SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- It was gray and overcast with chilling winds and an occasional drizzle, a day more befitting of early March than late May.
But all Maddie Holmberg saw was the task at hand -- running down a narrow strip of track, leaping and landing into the awaiting sand pit.
Ultimately, it was enough for the Hempfield sophomore to have a career day, even if she fell painfully short of her event's ultimate prize.
Competing in the long jump in Class AAA, Holmberg had the best leap of her burgeoning career (19 feet, 10 inches) to capture the silver medal in the PIAA track and field championships Thursday at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
In a bizarre series of events, Holmberg actually tied Chambersburg's Marshay Ryan, but Ryan's second-best jump, which was her final jump of the event, was 19-5 -- one inch better than Holmberg's second-longest jump.
Even with that set of circumstances, Holmberg, who had never jumped farther than 19 feet in her career entering the day and finished fourth in the event at the WPIAL championships, had little to complain about.
"I think it all just came together at the right time," she said. "I'm so glad it was here that I decided to peak.
"I was surprised -- when I jumped, I knew it felt different and I knew it felt better, but when they said 19-10, I was speechless."
With her jump, Holmberg became just the fourth female athlete in WPIAL history to clear 19 feet in the long jump and came close to the all-time WPIAL record of 19-111/2, set by South Park's Nikita Lewis (1998) and Winchester Thurston's Cassie Richards (2001).
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough of Hopewell, who won the long jump at the WPIAL championships, finished sixth at 17-113/4.
Holmberg was not the only Hempfield athlete to have a standout performance.
Junior Tanner Unger finished second in the boys discus throw at 168-2, and sophomore Morgan DeFloria took third place in the girls javelin throw at 137-3.
Ambridge's India McCoy entered the meet tied for the top seed in the girls Class AAA high jump, but the four-time WPIAL champion was not able to capture an elusive PIAA title, finishing tied for sixth with South Park's Danielle Carmen.
Kristina Coyne of Chartiers Valley, who finished third in the event at WPIALs, finished third with a jump of 5-6.
"I know I can do better than what I did today," said McCoy, a Penn State signee. "I just wish I did better."
After winning the Class AAA shot put at the WPIAL championships, Latrobe's April Krivoniak finished third in the event at the PIAA meet, the same spot she finished last year. The senior recorded a personal record with a throw of 42-81/2, which was almost a foot better than her throw at the WPIAL meet.
"My first three throws, I wasn't very happy with and I got a little nervous after them because I didn't hit 40 [feet] yet," Krivoniak said.
"But then I made it to finals and my throws came back to me, so I was happy with that."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.