SHIPPENSBURG — They are no longer heirs apparent. Casey Padgett and Sophia Toti are Carlisle distance’s newest king and queen.
The two juniors capped their breakout seasons with medals Saturday at the PIAA Track & Field Championships. The pair opened the final day at Shippensburg University with Toti’s 3200 fifth-place medal and Padgett’s eighth in Class 3A action.
“At the beginning of this year, I did not think I would be this far in the two mile,” said Toti, who ran a blistering 10:23.84, nearly seven seconds faster than her previous PR. “But I’ve gotten here.”
“I told [head coach Ed Boardman] at the beginning of the season that I wanted to be on the podium, but I wasn’t sure whether it was gonna happen,” said Padgett, whose 9:23.14 broke last week’s PR by nearly two seconds. “And then last week I won districts, and I really just wanted to get on the podium no matter where it was just to prove that last week wasn’t a fluke and that it was something I’m capable of.”
They won Carlisle’s first medals of the state championships, in a race the Thundering Herd are local powerhouses in.
The pair follows Carlisle’s tradition of almost always having a top distance senior with an underclassman in toe ready to take up the mantel by their own respective senior year. Their coronations have begun just a bit early, though.
Padgett learned this track season how to be the top runner on the team with senior Jack Wisner missing much of the first half. When the Pitt commit came back, it took the burden off Padgett. But with a surprise District 3 title last week and his state medal this weekend, Padgett can officially announce himself as Carlisle’s next distance stud.
“[With Jack out, it was] a really big, rude awakening for me to know what [is expected of me] next year,” Padgett said. “Now that it’s the end of the season, having a district title, an eighth-place state medal, I think it makes it a little easier.”
SHIPPENSBURG — Talk about a show-stealer.
The boys two-mile champ was North Allegheny’s Zachary Kinne, who ran a 9:01.94. Padgett said he and Boardman were constantly counting the runners during the race, trying to stay within four seconds of eighth. He was perhaps a bit off, but an impressive kick on the final lap overtook the three runners in front of him to make the podium.
Last 3200 race, boys 3A. Carlisle's Casey Padgett just, just, just grabbed a podium spot. Strong kick in the last 200 to go from 11th to 9th and then grab the final medal. 9:23.14 pic.twitter.com/VrMgeYTAYj— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) May 25, 2019
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“I just gave it everything I got,” said Padgett, who called his season “a blessing from God.” “And then about 70 meters left caught the final kid and just took it the whole way to the finish line.”
Toti was in the thick of a record-breaking race.
The top three runners — champ Emily Carter (10:16.02) of Bethel Park, Wilson’s Reagan Underwood and Warwick’s Kate Dickow — all broke the nine-year-old PIAA record of 10:21.06. Toti, who came in with a 10:30.86, finished less than three seconds off that mark.
Yep, there it is. Carlisle's first medal is Sophia Toti's fifth-place finish in the 2 mile in 10:23.84. That's her first state medal ever as well. She's had a great breakout season.— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) May 25, 2019
Crazy times early. pic.twitter.com/bIZgXDtvSe
“It really was [fast],” said Toti after stepping off the podium, clearly gassed. “Everyone was just going. But on the last two laps I started feeling tired — but still went as hard as I could.”
With seniors Meg Lebo (South Carolina) and Meg Tate (Dickinson) graduating in the next few weeks, Toti has assumed the status of the girls team’s best distance runner. It has been a year in the making after she won cross country medals at the district and state level; she now has a PIAA and two District 3 individual medals in track and owns the school records in the 3200, 1600 and 800, and she claimed state and district medals during cross country season.
She also had the 4x800 to prepare for an hour after her two-mile PR. She went on to close roughly a three-second gap between eighth and ninth in the final exchange to claim what the team believes is its first ever state medal in that relay.
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