CoEd Varsity Track
Posted Apr 29, 2019 at 6:05 PMUpdated Apr 29, 2019 at 6:06 PM
Annie Wicker set a personal best in the 800 at the MAC Championships. Despite that accomplishment, the Times’ Girls Athlete of the Week won’t be running it at the WPIAL championships. Instead, she’ll go for gold in the 1600 and 3200.
The 800-meter run isn’t a regular event for Annie Wicker. The Quaker Valley junior and two-time WPIAL cross country champion typically tailors her track schedule around running the 1600 and 3200.
Still, when she gets a chance, Wicker and the Quakers’ coaches like to slot her into the 800 as a change of pace. Last week at the MAC Championships was one of those opportunities. Along with a gold medal in the 1600, Wicker won the 800 with a personal best time of 2:21.84.
“I’ve run it in some dual-meets to kind of push myself,” said Wicker, the Times’ Girls Athlete of the Week. “It’s fun to do it where it’s official, instead of a hand-time at a dual-meet. I haven’t had an 800 PR in a while, so that was nice.”
Since it went so well, might the 800 become more of a regular part of Wicker’s repertoire?
“I definitely won’t be doing it at WPIALs,” Wicker said with a laugh. “I’m definitely more of a miler or a two-miler. I just don’t have the speed for it.”
Wicker is more at home in the longer distances, including the 1600. Her time of 5:10.80 was good enough for a gold medal at the MACs, but the time wasn’t her focus. Instead, she zeroed in on a strategy with her coaches and forced herself to stick to it.
“We saw who the competitors were and decided that was the best way to go about it,” Wicker said. “Something I think I struggle with is developing a race plan and sticking to it. That’s something I’ve tried to work on and in distance events it’s such a huge thing.”
Wicker finished second at the WPIAL championships in the 1600 as a freshman and third as a sophomore, and she earned fifth place in states last year. Wicker also finished second in the 3200 at the WPIAL championships as a sophomore, though she opted not to compete in that event in the state championships.
The state championships feature preliminary heats in both events, which can lead to more wear-and-tear for distance runners than they’re typically used to. If she qualifies in both events this year, she may opt again to just focus on the 1600.
“That takes a toll on you, running the mile and then running the two-mile, then the 1600 again,” Wicker said.
For now, her preparation is geared toward the WPIAL championships. She’ll return to running the 1600 and 3200 on Friday in the Baldwin Invitational. Wicker figures if she can cut her times down, then she’ll be in the mix for a WPIAL title and can just let those races play out in a couple weeks.
“I want to go under five minutes in the 1600 and under 11 minutes in the 3200. Those time goals have been there for a while,” Wicker said.
The 2019 WPIAL individual track championships are Thursday, May 16 at Slippery Rock University.
By: Karen Kadilak
Friday, May 3, 2019 | 5:00 PM
Quaker Valley senior Dom Lagnese set a school record in the discus and, in the process, established himself as a favorite at the WPIAL Class AA track and field championship meet May 16.
Lagnese recorded a throw of 160 feet, 3 inches April 11 against New Brighton. He bettered the school record set by Sam Yarrington in the 1990s.
The throw put Lagnese on top of the WPIAL performance list by close to 4 feet as of April 29.
“I want to compete with the rest of the top throwers of the state,” Lagnese said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that I win states.
“I just want to be able to say to myself when the season is all said and done that I did the best I could do.”
Top finishers at the WPIAL championship will advance to the PIAA meet May 24-25.
Lagnese placed fifth in the WPIAL and 14th in the PIAA last season. In 2017, he was third in the WPIAL and sixth in the state.
Quaker Valley coach Jerry Veshio said he believed it was a matter of time before Lagnese got the school record.
Lagnese said it was his goal to get on the record board. He also competes on the Quakers 400-meter relay team, which Veshio said is an unusual double.
Since taking over in 1998, Veshio said he has coached only one or two elite throwers who were sprinters.
“He’s a great kid,” said Veshio, adding Lagnese is the type to come early to practice and stay late.
Lagnese is considering walking on at Pitt next season.
“I was deciding between Denison for track and Pitt,” said Lagnese, a captain on the soccer team last fall. “I chose Pitt because I want to study sports medicine.
“I thought (Pitt) was my best option.”
By: Karen Kadilak
Friday, May 10, 2019 | 8:10 PM
Quaker Valley junior Annie Wicker is among favorites in the girls 3,200-meter run at the WPIAL Class AA track and field championship meet Thursday at Slippery Rock.
But wanting to save herself for the 1,600, she decided to compete in the 800 instead.
Wicker ranked second in the 3,200 (11 minutes, 00.94 seconds), third in the 1600 (4:58.26) and fourth in the 800 (2:21.84) on the WPIAL performance list as of May 5.
“I decided that the 3,200 might have been too much with the 1,600 since the time between WPIALs and states is so short,” said Wicker, the WPIAL runner-up in the 3,200 last season. “Running the mile and 3,200 at Baldwin (Invitational meet May 3) really took a lot out of my legs.
“(My coach and I) figured that the shorter race, the 800, would be a better decision as opposed to doubling with the 3,200.”
Wicker expects to be a serious contender for the PIAA title in the 1,600 May 24-25 at Shippensburg. She placed fifth the past two seasons.
“Since the WPIAL field for the 1,600 is so competitive, I definitely will aim for a good time there, then focus on recovering and tapering for states the next week,” she said.
Wicker said even if she qualifies for states in the 800, she will not compete.
“I won’t be running the 800 at states, but since it is a competitive field, hopefully, I can run a good time,” she said.
Wicker placed second in the 1,600 (5:00.13) and fifth in the 3,200 (11:00.94) at the Baldwin Invitational.
Among other ranked Quakers are freshman Anna Cohen, fourth, 3,200 (11:43.30); sophomore Francesca Courtney, sixth, 100 hurdles (16.44) and ninth, 300 hurdles (49.44); freshman Ainsley Commens, ninth, pole vault (9 feet 1 inch); and sophomore Claire Kuzma, third, discus (122-4).
On the boys side, senior Dom Lagnese ranked first in the discus (160-3).
Other high-ranked Quakers are junior Daniel Ford, second, 1600 (4:30.36) and fourth, 800 (2:01.78); junior Bobby Patterson, sixth, 800 (2:05.24); junior Paul Szuba, third, javelin (158); and the 1,600 relay team, fifth (3:34.32).
Sewickley Academy had only one ranked competitor overall: senior Nella Tsudis, 14th, girls 200 dash (27.50) and 12th, 400 dash (62.74).
“My goals are to finish the season out strong,” Tsudis said. “It would be amazing to qualify for states.”