PIAA Championships: Record day for Hatboro-Horsham’s DiCola; North Penn, Abington earn multiple golds

SHIPPENSBURG — With 300 meters to go in Saturday’s PIAA-3A 3,200-meter Championship, Brian DiCola made his move.

The Hatboro-Horsham senior dug deep, charging past Ringold’s Ryan Pajak and Butler’s Drew Griffin and into the lead.

Down the final stretch, DiCola sprinted towards history.

“I saw Ryan’s shadow on the side and I was like, I can not let this shadow get near me,” DiCola said afterwards with a grin. “So I took off as fast as I could.”

DiCola’s final kick put the capper on his gold-medal run, his time of 8 minutes, 47.39 setting a PIAA record on a warm, sunny morning on the track at Shippensburg University.

“It feels amazing but I’m really tired now,” said DiCola with a smile.

Brian DiCola of Hatboro-Horsham set a state record in the PIAA-3A 3,200. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

DiCola had a fantastic weekend at Shipp, following up his fourth-place medal in the 1,600 on Friday with a state record in the 3,200 on Saturday.

“I figured I had to kick a little bit further out,” he said of his surge with 300 to go. “From there, I gave it all I had. I tried to push my feet down as I was running to get turned over as fast as I could.”

In a stacked race, Pajak and Griffin also surpassed the previous state record but DiCola overcame all.

Bound for Penn State next year, the Hatter standout set a PR for the two mile and added to an already stellar senior year.

“You can’t really ask for anything more. I’m super happy,” he said. “Winning the cross country state title was probably my favorite moment ever in my life. And then coming back at indoor states and winning the 3K for the second year in a row, that felt amazing too. You have some ups and downs but I believe the ups make it feel so much better.”

North Penn’s 4×100 relay team of (l-to-r) Madeline Lewis, Taylor Forbes, Jael Sykes and Maya Adams raced to the PIAA-3A title. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Good as gold — For Maya Adams, the announcement was music to her ears.

The second leg on North Penn’s outstanding 4×100 relay, she was racing over to get a view of the finish when she heard the good news.

“It felt really nice. It was exciting hearing it because I didn’t know at first that we won. So when I heard ‘North Penn’ announced as the winner, I was like, ‘yeah!'” she said with a smile.

Taylor Forbes, Adams, Madeline Lewis and Jael Sykes met their date with destiny, completing a terrific season with a gold-medal finish in 47.12.

Sykes out-sprinted J.P. McCaskey’s Lucie DeSyon (second, 47.16) down the final stretch for the victory.

“I’m not crying now but when I’m by myself, I’m gonna cry,” said Sykes excitedly.

Taylor Forbes (left) and Jael Sykes hug after North Penn’s 4×100 relay captured gold. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

North Penn pushed past a tough group that included Cheltenham (fourth, 47.69) and Souderton Area (48.45).

All four legs held sturdy for the Knights.

“I knew I was right with McCaskey and there was somebody else right next to me,” Lewis said. “I watched Jael down the straightaway and then sprinted across the field to Maya – I was so happy.”

Forbes got it started.

“I think it was a great race overall,” she said happily. “I think we just needed to trust each other, which we did. And we came out on top.”

Forbes and Lewis then went right over to the long-jump pit and teamed up to go one and two. Lewis captured the silver medal with a leap of 18 feet, 7.75 inches and Forbes soared to the gold with a jump of 18-9.

“It was a little nerve-racking getting from the 4×1 to the long jump,” Forbes said, “but I think everything worked out fine.”

Abington’s Luke Coleman raced to the gold in the PIAA-3A 400. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Galloping Ghosts — Professional wrestler in the making Luke Coleman pinned down a win in the 400 dash, racing to the gold medal in 47.26 seconds.

“The race was very mental,” said the Abington junior. “I had to stay poised, stay focused, keep going, keep running, keep the ball rolling. I had to keep my foot on the gas and stay strong.”

Coleman held off Jesse Myers of State College (47.81) and Colin Kravitz of North Pocono (47.85) for the top spot on the medal stand.

What’s next for Coleman?

“I’ll be doing a lot of training and going to Monster Factory Pro Wrestling (in Paulsboro, N.J.) and I wanna keep the cardio and weight training all summer,” he said.

Abington and Central Bucks West raced to first and third in the 4×400 relay. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Coleman, who would have loved to enter the track to Cody Rhodes’ WWE Theme, “The American Nightmare,” wasn’t done.

He earned his second gold medal of the day by leading off the Ghosts’ 4×400 relay. Coleman joined Keith Axten, Jamir McClinton and Tyler Abraham for a winning time of 3:16.19.

Spring-Ford (3:18.20), Central Bucks West (3:18.34), Cheltenham (3:19.81) and Roman Catholic (3:20.52) completed a strong top five.

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