SHIPPENSBURG — Raghib “Rocket” Ismail posed for a photo before doing something big.
He wasn’t showing his Meyers shirt.
He laid his plaque on the grass pitch and unwrapped his arm from his brother, Qadry, before unzipping his blue track jacket to proudly display his school spirit in the middle of the Shippensburg University football field. Rocket became one of the newest members of the PIAA Track and Field Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Championship Meet and wanted to show off his roots.
“I feel a flood of gratitude and I am extremely grateful to live in an environment that has allowed me to have the opportunity to reach my potential and to be able to be part of this ceremony,” said Meyers graduate Ismail. in 1988.
During the built-in break after the 3200 relay, the PIAA assembled the entire Hall of Fame Class of 2022 on the 50-yard line for the ceremony. Qadry Ismail, who has already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, presented the award to his brother.
In Rocket Ismail’s high school track and field career, he won individual state titles in the 100m and long jump and ran legs in the winning 400-meter relay and silver medal-winning relay teams. 1600 in his final season. He added a second-place finish at the Golden West Invitational, and his highest grade is No. 4 in state history.
For the Class 3A long jump, the three-time state event-winning mark of 24 feet, 2¾ inches is No. 8 on the all-time state list. Rocket is also the second-fastest Pennsylvanian in state history with his PTFCA 60-meter indoor sprint time of 6.28 seconds.
With Qadry, Rocket led Meyers to Class 2A tag team titles in 1987 and 1988.
“Just the fact that my brother was the one who introduced it is very special,” he said. “And for me, that’s like the icing on the cake. Knowing exactly what we’re going through and being able to get to this point makes it so special.
After the induction ceremony, Ismail took photos with many other inductees and officials. He also took photos with current athletes, including members of Holy Redeemer’s 400 relay team just before they won a silver medal in the event.
Ismail also thanked current Wilkes-Barre area track and field coach Paul McGrane for being instrumental in his induction. He was very happy to see Wyoming Valley Conference schools displayed on the scoreboard and noted that it transformed him and his brother into the athletes they have become.
To local children who want to follow in his footsteps, Ismail said they should be prepared to do whatever they can to “shine their light”. Things like district and state championships and Hall of Fame inductions are part of the athletes’ legacy as members of the WVC.
“The older I get, the more I treasure (memories),” he said, “and the more grateful I am to be in an environment that develops the city’s young athletes and allows us to be in a place where we could reach our full potential.