Gambacorta makes a push, wins gold

CALN — As a freshman and a sophomore, Garnet Valley’s Nina Gambacorta “completely fell apart’ in the shot put at the PIAA District One Track and Field Championships. During the winter, she claimed the gold medal in the shot at the Delaware County Indoor Championships.

“I really hadn’t had my head in the game coming off indoor season into the outdoor season,’ Gambacorta said Thursday, after she took part in the Class AAA shot put at the 2015 district meet at Coatesville High.

That wasn’t the case in districts, which turned out to be an event she will remember much longer than those other two district tries.

Gambacorta had a personal-best throw of 42 feet, 5½ inches in earning the district gold medal by more than a foot over Academy Park’s Janese Lynch (41-3¾). Natalie Kent of Strath Haven claimed fifth place and earned a trip to the state meet at Shippensburg University May 22-23 with a throw of 37 feet, 11¾ inches.

“The last week in the weight room I’ve just pushed myself harder and harder,’ Gambacorta said. “And I really concentrated on my throwing. On my release, I can tell when it feels right and will be a good throw.

“All week I told myself I couldn’t come up here and not throw well.’

Lynch, who earned the District 12 shot put title at Neumann-Goretti last year, battled through pain in her throwing hand to earn the silver medal.

“It would have been nice to (throw a person-best) and win it,’ she said. “But you live and learn. This can be so much mental.

“I’m going to keep working on getting my strength up and being better mentally.’

Kent easily bettered her top throw of the season.

“I really don’t like the shot put,’ she said. “I just go out there and throw it.

“I know I’ve got to get better with my speed in the circle. But my coaches (Ron Porter and Tim Steier) have really been good helping me.’

Ridley senior Val McLaughlin had a best-jump of 18 feet to take second place in the Class AAA long jump behind freshman Madison Langley-Walter of Cheltenham (18-5¼).

“I think I would have had a better jump than her on my second try in the finals, but I fouled,’ said McLaughlin, who did not qualify for the 2014 district meet in the event. “I was too low to the ground on some of my jumps. I know if I don’t think about a lot of things I do better.

“All year my goal has been to make it to states in the long jump and the 200. I know I’ll be there for at least one of those things.’

McLaughlin advanced to the semifinals in the 200 with a time of 25.17 seconds.

Chichester sophomore Nierra Berry turned in a time of 12.55 seconds and advanced to a 100-meter dash semifinal race.

Katie Arbogast of Penncrest punched her ticket to the 400-meter dash final with a time of 57.67 seconds, then ran the leadoff leg ahead of Alicia Collier, Brianna Artis and freshman Tara Higgins to get to states in the 4 x 400. The Lions’ relay time was 3:54.72, trailing only Central Bucks South (3:51.42) and North Penn (3:54.69).

Penn Wood’s time of 3:57.70 was good for only ninth place and left the Patriots .19 of a second short of making it to states.

Penncrest (48.17) was the sixth-fastest qualifier in the 4 x 100-meter relay. Mariah Kozub, Zoe Gable, Artis and Collier were the Lions’ runners. Collier (25.39) also made the 200-meter dash semifinals.

Agnes Mansaray of Penn Wood was the fifth-fastest qualifier in the 800-meter run in 2:16.30.

Garnet Valley senior Skyler Berardi was among the qualifiers in the 1,600-meter run at 5:14.29.

Strath Haven’s all-sophomore quartet of Maddie Forbes, Isabel Cardi, Grace Haase and Jen Nonemaker turned in a time of 9:35.26 — which is under the state meet standard — and qualified for the 4 x 800 relay final Saturday.

Haven’s Breanna Fisher took eighth place in the javelin (118-3), but did not make the state meet mark.

Haverford High’s Maddie Santoro tied for eighth in the high jump (5-1) but did not advance to states.

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