NEPA Sports Nation

Shoats strikes gold; three Class 2A boys from district earn silver

By Tom Robinson,

SHIPPENSBURG – Next year, Justice Shoats may give the triple jump a try.

Why not?

Shoats became a state champion in the long jump in his first year in the sport of track and field when he led a group of 14 medal-winning boys efforts from District 2 May 28 at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships at Shippensburg University.

In just his seventh competitive meet in the event, Shoats jumped 22-9½ to win the state title over a familiar opponent.

Riverside’s Brandon Reed placed second with a jump of 21-9¼ for one of three silver-medal efforts by district athletes. The others were turned in by distance runner Chris Hines, Shoats’ teammate, and javelin thrower Thomas Dickinson, who led four Scranton Prep finishes in the top three to help the Cavaliers wind up second in the team race.

It was the newcomer to the sport, Shoats, who provided District 2’s only gold medal, boys or girls, on the opening day of the state championships.

Shoats went into the state meet seeded 10th and Reed was tied for 20th in a field of 26 jumpers before pulling off their surprise 1-2 finish.

“I did not expect this at all,” said Shoats, a junior who is a two-time, all-District 2 selection by and was the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 Player of the Year as a sophomore. “It’s a great accomplishment.

“ … My goal coming down here was just to place. I just wanted to get a medal. I did not think I was going to come in first, but I did.”

Reed, an all-state soccer and basketball player, had battled Shoats head-to-head when their schools met for the 2020 District 2 Class 3A basketball championship at Mohegan Sun Arena. He said he was not surprised by Shoats’ jumping ability.

The big finish made Shoats’ decision to combine high school track and field with playing AAU basketball for the NEPA Elite Coyle 17U team this spring pay off.

“I’ve been looking at track and field since freshman year, but I never actually came out,” said Shoats, who broke Owen Wignot’s Holy Redeemer long jump record and became the first state champion in the sport from either Holy Redeemer or its predecessor, Bishop Hoban. “My friends, my coaches, contacted me and got me to finally do it.”

The next move was deciding which events could best show off the athletic ability that has made Shoats so difficult to contain on the basketball court.

“I knew I could sprint, but also I knew I could jump really high,” Shoats said, “so I was thinking more the jumping events for track.”

Shoats ran the 100- and 200-meter dash and was part of the 400 relay team in addition to the long jump.

At Shippensburg, Shoats broke for the first time ever on his first attempt, but recovered to surpass 22 feet and take the lead on his second try. The official winning jump came next as he extended his lead going into the final three jumps.

While Shoats is starting up a new sporting venture that he said will probably include the triple jump next spring, Reed was competing in his final high school event.

“It’s my senior year,” Reed said. “The most important thing my parents and coaches told me was just to come out and enjoy the atmosphere and have fun.”

Reed led Riverside to Lackawanna League Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A basketball championships as part of a dream senior year across multiple sports.

“It’s an unbelievable ending to an outstanding high school career,” Reed said. “It’s been the time of my life.”

Hine finished strong, closing the gap on state champion Luke Miller from Jenkintown by running the fastest final lap in the field of 24 runners in the first medal event of the day, 3200-meter run.

“It was just a patience game,” Hine said. “I made my move when I had to.”

Scranton Prep’s second-place team finish behind Southern Columbia included two third-place finishes by sprinter London Montgomery and another by pole vaulter Jack Lynett.

There were two fifth-place finishers.

Sophomore Drew Mruk in the javelin had one of two medals by Wyoming Area, the other coming on an eighth-place finish by Nico Sciandra in the 300 hurdles.

Kevin Jumper from Holy Cross joined Hine and gave District 2 two of the top five finishers in the 3200.

Dunmore’s Cristian Buckley continued his 100-meter battles with Montgomery, also making the final and taking sixth place.

Mid Valley had 110-meter high hurdler and the 3200 relay team finish seventh.

Nanticoke’s Sincere Shiloh took eighth in the triple jump.

Kyle Marcinkevich, part of the medal-winning Mid Valley relay team, just missed an individual medal. He placed ninth, missing by one place and 13-hundredths of a second after placing second of eight in his heat.


(District 2 Results)

Long jumpJustice ShoatsHoly Redeemer  12622-9½
Long jumpBrandon ReedRiverside  22621-9¼
3200Chris HineHoly Redeemer  2249:21.05
JavelinThomas DickinsonScranton Prep  224190-1
100London MontgomeryScranton Prep  32611.00 (11.01 in qualifying)
200London MontgomeryScranton Prep  32522.21 (22.00 in qualifying)
Pole vaultJack LynettScranton Prep  32014-0
JavelinDrew MrukWyoming Area  524178-2
3200Kevin JumperHoly Cross  5249:31.45
100Cristian BuckleyDunmore  62611.03 (11.11 in qualifying)
110 high hurdlesNathan OliphantMid Valley  72415.62 (15.50 in qualifying)
3200 relayChristian Snee Michael Bennici Zachary Popko Collin PacynaMid Valley  7238:15.80
Triple jumpSincere ShilohNanticoke  82442-4 ¼
300 hurdlesNico SciandraWyoming Area  82341.26
400Kyle MarcinkevichMid Valley  92451.17
300 hurdlesTyler RozanskiLackawanna Trail122341.67
Triple jumpRyan MillsBlue RidgeT122441-7 ¾
110 high hurdlesDylan AquinoDunmore132415.93
DiscusLacota DippreLakeland1325144-3
Shot putJosh AngeloMid Valley142445-10
Pole vaultNick BarilloWestern WayneT1420No height
1600 relayJesse Rogers Nick Harder Henry Rogers Dominic PalmatierMontrose15243:34.69
High jumpHunter GmiterNorthwestT15255-8
High jumpBailey GrizzantiCarbondaleT15255-8
1600 relayCollin Pacyna Vincenzo Iacavazzi Zachary Popko Kyle MarcinkevichMid Valley17243:36.05
800Thomas LeeHoly Cross17232:05.23
200Gerald WelstedBlue Ridge192523.22
400Brandon ReedRiverside192453.02
Shot putDrew MrukWyoming Area192444-9 3/4
800Dylan WayElk Lake19232:06.39
3200 relayWilliam Roever Ronnie Prislupski Corey Scochin Jack AllardyceHoly Cross19239:00.82
400 relayDylan Aquino Cristian Buckley Michael Burke Karl KincelDunmore202446.01
1600Michael BranleyWyoming Area21264:36.63
DiscusPeter SabiaDunmore2225120-5
400 relaySam Castellani Ryan McAndrew Aden Johnson Ben FrederickScranton Prep222446.25
1600Christian SneeMid Valley25264:56.76


Scranton Prep’s big team finish:

Class 2A girls:

Class 2A Championship Blog:

Class 3A Championship Blog:

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