The PIAA moved the state basketball championships back to Hershey this year - and the change helped the PIAA pocketbook.
The PIAA this week released financial information from the winter championships and the winter sports playoffs came in $67,975 above budget. One of the main reasons was the basketball playoff revenue, which was $90,758 above budget.
Part of the reason for the increased revenue in basketball was an attendance spike of 10,000 fans for the boys and girls championship games. The PIAA moved the basketball championships from Penn State to Hershey this year. Attendance at Giant Center in Hershey was 24,582 while attendance at the final year at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center was 14,421.
From 1976 through 2006 (with the exception of 1979 when the title games were played at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh), the PIAA title games were played at either Hersheypark Arena or Giant Center. The PIAA decided to move the games to Penn State in 2007. The games attracted 33,008 fans the first year at Penn State, but attendance dropped drastically in following years.
Besides ticket sales, the cost of rent at Giant Center in Hershey was much cheaper than the rent at Bryce Jordan.
Holmberg loses tiebreaker - and gold medal
The first day of the PIAA track and field championships are today at Shippensburg University and there was an interesting happening in the Class AAA girls high jump involving Hempfield sophomore Maddie Holmberg. She jumped exactly as far as the gold medalist. But Holmberg was given the silver medal because her second-best jump wasn't quite far enough.
Confused? Well, here's the story. Holmberg tied Chambersburg's Marshay Ryan for first place with a jump of 19 feet, 10 inches. In this event, if two athletes tie for first, the tiebreaker is the second-best jump. Holmberg looked in good shape with a second-best jump of 19-4. But on her final attempt of the event, Ryan jumped 19-5 and beat Holmberg for the gold.
The 19-10 by Holmberg is a monumental jump. She is only the fourth athlete in WPIAL history to clear 19 feet and her jump came close to the WPIAL best (in any meet) of 19-11 1/2, held by South Park's Nikita Lewis (1998) and Winchester-Thurston's Cassie Richards (2001).
It was a great effort by Holmberg.
Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who jumped 19-3 at the WPIAL championships, finished sixth at 17-11 3/4.
***** More from the PIAA track and field championships today: Cyre Vargo of Fleetwood High School set a Class AAA championshp meet record with a of 5 feet, 11 1/4 inch in the high jump. To put that in perspective, consider that it would have placed sixth in the WPIAL Class AA BOYS championships.
***** Belle Vernon opened Dan Palm's position of baseball coach. Palm guided Belle Vernon to a spot in last year's WPIAL AAA championship game, but the program was placed on two years probation by the PIAA because of a benches-clearing fight during a PIAA playoff game last year. Palm was one of the coaches ejected from the game.
Palm also was suspended by the district for three games this year for unspecified reasons.
***** From what I know, what I hear and from looking at other sources, don't expect any WPIAL baseball players to be selected in the first few rounds of this year's draft. In fact, according to Baseball America projections, there isn't a player in Pennsylvania who ranks as a top prospect for the draft.