Voyzey claims state title; finishes season undefeated in high jump

Voyzey won her first state title with a jump of five feet, seven inches.


Tyrone sophomore Erika Voyzey joined some very elite company on May 23 as she became only the sixth PIAA Track and Field State Champion in the history of Tyrone Area High School.

Voyzey captured her first PIAA Championship in the high jump by clearing 5-7, completing an amazing season in which she went undefeated in her signature event.

“It didn’t sink in [at first].  I went undefeated this year. This is states and I’m on the medal podium. This is exciting!” said Voyzey of her win.

“[I’m] overjoyed!” said Tyrone head track and field coach Chris Shedd, “She earned it and she stepped up with quality jumps.”

Voyzey clears the bar at 5-6. This jump clinched the state title.
Voyzey clears the bar at 5-6. This jump clinched the state title.

“My goal was to finish top three…coming in they told me I was seeded first,” said Voyzey, “[but] seeding doesn’t matter because anyone can have a good day.”

The win was not without some drama however, as a quirk in the championship meet schedule almost cost Voyzey the state title.

The prelims of the girls 4 by 100 relay, in which Voyzey also competed, occurred right in the middle of the high jump finals.  Voyzey and her nearest competitor had just cleared 5-4 when she was called away from the high jump to run a leg of the girls 4 by 100 relay.

“I crossed the finish line [in the 4 x 100 relay] and had to jump right away,” said Voyzey.

Still tired from running the relay, Voyzey had trouble at 5-5 and almost lost the title.

“I wasn’t focused and missed twice,” said Voyzey.

After seeing Voyzey miss, the second place finisher, junior Lindsey Carl of Central Columbia High School thought she had won the event at 5-5, and according to Voyzey, began to celebrate with her teammates.

But on her final attempt Voyzey was able to calm herself.  She cleared the bar at 5-5 with plenty to spare and moved on to 5-6, which she cleared on her first attempt.

Carl then missed all three of her attempts at 5-6, making Voyzey the champion. She finished the competition by clearing 5-7, just shy of her own personal record of 5-8, set earlier this year at the Shippensburg Invitational.

“We’ve had three state champions in the past five years, but Tyrone Area has had six state champs total to my knowledge. Kevin Jenkins in the 300 hurdles in 1983, Joe Thomas in the high jump in 1995, Emily Ingle in the 1600 meters in 2006, Nick Patton in the 200 meters in 2010, Charles Wilson-Adams in the high jump in 2012, and now Erika,” said Shedd.

As for next year, “I’m setting my goals high” said Voyzey.  She hopes to clear six feet. The PIAA state record is currently 5’10”.

It didn’t sink in [at first]. I went undefeated this year. This is states and I’m on the medal podium. This is exciting!

— Erika Voyzey

“I would love to see Erika place top three in the Penn Relays [next season], then eventually compete for the national title,” said Shedd.

“Erika leads by example,” said Shedd, “she is one of the hardest workers in practice, and she always brings her A-game every meet.”

“Erika always works really hard in practice and she’s always trying to make herself better,” said junior teammate and fellow jumper Davina Lee, “She’s very modest about her ability. She would help people on the other teams and she’s a good person to jump with.”

Shedd and Voyzey also credit the work of volunteer assistant coach Wally Miller for Voyzey’s success.

“Wally has been driving to Tyrone from Somerset as a volunteer coach these past three years, first working with Charles [Wilson-Adams], then with Erika, and now with all of the jumpers on the team. Wally is a very skilled jumps coach and it has been a privilege to learn from him as he has coached our athletes. The results are obvious. It takes great talent to win a gold medal, but the keen eye of an experienced coach helps to ensure that the natural talent is well-focused,” said Shedd.