She was standing at the very end of the state medal stand, beaming over the eighth and final award the PIAA handed out in her event.
To Olivia Giambra, it may as well have been made of gold.
Giambra went from a 12th seed to an eight-place finish in the girls Class 3A long jump Friday, pulling off the biggest surprise from a group of Wyoming Valley Conference competitors who all found magical moments on the opening day of the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.
“Amazing,” is how Giambra, a Pittston Area junior, described her first medal of her third state championship appearance. “I came in here (seeded) 12th. To leave with an eighth-place medal feels awesome.
“It feels like first place.”
In the triple jump on Saturday, Gaimbra failed to make the finals after posting a 35-8.
The long-legged leaper hit a distance of 17-6 inches in one of her first jumps during the preliminary round, which put her in the state’s final nine competitors.
“And it carried over,” Giambra said. “I was confident it would carry over to the finals.”
“It was a very good day for Olivia,” Pittston Area coach Joe Struckus said. “She was focused today. (It was) pretty much just (a result of) her work ethic. She’s the last one in the pit every day.”
Michael Harth was one of three Patriots competing in multiple events at the state championships. In the 400, Harth finished in 11th out of 27 runners. His time was 49.87.
Harth was also part of the Pittston Area 4x400 relay squad. Along with Joshua John, Austin Naples and Rich Weinstock, the team
Pittston Area’s 4x800 relay team, coming of a district championship, ran a 9:38.05 in the preliminaries. That was good enough for ninth place in its heat. The final tally had the Patriots finishing 16th in the championships. The team is made up of Madison Mimnaugh, Tara Johnson, Eastin Ashby and Samantha Mayers.
Mimnaugh missed the state finals by one spot and less than a second in the 800. The Pittston Area sophomore was 13th in 2:19.44. In the 400, Mimnaugh posted a time of 59.14 in the prelims. She was 22nd out of 30 runners.