SHIPPENSBURG - Darien Knudsen, the lone Class AAA entrant remaining in the PIAA track and field championships Saturday, learned that he and the track were formidable opponents in his effort to medal in the 3,200-meter run, the first event of the day.
Knudsen looked good to meet his goals early in the event, but struggled as the race went on.
Knudsen, whose time put him outside the top 20, was in the front-running group early, even holding position as the starters from the top of the track were allowed to drop to the rail.
Sentinel photo by CONRAD?SHANK
Mifflin County’s Darien Knudsen competed in the Class AAA?3,200-meter run Saturday in the PIAA meet at Shippensburg University.
"I did get a really good start and I was surprised they let me up there," he said. "I started to slow down at the beginning because it felt pretty fast. I got out good but I just bit off a little bit more than I could chew."
By the second circuit, he was outside the medal crowd but holding position well in the front pack. But he started to drop as the runners broke into three groups, with Knudsen at that point in the second.
"I felt the separation and I tried to pull it up a little bit. I just went up and fell right back," he said.
Overall, he said, he wanted to better. The good news is, he has another chance to - he's only a junior.
"I don't know what the last time was to medal, but I definitely wasn't looking to come down here to run a 9:38," he said. "I was at least hoping to break 9:33. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed."
And the plan for next year?
"I want to talk to my coach. He got me a lot of speed - I like that - but I don't think my mileage is up to have the endurance," he said.
The race was notable because two runners eclipsed the PIAA record on the way to the finish line. Top-seed Tony Russell of West Chester Henderson finished second behind Council Rock North's Ross Wilson; both were ahead of the previous mark. Wilson's 8:56.29 will stand as the new record.