SHIPPENSBURG - Charles Dickens could have written the narrative for the way the first day of competition turned out for local athletes in the PIAA Class AA track and field championships.
For Greenwood's Emily Fisher, it was the best of times - she met one of her goals, winning a state medal in the discus.
Teammate Jen Campbell might say it was the winter of despair - it certainly seemed like winter, with a cold bitter wind blowing across the field at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
Sentinel photos by CRAIG?UREY
Greenwood’s Emily Fisher throws the discus in the Class AA event in the track and field state championships Friday at Shippensburg University. Fisher finished sixth in the event.
David Brantley, the East Juniata hurdler, would probably use some of the lines in between those two in Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" - but epoch of incredulity might be the most appropriate passage.
For the second time in a week, Brantley was the victim of time - very little time. He missed advancing to the finals of the 300-meter hurdles by one spot. By 6/100 of a second.
Right after he ran, before the qualifying class was announced, he said, "The most nervous part of it is right before the race. But now the nerves are starting to set in to find out if I get to race again. I really want another chance at this."
He'll have to wait for next spring to get it.
At least he has a chance - Campbell, a high jumper, failed to clear the bar at the initial setting of 4 feet, 8 inches, making her three attempts the last of her career.
"Yeah, pretty much," she said. "I just really wanted it for my coach. I wanted to get over for him."
Campbell, who will attend Penn State Harrisburg in the fall, said the impact of athletics on her legs over the years will prevent her from competing in college - Friday's attempt was truly the last.
Fisher's next chance to win a state track medal is today - she qualified in the shot put, too, and has high hopes of climbing the podium a second time before the meet ends.
"That is normally a strong event here for me. Hopefully I can transfer that energy into shot and hopefully place again," she said.
While pleased with the hardware, she, like most track athletes, knows it's not just about winning but about improving. Her sixth-place throw of 116 feet, 4 inches was several feet below her seed, and below her seeded spot in the lineup.
"I had a list of goals. Getting to the state meet and medaling was one of them," she said. "I might not have PR'd but I'm happy with getting on the stand."
But she sees what could be, and will aim higher a year from now.
"Oh man, it just shows the potential that's there for senior year, and I can't wait to get here again," Fisher said. "You have to get over it and think of it as just a challenge and to throw your best."
Brantley's entire postseason has been defined in fractions of a second - so small that even the sum of those fractions is a fraction.
In the District 4 meet, he missed advancement on time by 7/100 of a second. He missed an advancing place by 1/100. Added together, you're still only a third of the way to the blink of an eye.
The 300 is one of the roughest races to run, even more so on a blustery day.
"This wind doesn't help you at all during this race," Brantley said. "The first part of it it's going against you, you get in front of the bleachers it's blocked. So the wind's nothing to your aid today here.
"It's always windy at Ship though. At the Shippensburg Invitational it was pretty windy around the turn and I managed to PR that day."
His goal, he said, was just to get the time. Because he stuttered over some hurdles, he had to try and make up time. He was third in his heat, trying for second - and a lower time.
"I knew my time wasn't going to be my best. So I was trying to keep in that second spot," he said.
Today, along with Fisher, Juniata's Neil Bodley will compete in the boys discus, and Tynita White of Mount Union is entered in girls shot put.