EXETER – Vanessa Shedlock had a big week.
As a result, the Wyoming Area senior will get to extend her high school sports career another week and add to her athletic activities in college.
During a signing ceremony at the high school May 12, Shedlock announced her commitment to attend and run track and field at Slippery Rock University, where she will receive a partial athletic scholarship.
Then, she went out and performed with the spotlight on her.
Shedlock headed to her future school the next day where she made the cheerleading squad in a tryout.
Then, at Tuesday’s District 2 Track and Field Championships, Shedlock, who had previously been on winning relay teams, won her first individual district gold medal in the 400-meter dash. The gold medal put her in the May 26-27 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships at Shippensburg University where she will also compete in the triple jump after surpassing the state qualifying standard during a second-place finish.
Shedlock was concerned about her district performance on the day of her signing ceremony.
“I want to do really well,” said Shedlock, who had a late lead in the 400 get away after a long day of competition during her sophomore year. “The past couple of years, I’ve been either injured or sick.
“I’ve done the best I could, but for my last year I want to make a comeback.”
She did just that.
After establishing herself as the district’s top 400-meter runner right from the start, by breaking the minute mark early, she went into Tuesday’s meet as the top seed. Shedlock won in 58.06 seconds, taking the title by 3.29 seconds as the only finisher under a minute.
Shedlock was recruited primarily for the 400 and is not sure if she will jump or do other events in college.
Wyoming Area coach Joe Pizano said she is capable.
“She’s been doing an awful lot since she was in seventh grade,” Pizano said. “She’s probably the most versatile track and field athlete I’ve been around.
“If she high jumped, she could probably contend for a district championship. She could definitely triple jump in college.”
Having also run the 100 been on championship 400 relay teams, Shedlock made the state meet with a triple jump of 37-3 ½, just a quarter inch short of another gold medal.
Also a participant in competitive cheerleading, Shedlock was on the cheerleading squad at Wyoming Area through high school and was part of the school qualifying for the state championships in their first year as a PIAA member in competitive cheer.
She plans to study physical therapy and exercise science.