Maddie Holmberg highlights Hempfield's rare repeat as PIAA track and field champs



SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- After every event at the PIAA track and field championships, and before athletes are announced for their medals, meet officials keep the top eight finishers in a holding tent with benches.

They should have just given Maddie Holmberg an assigned seat in the tent and some marshmallows to roast. She spent more time in the tent than a camping trip.

Holmberg, a junior at Hempfield High School, put on one of the most versatile performances by a girl from the WPIAL. Whether it was jumping over a hurdle, leaping into a sand pit or running with a baton, Holmberg had a weekend of golden moments -- and a few historical.

Saturday at Shippensburg University, Holmberg won the PIAA Class AAA 300-meter hurdles with the best time by a WPIAL girl (42.73 seconds), and she also ran a leg on the winning 400 relay team that ran the fifth-fastest time in WPIAL history (47.74).

This came one day after she won the long jump with the best mark by a WPIAL girl (20-1).

"I think to celebrate, I'm just going to go home and rest," said a worn-out, but jubilant Holmberg.

And on top of it all, 5-foot-9½ Holmberg led Hempfield to the Class AAA team championship for the second consecutive year. Only three other girls teams from the WPIAL have won team titles since the PIAA started girls championships in 1977.

But there has never been a girl from the WPIAL like Holmberg. Hurdle, jump, sprint. She did it all with grace, but yet power and strength. She is the first from the WPIAL to win long jump and 300 hurdles titles in the largest classification at the PIAA level. She got emotional after he long jump and 300 hurdles.

"I don't think I have any emotions left. This is all just crazy," said Holmberg, whose father, Rob, played football at Penn State and in the NFL for eight seasons.

Holmberg's sister, Gabby, was a part of the 400 relay team along with Bridget Guy and Jasmine Jones. Guy also won the pole vault, Jones was third in the 200 and teammate Morgan DeFloria was third in the javelin.

"All [of the championships] mean the most to me in different ways," said Holmberg, who also plays volleyball at Hempfield. "To be able to win the relay with my best friends and sister means so much. To get to 20 feet in the long jump, I can't even put into words what that means. And the 300 hurdles I'm shocked. I came around the bend and no one was next to me and I was, like, 'Oh my gosh. I can do this.' Then coming down the home stretch and hearing everyone cheering and hearing my time, it was just great."

For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.


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