Minutes into Tuesday’s District 2 Class AA Track and Field Championships, Emily Johns had already accomplished one of the primary purposes of coming to Memorial Stadium.
On the first district meet throw of her career, the Lake-Lehman freshman secured a spot in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.
When it came to the last of her 18 throws, Johns was still delivering.
Johns put the shot 38-5 on her final attempt, climbing into first place to win her second gold medal of the day and lock up an appearance in a third event for the state meet.
“It went a lot better than I expected,” Johns said. “I didn’t expect to come out with three new personal records and three district medals with two being golds.”
Johns won both the shot put and discus. She finished second in the javelin on the strength of that opening throw, which went 122-5 and exceeded by 17 inches the state standard to qualify for the PIAA Championships without winning a district title.
“I was very surprised,” Johns said. “I was seeded fourth and, on the first throw, I got 10 feet above my best, which is quite a jump.
“Doing that on the very first throw relaxed me because I already had done better than anything I expected.”
Johns had her state spot clinched and had already unleashed her eventual winning throw of 126-11 in the first of three attempts in the discus. She did not exceed that in the three additional attempts that the leaders receive.
The extra three attempts paid off in the shot put. Johns was in second place and short of the qualifying standard before her last attempt.
“It was nerve-wracking, but even if that didn’t go well, I had two seconds and a first,” Johns said.
While Johns highlighted the efforts of the Lake-Lehman girls, Dominic Hockenbury led the boys.
Hockenbury won the 3200-meter title and finished second in the 1600. Although Hockenbury also qualified for the state meet in the 1600, he scratched from that event for the state meet to concentrate on the 3200.
“He ran the mile (1600) just to get better for the two mile (3200),” Lake-Lehman coach John Sobocinski said.
Hockenbury, a sophomore who was already a state runner-up in cross country in the fall, won the 3200 by more than 28 seconds in 9:41.04.
In the 1600, Hockenbury led for much of the race, a strong kick produced the title for Lakeland’s Nathan Morgan. Hockenbury met the state standard by finishing in 4:27.01.
Johns, who will compete in all three of her events at the state meet, led the Lake-Lehman girls to a fifth-place finish out of 19 teams with 63 points. Lakeland outscored Montrose, 118-84, for the title.
More than half the team’s points came in the throws.
Cayle Spencer also qualified for the state meet in the javelin while finishing third with a throw of 121-7. She was also seventh in the shot put.
Shoshana Mahoney, the 2013 district champion, finished second in the 100-meter dash.
Kaylee Hillard was fifth in the 1600 while also running on the fourth-place 3200 relay and the eighth-place 1600 relay.
Julia Hutsko, Lindsay Pemberton and Emily Sutton were also on the fourth-place relay team. Hutsko added a sixth in the 3200 run where Pemberton was eighth.
Kahli Kotulski, Marie Johns and Kierra Kimble were also on the 1600 relay. Kotulski was fifth and Marie Johns was eighth in the 300 hurdles.
The Black Knights were eighth in the team standings with 38.5 points. Lakeland ran away with the team title, 123-79, over Northwest and four individual event champion Tyler Burger.