SHIPPENSBURG — Seven years ago. That's when Fort LeBoeuf's Audrey Friedman initially sought to become a PIAA track and field gold medalist.
More specifically, to accomplish that in the same event favored by her father.
That event is the javelin. Erick Friedman, her father, was talented enough throwing one to become a former world masters champion.
He also was experienced enough to tutor his daughter on ways to throw it 142 feet, 9 inches.
That was Audrey Friedman's victorious distance for Friday's weather-delayed Class 2A girls javelin competition at the state meet. The senior's initial throw outside Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium held up as the longest through three preliminary rounds and three championship rounds.
"I'm very excited, and I'm very excited for all of my coaches that helped me get to this point," Audrey Friedman said. "I've been working for this for so many years, but this still feels unreal."
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Friedman had to wait an extra 90 minutes before she recorded her title-winning throw.
The meet was suspended shortly before noon because of a major thunderstorm and lightning. Fans, athletes and even media were required to vacate the stands ands seek shelter.
Live action didn't resume in full until 2 p.m.
Friedman, who placed fourth at the 2021 state meet, went into Friday as the significant favorite to stand atop the state's top-eight podium for that same discipline. The Penn State University recruit was seeded first based on her first-place District 10 toss of 149-8.
Punxustawney freshman Mary Gursky was seeded second (132-3). However, it was Belle Bosh, the 2021 silver medalist, who worried Friedman and LeBoeuf track and field coach Justin Blose.
Bosch, a Chestnut Ridge junior, was seeded third Friday at 131-10. She went back and forth with Friedman for the state's best javelin throw early this season.
Bosch was Friday's bronze medalist at 135-10. Evelyn Bliss, the fourth seed from Union-Allegheny Clarion Valley, was second at 140-11.
Initially, Friedman said her 17-foot seed advantage over Gursky didn't weigh in her mind.
"I wasn't super nervous leading up to this (week)," Friedman said, "so that was a plus. But I was getting closer to being nervous because (Bliss and Bosch) were getting closer to me, and because I didn't have the throws I wanted (Friday)."
Friedman's throw of 151-7 during the 2022 regular season remains the state's best for a female, according to pa.milesplit.com.
Friedman's father and coach began to congratulate her even before the 2A girls javelin results were declared official.
Blose, in particular, was emotional about what Audrey Friedman went through to become LeBoeuf's latest PIAA track and field champ.
"It's so well-deserved," Blose said. "She's one of the hardest workers we've had on the team. It's been four long years. She had one (meet) canceled on her because COVID-19 and she was hungry to return here (after finishing fourth) last year. You saw her determination through the offseason, so I know she was hungry for this. "
"That's why this is a great moment."
Balaski brackets 2A medalists
Friedman wasn't the the state's only girls javelin medalist from District 10.
Mercer's Julia Balaski, who started 10th, received the eighth and final medal presented. The senior's best attempt of 126-2 was more than five feet beyond her seed distance.
Balaski couldn't help but take notes during the few times she and Friedman competed together throughout their varsity careers.
"She's very skilled, so she's fun to watch," Balaski said. "I definitely tried to watch what she was doing and copy it."
The 2A girls javelin was Friday's only completed field event where two district females placed in the top eight.
Also on the podium
District 10's other 2A medalists were Oil City's Baine Snyder (tied for sixth in the 2A high jump at 5 feet), Reynolds' Grace Bresnan (sixth in the long jump at 17-5¼) and Mackenzie Herman (seventh in the 2A discus at 110-3).
Herman competed at Shippensburg less than 24 hours after she helped Reynolds' softball team beat Union City 9-0 in a District 10 2A semifinal at Hermitage. The Raiders will face Seneca in Monday's championship game at Penn State Behrend.
Herman admitted that training for two sports at the same time, and especially with postseason pressure added, has been quite the challenge.
"I was practicing the discus after Thursday's win (against Union City)," she said. "But I just wanted to get on the podium (Friday). I wasn't worried about any number or place."
Franklin field star Ashley Alcorn was the district's only female who medaled in a Class 3A event. The senior, who was seeded ninth in the shot put, moved up one spot to eighth with her best attempt of 38-3¾.
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The overall winners and District 10 results for completed events during Friday's PIAA track and field meet at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium. The top eight in each event received medals:
Class 2A girls
High jump: 1. Porschia Bennett, Towanda 5-6; 6. (four-way tie including) Baine Snyder, Oil City 5-0; 10 Gianna Bedel, Slippery Rock 5-0; 13. (tie including) Erika McGowan, Lakeview 5-0
Discus: 1. Justley Sharp, Homer Center 138-7; 7. Mackenzie Herman, Reynolds 110-3; 13. Mallory Brinling, Fairview 96-2
Long jump: 1. Baylee Blauser, Union-Allegheny Clarion Valley 18-6 3/4; 6. Grace Bresnan, Reynolds 17-5 1/4; 9. Julia Coffaro, Slippery Rock 17-1/2; 18. Jen Hunter, Fairview 16-3 3/4; 19. Skylar Riedel, Corry 16-3 1/2
Javelin: 1. Audrey Friedman, Fort LeBoeuf 142-9; 8. Julia Balaski, Mercer 126-2
Class 3A girls
Shot put: 1. Elizabeth Tapper, Hempfield Area 46-4 1/4; 8. Ashley Alcorn, Franklin 38-3 3/4
Pole vault: 1. Veronica Vacca, Mount St. Joseph 13-0. Note: McDowell's Emma Revak didn't clear a height.
Triple jump: 1. Shannon Mullin, State College 40-8; 19. Abigail Nichols, Grove City 36-2 1/4.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Fort LeBoeuf's Friedman wins PIAA title in javelin