SHIPPENSBURG - He can do better.
Sheffield High School senior Kalil Slaughter said it himself on Friday after the preliminary heats of the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
Slaughter has already made quite the name for himself by his third trip representing the Wolverines at the PIAA Class AA meet. After advancing to the finals in the 100-meter dash and 200 as a sophomore, and earning medals in those events as a junior, he blasted his way to the semifinals in those events on Friday. His 4X100 relay team is already in Saturday's finals after setting a school record.
Photo by Patrick Waksmunski/Altoona Mirror
Beating the heat
Sheffield’s Kalil Slaughter wins his heat in the 100-meter dash preliminaries on Friday in the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
Slaughter finished first in his heat - and first among all runners - in Friday's 100-meter dash preliminaries. His time of 10.88 seconds was three-tenths of a second off the PIAA meet record set in 1979, and the only preliminary time under 11 seconds. Last year's state champ, Clairton's Trenton Coles, won his heat in 11.13 seconds for the second fastest 100 of the day. The top three in each of four heats, plus the next best four times, advance as the 16 in Saturday morning's semifinals. From there, the top eight reach the final, scheduled for the afternoon.
Slaughter also had the fastest time of all sprinters in the 200 preliminaries on Friday. In the fastest of four heats, Slaughter ran a 21.81 to advance to Saturday's semifinal race - which was just .01 slower than the PIAA record.
Sheffield's 4X100 relay team of Deonte Clay, Kwante Johnson, Dylan Reynolds and Slaughter - in that order - finished second in its heat in a school record 43.08 seconds, which qualifies among the top eight teams for Saturday's final.
"I'm ecstatic about how today went," said Sheffield boys track coach Bryan Gould of Kalil. "His eyes have been on the prize the last few weeks - he knew what he needed to do.
"The relay, coming in, they were ranked 23rd, and they climbed 19 spots because tomorrow they're coming in ranked fourth," said Gould. To beat their school record by seven-tenths of a second was amazing. Lane 2 will be a great lane to be in because it's a chasing lane; these guys have risen to the challenge all year long, so who knows what they're capable of."
Gould said Slaughter pulled away from his heat in the 200 "quite a bit," and pulled up a little at the end, just missing the state record. The semifinals become a much tougher race. "Tomorrow, there's no pulling up," said Gould.
Slaughter received "a counseling session" from Kristy Goldthwaite, who made the trip to Shippensburg on Thursday.
"She told me to enjoy it while it's here, because stuff like this doesn't happen to everybody," said Kalil. "She just told me to do it for me (and take the pressure of pleasing everyone else off). Once I started having fun, everything came so naturally. I felt awesome today. As far as doing better, as far as time-wise, I can get that 200 state record - I can do stuff like that. You can always push yourself to that next level."
Slaughter said the highlight of the day was definitely the relay.
"That was crazy... To see the look on Dylan's and Kwante's faces... it feels good to do this for three other guys," he said.
Youngsville senior Cassi Swartzbaugh nearly qualified for the Class AA girls 300-meter hurdle finals on Saturday. In her first trip to states, the school record-holder finished third in her heat with a 45.98, but her heat was the fastest heat of four.
Youngsville's Rocco Gatta was seventh in his heat in the Class AA boys 400, finishing in 52.02 seconds, failing to advance.
In Class AAA, Warren junior Sabrina Anderson tied for 12th in the high jump with a jump of 5-foot, 2-inches in her second trip to states.
Upper Dublin's Taylor Morgan won the state title with a height of 5-7.
Warren's 4X400 relay team of Jordan Willetts, Tanner Rosenberg, Luke Wortman and Caleb Hultman finished fifth in their heat in 3:26.09 and did not advance.
Warren's Ellis Beardsley did not advance past the heats in the AAA girls 800 and 1600, in which she was a double D-10 champ.
Kane Area High School's Patrick Anderson won the Class AA state championship in the pole vault with a height of 15-11, a PIAA record by one inch.
To put that into perspective, the state-qualifying standard is 13-6.
The 100-meter dash semifinals are slated for 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the 200-meter dash semifinals at 11:30 a.m. The 100 finals are scheduled for 12:15 p.m.
Rounding out the county's involvement will be the 4X100 relay finals at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, and the 200-meter finals at 2 p.m.
Warren's Austin Jerman will throw the javelin at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Shippensburg.