Entering the place of his approaching destiny, Marc Minichello gave the University of Pennsylvania a glimpse into the future.
It looks pretty bright.
Minichello set a personal record with a throw of 202-2 at Franklin Field to finish second in the high school boys javelin throw Friday at the prestigious Penn Relays, one of the largest relay carnivals in the world.
“Pretty incredible,” Minichello, Wyoming Area’s star thrower, said. “I was looking to just throw where I was at — at least come in fifth. To jump up three spots, incredible.
“I can’t be more happy.”
Minichello finished second only to the 238-6 put up by Tzuriel Pedigo of Parkview Baptist in Louisiana at the Franklin Field complex where the Warriors standout will spend his college career.
“So this was like a little home meet for me,” Minichello said. “He (Pedigo) jumped out with a really good throw, 220-something on his first throw. I said, ‘OK, that guy might be a little out of reach.’ But everyone else was pretty close. My coach said, ‘Those guys, you could definitely jump them.’ “
Minichello’s distances have been jumping up for awhile, and he finally cracked the 200-foot mark for the first time in his career in a Wyoming Valley Conference meet against Hazleton Area last week.
“He’s been PR-ing every other week,” Wyoming Area coach Joe Pizano said. “When he threw at the (regular season) meet the other day, his back was a little sore. He bounced back, came out today and let it fly.”
Minichello’s silver medal performance came a day after Berwick’s defending PIAA gold medalist Payden Montana easily won the Penn Relays girls shot put throw.
Montana entered the Penn Relays, an invitation-only event that regularly boasts national and international fields, as the second seed in the shot put behind Shelby Bigsby of Montclair High School in New Jersey.
That only fueled the fire of Montana, who won the event with a throw of 50-7 to best the 47-1.5 distance of second-place finisher Alexis Clark of James Monroe in Virginia while Bigsby placed third at 46-10.75.
“They went by indoor (track championships) numbers, and this past indoor season, I was second in the nation,” Montana said. “We were only a couple of inches apart. I was hoping to challenge her (Bigsby) this time.”
Her winning throw Thursday came on her third and final attempt of preliminaries, and nobody else matched it through the finals. It was the fourth time this season Montana broke one of her own school records — right after she set a new Berwick discus standard with a throw of 153-4.5 in a victory over Meyers on Tuesday.
“Yes, she’s done it again. She keeps breaking them,” Berwick coach Bob Calarco said. “I’m very proud of her, but I’m also very happy for her. She has worked tenaciously. If there was ever a model of what a Division 1 athlete is, she’s that model. She’s committed herself to being the best there is.”
That means all-time.
Thursday’s throw inched Montana closer to the 38-year-old PIAA Class 3A championship record of 50-1.25 set by Trinity’s Elaine Sobansky in 1980 and the overall record of 50-10.75 set by Center’s Allyn Laughlin in Class 2A in 2006.
“I’m only four inches away from it now,” Montana said. “I definitely want to get it, and then some.”
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski