East Xtra: Hempfield senior rises, races to occasion

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In her last practice before heading to the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships, Hempfield's Bridget Guy cleared 12-6 on the pole vault.

Last weekend at the state championships, she did it again and it got her a gold.

Guy, a senior, was the only girl to clear the mark in the competition and she took home the gold in the pole vault for the first time in her career Saturday in Shippensburg.

"It was perfect," said Guy, who will compete at the University of Virginia in the fall. "I couldn't think up a better way to end [my high school career]."

Guy took fourth in the PIAA meet last season, and then placed second behind Greensburg Salem's Courtney McQuaide at the indoor state meet in March.

Around that same time is also when the pain in Guy's legs started to increase. The pain was especially bad in her left leg, which is her push off leg for the pole vault, as well as the long jump.

She went to a doctor, who diagnosed her with a bad case of shin splints, and she had to take two weeks off from competition.

"I just took that time to get my mind right," Guy said. "It felt a lot better after I returned, but by the end of the season it started getting sore again."

She had a successful WPIAL meet, taking second in the pole vault, again falling to Greensburg Salem's McQuaide, placing eighth in the long jump and running the first leg of the Spartans' first-place 400 relay team.

That set her up for a busy PIAA meet.

She competed in the long jump Friday and placed 21st with a best jump of 16 feet, 2.75 inches. She also helped Hempfield's relay team reach the finals.

"I think she was disappointed with how she did in the long jump, but she was able to put that behind her and come out strong Saturday," Hempfield track and field coach Ron Colland said.

Guy was one of 11 competitors to attempt the 12-foot mark in the pole vault. But while the other 10 were unable to clear any height higher than that, Guy kept climbing. She surpassed her previous personal-best of 12-3, clearing the 12-6 mark her second attempt.

After that, she was pretty confident in how the rest of the event would play out.

"I wasn't really that nervous after I made it," Guy said. "I did my best and I kind of just knew I was going to win."

She did in fact win, and she carried that momentum into the relay.

Guy ran the opening leg, followed by Lauren George, Maddie Holmberg and Jasmine Jones. The quartet ran a 47.04, which was 0.41 seconds faster than second-place Upper Darby and 0.77 seconds faster than their state-winning time last season.

"Winning the pole vault gave me a bunch of adrenaline and I just tried to use that in the race," Guy said. "We won it last year, and we thought we had a good shot of winning it again. We did the best we could and it was exciting."

The wins in the pole vault and relay gave Hempfield four gold medals, with Holmberg placing first in the long jump and 300-meter hurdles. Jones also added a third-place finish in the 200 meters.

In total, the Spartans finished with 52 team points, besting Cheltenham by 11 points to win their second consecutive PIAA title.

"Our team is really, really close," Guy said. "And at these big meets, it's really nice to have your friends there with you to cheer you on and give you the support that you need."

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