West York's Junaid hopes to live up to his top billing in District 3-AAA 100 dash
West York's Abdul Junaid delivered an impressive performance by winning the 100-meter dash at this year's Shippensburg Jack Roddick High School Invitational Track and Field Meet.
The West York senior put up a time of 11.10 seconds while competing against sprinters from around the state in the April event.
Junaid will return to the scene of his triumph (Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium) on Friday for the District 3 championships. He'll enter the Class AAA 100 as the top-seeded sprinter after capturing the York-Adams title last Friday. Junaid's time at the York-Adams Meet (:10.80) broke a more than 30-year-old school record.
"That Shippensburg meet was a warm-up for districts," Junaid said. "Having raced there earlier this year, I got used to the blocks. Last year, I think it (districts) overwhelmed me."
Junaid won't be in awe this year. He's going for the gold, aiming to climb to the top of the awards podium.
"I want to win districts," he said. "Getting to states and getting a medal is my goal. I've gotten stronger since last year, and I think I have a better drive phase now, and that sets you up for a better finish."
Junaid began his track-and-field career at West York in middle school, but it wasn't until the last couple of years when he really started to gain attention.
"I wasn't that good in middle school," he said. "It's been an uphill battle for me, but gradually, I kept getting better. My freshman year, Marcus Kinard was really a motivational person for me. But all of my teammates and coaches have been supportive."
Dealing with hamstring issue: Along with his top seed in the 100, Junaid, who plans to attend Duquesne University next year, is seeded ninth in the 200 dash.
It's not a certainty, though, that he'll run in both events. Junaid has been getting treatment on a hamstring, which began bothering him two weeks ago. He pulled out of the 200 final at the York-Adams Meet.
"He's the No. 1 seed in the 100 and the No. 9 seed in the 200, so it's a no-brainer (if AbduI picks one event)," West York head coach Julia Haynes said. "We'll see how he feels after the one (100)."
If Junaid enters just one event, it could still mean three races (preliminaries, semifinals and finals). If he competes in both the 100 and 200, he'll have six races. Six races in two days — high school track's survival of the swiftest.
"If you get caught up in the moment and do too much in one of the Friday races, you'll be sore for Saturday's final," Junaid said. "You want to make sure you qualify (for the final), but you want to have something left for the final, too."
Haynes, who won a District 3 gold medal while part of a West York relay team (with Abby Warner, Lori Mosser and Terri Hershberger), has enjoyed watching Junaid develop into a gold-medal contender.
"He really wasn't on the radar freshman and sophomore years," Haynes said. "But he was one of those kids who you knew had speed. He came out last year and he soared."
Other York-Adams athletes to look for: Biglerville's Danny Stoner, the defending champion in the boys' AA pole vault, is seeded first with a school-record vault of 14 feet, 7 inches.
Other York-Adams athletes holding top seeds are: Spring Grove boys' 400 relay team (Devin Wherley, Justin Johnson, Adam Warehime, Shay Feulmer and Logan Hall) in AAA, Grace Riedel of Delone Catholic, (girls' AA pole vault) and Bree Smith of Littlestown (girls' AA discus).
Brady Wilt won the the District 3-AA 3,200 run last year while competing for Biglerville. Wilt, who transferred to York Suburban for his senior year, is seeded seventh in the AAA 3,200 this year.
The top eight finishers in each District 3 event earn medals.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.