SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — At 5 feet 8, East Allegheny senior Lorenzo Fancher doesn’t possess the size you might expect for being one of the state’s top triple jumpers.

Not that he minds as much.

“The guys with the really long legs that are really tall, they have all the advantages,” Fancher explained. “Me? I just have to use my speed down the runway and the power of my legs will just carry through the air.”

Saturday, the power of those legs carried Fancher to a PIAA title.

In the final meet of his high school career, Fancher, a two-time WPIAL champion in the event, used a career-best leap of 45 feet, 6¾ inches to capture a gold medal in the Class 2A triple jump at the PIAA track and field championships Saturday at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium.

“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I finally go out with a big bang.”

It was the fourth appearance for Fancher at the PIAA championships, his best previous finish in the triple jump coming a year ago when he placed fifth. Fancher saved his best for last, both this season and for his career. His jump of 45-5½ at the WPIAL championships was a personal record, a mark he topped again Saturday on his first and fourth attempts with matching leaps of 45-6¾. Greensburg Salem’s Luke Rullo was second with a top jump of 44-11. Rullo, a sophomore, also was the runner-up to Fancher at the WPIAL meet.

While size hasn’t stopped Fancher from excelling, an injury did hamper him throughout this season. Not that it stopped him from attaining his ultimate goal.

“I was injured all year with tendinitis on the knee,” he said. “It was holding me back a lot. But I was like, ‘I’ve got to push through this.’”

Fancher, who finished 21st in the long jump Friday, plans on competing in college at Slippery Rock University.

Another gold for Griffith

Butler’s Drew Griffith held his shoes — white New Balance’s with a gold logo — while talking with reporters after his final race Saturday. Griffith has an NIL deal with the company and estimates he has upwards of 50 pairs of shoes.

As for PIAA gold medals, Griffith now has exactly two of them.

There was no national record this time, but Griffith ran to his second gold medal in as many days by winning the Class 3A 3,200-meter run in a PIAA-record time of 8 minutes, 43.72 seconds. Then, a few hours later, Griffith ran a leg on Butler’s 3,200 relay team that placed sixth.

Griffith, a senior, had broken PIAA and National Federation of High Schools records in the 1,600 a day earlier, but the NFHS record of 8:34.10 in the 3,200 Saturday was a bit out of his reach.

“I’m not too disappointed,” said Griffith, a Notre Dame recruit. “I was trying to save a little bit for the 4×800, trying to get my boys on the podium. I can’t complain about either race, so I’m happy with how things went.”

Griffith and fellow Notre Dame recruit Ryan Pajak of Ringgold were neck and neck midway through the 3,200 before Griffith formed a big lead. Pajak finished second in 8:54.16. Pajak was second and Griffith third in the race a year ago.

Murray closes career in style

Peyton Murray of Hempfield certainly did save his best for last.

A senior, Murray used the final throw of his high school career to produce a career-best mark of 186-6 on his way to winning the Class 3A discus championship for the second season in a row.

“It’s awesome,” Murray said. “I would have liked to have gotten it on the first throw to take the edge off a little bit, but it’s awesome to do it on the last throw. I also hit a nice PR at a place I like to throw.”

Murray’s second-best throw Saturday was 177-2, which came on the fourth of his six attempts. That still would have been good enough to outlast runner-up Gavin Schmidt of Strath Haven, whose top throw was 177-1. Penn-Trafford senior Matt Sarnowski finished third (173-6).

Murray’s consecutive PIAA discus titles came a week after he was denied a title three-peat in the event at the WPIAL championships. Murray, a Notre Dame recruit, and Sarnowski, a Penn State recruit, dueled at meets throughout the season, and Sarnowski edged Murray for the WPIAL title. Sarnowski also won the bronze medal at the PIAA championships in 2023.

Schoedel shines

Mohawk junior Jaxon Schoedel now has a PIAA track and field gold medal to go along with the PIAA cross country gold he claimed in the fall.

A day after placing second in the 1,600, Schoedel ran to the title in the Class 2A 3,200 courtesy of a winning time of 9:10.45. Schoedel won the PIAA Class 1A cross country title last season.

“It’s very confidence inspiring and makes me want to drive for more,” said Schoedel, a winner in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the WPIAL championships.

Schoedel, the third-place finisher in 2023, held just a slight lead Saturday after the seventh of eight laps, but used a big final lap to pull away from runner-up Kevin Sherry of Coudersport (9:16.40). Schoedel ran that final lap in 1:02.10 and Sherry in 1:07.30.

“Today I wanted to come out and show them what I’ve got,” Schoedel said. “I know I’m a good 3,200 runner, so I just wanted to head to the lead and run what I could despite it being pretty hot.”

Fort Cherry 4×100 golden

A day after running the fastest time in preliminaries, Fort Cherry’s 400 relay team ran to a Class 2A title.

It came with one of the WPIAL’s top football players running a strong anchor leg, too.

Matt Sieg and the Rangers captured the gold medal after a season-best time of 42.43 seconds, improving on their time of 42.64 from a day earlier.

Sieg is considered one of the top sophomore football players in the state. His scholarship offer list includes Pitt, Penn State and Wisconsin. The relay team also included seniors Dylan Wudkwych and Tegan Henke, and junior Shane Cornali.

“They got the baton before me and had a decent lead, I’d say,” Sieg said. “Yesterday I tweaked a hammy a little bit, so I was a little nervous coming into this. But this was for a gold medal. I sucked it up, ran my [butt] off, and it was a great race for everybody. We got it done.”

Sieg and Cornali also were big contributors on Fort Cherry’s football team that won the WPIAL Class 1A title and was the PIAA runner-up in 2023.

Hall wins squeaker

When Dale Hall wins a PIAA title, he likes to do it in thrilling fashion.

A senior at Hampton, Hall ran to the gold medal in the Class 3A 800 after registering a time of 1:51.29, just 0.06 faster than North Hills junior Kayden Lightner, who finished in 1:51.35. Hall and Lightner also finished 1-2 at the WPIAL championships.

It was the second PIAA gold medal for Hall, a Liberty recruit who won the 1,600 a season earlier when his winning time of 4:08.52 edged Butler’s Drew Griffith (4:08.59) by only 0.07.

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at