. Owen J. Roberts’ Corrin Ferrizzi placed third with a 36-7½.
With the confidence from her win Friday, Rose has her sights set on another record – the Pottsgrove school record of 38-11¼, set by Megan Van Buskirk in 2005.
“I knew it was in me today,” said Rose, who will also compete in the high jump and 4×100 relay Saturday. “I have a lot of work to do but if I’m getting 38s I know I have a lot more in me to keep going up from there.
“I really want to go to states. That’s what I’m working toward now, the school record and states.”
Time to Schein >> Perkiomen Valley’s Schein-Becker ran just race she intended in the 3,200, staying grouped with her Vikings teammates early before pushing to the front with three laps to go.
“We know to work together. We had a strategy together and it was good, to be able to run with your friends but also compete at the end,” she said.
Schein-Becker’s 11:10.02 bested Owen J. Roberts’ Autumn Sands (district-qualifying 11:17.31), Upper Merion’s Amber Strouse (11:32.18) and Spring-Ford’s Gabriella Bamford (11:36.36). The PV senior was more focused on the field than anything.
“I usually do better when I’m running off a challenge, rather than by times and splits,” she said. “That was pretty much what I wanted to do; that’s my favorite way of racing, going off of emotion rather than a specific time.”
Schein-Becker now has her sights set on Saturday’s mile, which she placed sixth in at last year’s PACs. “I really want to break 5:00,” she said.
Friendly rivalry >> PV sophomore Stankina had her own help from a Viking teammate. Stankina and junior Dorian Philpot battled it out for the shot put title with Stankina’s 35-3¼ narrowly ahead of Philpot’s 35-2½. Phoenixville’s Jasmine Hamilton placed third (33-4½).
“It was pretty shocking actually,” Stankina said. “I was competing pretty hard with my teammate Dorian and she was putting up a pretty good fight. It’s really exciting.”
The PV teammates have bettered each other and did so Friday.
“She’s pushed me really hard but at the same time is really encouraging,” Stanika said of Philpot. “She wants me to win but at the same time she wants to get first.”
To get first place, which came on her fourth throw, felt like quite the result after Stankina missed a month due to injury.
“I was out for a month with an injury (ankle tendinitis) so I didn’t think I would make it this far,” she said. “But the day I came (two weeks ago) back it was like I never left.”
Prelims >> Among preliminaries competed Friday, PV’s Warren (15.27), Spring-Ford’s Jordan Sigler (16.01) and Upper Perkiomen’s Kayleigh Durning (16.53) headed the 100 hurdles; Methacton’s Domenick (12.64), Warren (12.84) and Methacton’s Lauren Prusacki (13.00) led the 100 meters; Norristtown sophomore Teliyah James (25.89), Methacton’s Katelyn Evans (26.04) and Methacton’s Prusacki (26.87) topped the 200 meters.
Team Standings >> Perkiomen Valley leads the team standings with 42 points, followed by Methacton (32), Pottsgrove (21), Spring-Ford (17) and Upper Merion (16).
Thrill Ride >> With exhausted bodies strewn around the finish line as they so often are after athletes compete in the 3,200, Schein-Becker beautifully summed up the mentality of distance runners: “Distance people are a little crazy. They put themselves in pain. I feel like it’s a thrill-seeking kind of thing, it feels risky putting yourself in pain and to keep going.”
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