Berks Catholic's Brady Mider wins gold in Class 3A shot put on first day of PIAA Track and Field Championships
May 26—SHIPPENSBURG — A season filled with hard work, dedication and great expectations finally reached its peak for Berks Catholic's Brady Mider as the junior earned gold in the Class 3A shot put Friday with a throw of 58-9.75 Friday at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
"It definitely feels great," Mider said. "I wasn't going to Garage Strength working every day for nothing. Finally, I'm here. I got the job done and it feels really good. Honestly, it feels really good."
Last year, Mider threw 56-3.25 to finish second in the PIAA Class 2A shot put to Wyomissing's J'ven Williams. Mider holds the Saints' record in the event at 59-2.25 that he earned last week while earning District 3 Class 3A gold.
After winning his first District 3 gold this year, as well as gold in the 2023 at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Indoor State Championships, Mider stands alone as the best in Pennsylvania.
While he may have been heavily favored throughout the season, Mider never let the expectations get to him as he focused on improving one meet at a time.
"Beginning of this season was mostly just taking it meet by meet," Mider said. "I didn't make states at the time, I still had to win districts or make it by placing at districts. I was just going meet by meet and then when it came to the time I really focused and just wanted to get it done.
"I would say the past week or so it's definitely (my focus) been training and getting in the mindset to be a state champion."
In addition to his winning throw, Mider had throws of 56-6 and 54-7.75. Heading into the day, he hoped to eclipse the 60-foot mark, and although his final throw eclipsed that distance, it was ruled a foul.
"My last one in the finals it was 60-plus; apparently it was like 61, but I fouled it right at the toe board," said Mider, who went in as the top seed. "But it's all right. I'm still state champion at the end of the day and it feels great. So I've got nationals next, so I'll go out there and try my hardest."
Mider's closest competitor was Hempfield's Peyton Murray, who finished second at 54-7. Nerves and expectations aside, Mider said once he found his groove he was able to hit the necessary marks and outdo formidable competition to bring home the gold.
"Going into it, I was definitely a little nervous; I mean, who isn't nervous going into the biggest track and field competition in the state of Pennsylvania?
"There's definitely people that have PRs right around mine. That definitely pushed me to really go out there and pop one. I didn't want them to pop one and beat me on the last one. Everyone out there has the potential to throw one really far so I just wanted to go out there and throw it.
"At least for me, I always have nerves. (On) my first throw (I) was definitely nervous, but it's just the nerves. It's adrenaline too. Going out there, getting a good throw and good foundation to work with that felt really good. After the first throw it's smooth sailing and just getting after it."
Logan Wegman, a sophomore from Exeter, finished fifth place with a personal-best throw of 53-7.
Wegman, who is competing in the shot put for the first time this season, surpassed his own expectations as he started the year hitting marks around 35 feet and ended the year on the state podium.
"I feel really excited because this is my first year ever trying out shot and I'm a sophomore," Wegman said. "I was just hoping I could make it to states and I ended up placing fifth; I'm really excited about that.
"I just want to mainly thank my coach, (Kevin) Foehl. He definitely helped me out this throughout this entire thing because, starting off, I was only throwing 35 and he helped me put in that work to get me all the way up to 53."
Wegman also had throws of 51-9.5, 50-10, 51-2.75, 51-2.25 and 51-8. His previous personal best was 50-2.
"Going into districts my PR was 50 feet, 2 inches and I went and threw 49-11 there," Wegman said. "Then I put in the work over the week leading up to states and it worked out.
"It was the first throw in the finals and I wasn't sure if I was even going to make it to the finals. But that throw, everything just went together. When I threw it I knew it was gonna get launched. Putting that work in over the weekend definitely helped."
With plenty of time and potential for growth, Wegman has his sights on climbing the podium over the next two years.
"Junior year, I definitely want to set top three in states," Wegman said. "Senior year, (I'm) winning the whole thing."
Wyomissing's Collin Niedrowski placed sixth in the Class 2A javelin with a throw of 176-2. Niedrowski, who won gold in the District 3 at 181-8, said he had hoped to hit higher marks, but placed too much of an emphasis on adjusting his mechanics.
He also had throws of 156-8, 172-3 and 173-9.
"I wasn't very happy with my throws today," Niedrowski said. "Throw for throw, they were progressively getting better but they weren't the marks that I wanted to hit to be more successful. It is what it is.
"Technique-wise, during the regular season and preseason, I tended to throw it out to the side a lot. This week I was just focused on getting over the top and bringing it all together. I think I was just trying too hard and it didn't come together unfortunately."
Niedrowski, a junior, already has built a strong resume as a javelin thrower and is hopeful to continue that success next season. He is a three-time winner at the county level in addition to his win at districts.
"My goal is to get back here and hopefully win it next year," Niedrowksi said. "Of course, I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm going to strive for that goal.
"The entire regular season was a battle between me and my friends (teammates Drew Forrey and Issac Focht), they had an awesome season by the way, both of them. The county championship was my third in a row, hopefully going for four next year, but I don't want to jinx that, and I got my first district win this year, which I was super excited about.
"Basically just being here and being able to place in the final was all I could have asked for. It was a great experience overall this season."