The chase for gold medals and the team standings receive most of the attention at a championship track meet.
But, there is much more going on at the District 2 Track and Field Championships.
Beating personal bests, making history and advancing to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships in Shippensburg are also part of the agenda for the top athletes.
Dallas junior Regan Rome fell short of adding to her collection of gold medals, but did manage to post a personal best in the 3200-meter run while surpassing a longstanding record and positioning herself for the state medal pursuit Friday and Saturday in Shippensburg University.
Rome was one of five Back Mountain athletes who qualified for the state meet without winning district titles. Those who finish second or lower can advance to Shippensburg if they meet a lofty predetermined qualifying standard.
“I just wanted to get through to states,” Rome said. “The only thing I’m doing at states is the 2-mile (3200).
“I feel more confident in the 2-mile. I just had to get through this and get on to states.”
District 2 Class AAA athletes were more effective than in most seasons in meeting those standards during Tuesday’s event.
Lake-Lehman’s Kieran Sutton and Dominic Hockenbury battled bitter conditions that made qualifying difficult Monday to advance in the Class AA boys 3200-meter run.
Rome was joined among the Class AAA girls qualifiers by Dallas teammates Katie Kravitsky and Catie Gawlas.
In one sense, Rome missed an opportunity to celebrate crushing a 28-year-old meet record by more than 14 seconds when she fell short of Tessa Barrett, the Abington Heights junior who won a state indoor 3000-meter championship earlier this year.
Both girls, however, probably gained by pushing each other in what shaped up as a two-person race from the start. They produced one of the most remarkable combined performances in the event’s long history.
“I think we push each other,” said Rome, who finished more than 35 seconds faster than what was required to make the state meet.
Barrett ran on Rome’s heels for 2000 meters before overtaking her as the sixth of eight laps began.
“It was a little hard because I kind of set the pace that entire time,” Rome said.
The record of 10:52.24, set by Honesdale’s Heidi Robbins in 1985, never stood a chance.
Barrett arrived at the finish line in 10:32.78. Rome, the only competitor within a minute of Barrett, came in at 10:37.81.
Distance running, both in track season and in cross country during the fall, has been District 2’s hallmark on the state level.
Sutton and Hockenbury were part of a strong field in high school track’s longest race when they made the state meet, also at 3200 meters, in Class AA boys. Sutton finished third in 9:41.32 and Hockenbury fourth in 9:44.15.
They finished behind another record-setting performance as Rico Galassi of Holy Cross won in 9:15.78, lowering his own mark.
Galassi joins Barrett in representing District 2’s strongest title hopes at Shippensburg.
Sutton and Hockenbury finished behind Galassi and Elk Lake’s Luke Jones, who were 1-2 in the state in Class A cross country last fall. The Lake-Lehman runners made the state meet by beating the 9:48.01 qualifying standard.
Kravitsky lost out on a potential district title in the high jump, finishing second on a tiebreaker as one of three AAA girls to clear 5-3, the state qualifying standard. All three went for a tie of the district record of 5-5 but missed on all three tries, leading to the tiebreaker for fewest earlier misses.
Gawlas made it by finishing third in the 100-meter dash in 12.47. She was one of four qualifiers in the event, which was won by Valley View’s Carli Lucke, who also took the 200-meter title.