For Alyssa Wise, a trip to Shippensburg proved to be double the fun.
Wise, a junior at Washington High School, won PIAA Class AA championships in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
In the 100-meter race, Wise battled past Brookville's Lanae Newsome to take first place with a time of 11.85 seconds. Vincentian's Ally Bartoszewicz came in fourth with a time of 12.24.
"I could see Alyssa got a really good start," Washington track coach Teresa Booker said. "[Newsome] was a little bit close to her ... Once Alyssa got out front, she knew she was bringing it home."
Wise was elated with her performance.
"Words can't describe how happy I was [with that 11.85 clocking]," Wise said. "That's actually a [personal record]."
In the 200-meter race, Wise faced Newsome and Bartoszewicz again, and produced similar results as in the 100.
Wise had recalled racing against Newsome at the state meet in 2012. The memory of losing to Bartoszewicz at the WPIAL championship meet nine days earlier was all too fresh. In the 200-meter dash at this year's WPIAL championship, Bartoszewicz took first place with a time of 24.93 seconds, leaving Wise with second at 25.15.
"I remember running against [Newsome] in the finals last year," said Wise. "But I was expecting Ally to be [pushing] me."
The race began in the unseasonably cold May weather. Wise found herself with some ground to gain.
"Coming off the bend, I was in fourth place," she said.
Wise pulled onto the straightaway and hit a wall of wind. She still passed two runners before winning the race in 24.85.
"[Bartoszewicz] beating Alyssa in the 200 WPIAL finals was a blessing -- Alyssa knew what she needed to do to get to that next step," said Booker.
For Wise, it meant practicing her starts.
"The key is to stay down and low," Wise said.
She and Booker agreed that muscle memory and repetition were the only ways to master the starting blocks. Prior to the state championship meet, Wise drilled by running 300s. During those reps, she practiced to get out of the blocks quickly.
Bartoszewicz's presence didn't provide Wise's only motivation at the state championship meet this year. Last year, Wise placed third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.40. She also took third in the 200 with a time of 25.25.
Booker explained that Wise's PIAA results from 2012 spurred her on for all of 2013.
"With everything that happened with her last year, she knew what she had to work on to get that gold," Booker said.
In addition to her starts, Wise worked through 2012 to become an expert at "the pacing game."
"She's worked on being able to pace herself [during preliminary heats] and save some energy for the finals," Booker said.
Booker added that Wise has also put in extra time in the weight room this season.
This summer, Wise is considering joining a track club either in Pittsburgh or Canonsburg. She noted that she was excited for the opportunity to run alongside athletes who would normally be her opponents in the WPIAL.
"[Running with] a four-by-100 team would be amazing," Wise said.
Booker appreciates the hardwork her protege has put in throughout the spring.
"She is a hard worker," Booker said. "She's dedicated to the sport."