SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- In track and field's marquee event, the 100-meter dash, few saw Julius Rivera and Jonathan Dorogy as threats.
The seniors from Gateway and Seneca Valley, respectively, did not compete in any PIAA individual events a year ago, making them relative unknowns in the Pennsylvania track and field community.
But by the race's final stages, all Rivera and Dorogy could see was each other, separating themselves from the pack.
Entering the race as two of the favorites after preliminary runs, Rivera won the 100 in Class AAA, with Dorogy 0.09 seconds behind in second place. With his victory, Rivera became the first WPIAL boys champion in the 100 since 2003, and it's just the second time WPIAL athletes finished first and second in the event since 1979.
"Through my whole high school career, I had never been at a meet like this," Rivera said. "It really means a lot to end my high school career like this."
The history the two made was impressive, but it was also unlikely considering the career paths of Rivera and Dorogy.
A multi-sport athlete for much of his career, Dorogy did not start running outdoor track until his senior year at Seneca Valley. Though he ran indoor track and knew the "ins and outs" of the sport, Dorogy was still largely unfamiliar.
"I never thought I'd be running track my senior year, so to be able to do this at the end of my season, it's just unreal," he said.
While Dorogy's absence from the event's biggest stage came from a lack of participation, Rivera's was from a lack of production.
A year ago, Rivera was unable to participate in the WPIAL championships in the 100 and only participated in the PIAA championships on the Gators' 400-meter relay team.
Signs emerged the past month that the two could make a mark on the PIAA level, perhaps even together. A series of close competitions began at the WPIAL championships where Rivera beat Dorogy by 0.02 seconds. Dorogy followed that by posting the top preliminary time Friday.
"It's a battle," Dorogy said. "Me and Julius have been going at it for three meets now, or so, that I've been at."
Though their paths weren't conventional, Rivera and Dorogy ultimately found a common destination -- the winners' podium, where they proudly stood as the two fastest high school athletes in the state.
"Every time I went out to practice," Rivera said, "I had this in my mind all year -- that this was my goal."
Correction, May 26, 2013: Julius Rivera did qualify to compete in the WPIAL championships in 2012. An earlier version of this story inaccurately stated his ineligibility.mobilehome - hsother
Craig Meyer: email@example.com and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG. First Published May 26, 2013 4:00 AM