SLIPPERY ROCK ― On a day that resulted in her adding three WPIAL gold medals to her decorated trophy case, the most stressful moment on the track for Moon Area's Mia Cochran didn't involve her opponents or even the unfavorable elements.
The only hiccup in the senior's flawless effort at Slippery Rock University on Tuesday afternoon came during the second lap of her first race (the 1600) when a photographer wandered onto the first lane of the track as Cochran and 15 others behind her came barreling down the straight away mid race.
"I wasn't happy about that at all," Cochran said with a smirk after the meet with her three gold medals dangling around her neck. "I was so mad in the moment. How can that happen at a WPIAL track meet? It really blew my mind."
And even that wasn't enough to slow down the Arkansas commit.
After a quick glance of confusion and a short shrug, Cochran returned to her locked in state of focus that didn't go away. Cochran's events ― the 800, 1600 and 3200 ― add up to 14 total laps around the track. During most of those laps, she was in the lead by a significant margin.
Yet, despite posting qualifying times that were fast enough to break WPIAL records, the Tigers' standout did just enough to win. Why? Because, as she says, that was the plan all along.
"If it was any other week and I wasn't racing two days from now, I probably would've tired to break a record in all three of my races," Cochran said. "But when you compete nationally, you have to make some sacrifices ― something had to give. I did enough to win and get myself in a good spot for states."
After Cochran returns home from New York, her focus will be completely on Shippensburg. Last spring as a junior, she took home gold medals in both the 1600 and 3200. This year, she hopes to defend those titles, along with earning another one in the 800.
With just one chapter left in her historic high school career, Cochran says going out a three-time state champion would be the perfect ending.
"My mentality will be much different next weekend," Cochran said. "I am going all out in this last race. I'm there to win everything."
ALL EYES ON ME
When Quaker Valley’s Nora Johns took home the WPIAL Class 2A championship in the 300 hurdles last spring, few saw it coming. It didn’t take long on Wednesday for Johns to discover that was no longer the case – as a defending WPIAL and PIAA champ, the target was now on her back.
"It's a lot different, having people look at you as the favorite," Johns said. "It adds pressure, for sure. It definitely makes me more nervous."
With all the attention on her, Johns still managed to shine, qualifying for the PIAA finals in four events – including a successful title defense in the 300 hurdles. The junior’s medal count was as high as it could possibly be in the 2022 finals, taking home a gold, two silvers in relays and a fifth-place finish in the 100 hurdles.
It will be more of the same for Johns next weekend as well. Rather than focusing on going for another PIAA title in her best event, Johns says the plan is to compete in all four races in Shippensburg.
"There's no backing out for me," Johns said. "I want to win and I want to help my team win. I'm excited to give it my all in every event next weekend."
LET IT FLY
The right arm of Beaver Falls’ sophomore Cali Legzdin has had quite the spring. Over the past few weeks, Legzdin has battled on the mound for the Tigers, helping her team reach the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. A day after her team’s journey on the diamond came to an end, Legzdin paved her own road to glory in track & field, earning a gold medal in the javelin for Class 2A.
"It's been a grind," Legzdin said. "I've just been training every day. At first I was just winging it and now I feel like I'm starting to figure it out."
Legzdin is still a newcomer to javelin, with this being her first season throwing for the Tigers. She says it didn’t take long for her to notice her potential, as the results from even her earliest meets were promising.
Now, with softball finished, she will have the opportunity to focus strictly on javelin for the first time since picking up the sport. That short time frame wouldn’t be viewed as encouraging for most, but the sophomore says she likes her chances.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself and what I can do at states," Legzdin said. "I think I'm going to do well at states."
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Less than a week after securing a WPIAL team title in Class 2A, four members of the Quaker Valley girls’ team keep the winning momentum going early on, capturing the meet’s first running event gold medal, taking first place in the 4x800 relay with a time of 9:54.62.
“It’s been a great week,” sophomore Katie Hines, who ran the second leg on the relay said. “I’m just so happy we were able to pull it out and win. That race was so much fun.”
Hines was joined by fellow sophomore Ellie Cain, senior Anna Cohen and freshman Cecilia Montagnese. While all four played their part in the victory, it was the youngest of the quartet that made biggest difference.
“I was a little stressed at the beginning,” Montagnese said with a laugh and gold medal around her neck, “but when it came time to start running, I had a ton of fun.”
Cohen, who battled back from injuries to become a late substitute set the tone, running in the opening leg while Cain finished things off as the anchor. Together, the group will now aim to capture another medal next weekend in Shippensburg.
SHE CAIN DO IT
After a good but not great freshman season, Quaker Valley's Ellie Cain said there was one clear area she hoped to improve on in her second season of varsity track: confidence. The tools were there, but Cain says it came down to nothing more than learning to believe in herself.
Now, when the sophomore has any ounce of self doubt, she'll have a pair of gold medals to remind her of what she's capable of ― earning an additional first place finish in the 800 for Class 2A after helping her relay team to a championship hours prior.
"I just learned how to not freak myself out," Cain said. "I used to just get so nervous. My coaches helped me get over that and it's been great."
The success didn't stop there for Cain, who joined Johns on the Quakers' 4x400 relay team which placed second in Class 2A and qualified for the PIAA championships.
Altogether, nine different girls' programs from the Beaver Valley had at least one athlete qualify for the PIAA finals. Quaker Valley led the way, sending five different individuals and three relays. To go along with their WPIAL champions, Ainsley Commens tied second in the pole vault, while Kwilai Karto and Montagnese each placed fifth in the 100 hurdles and 1600 respectively, which was good enough to advance to the state meet.
Right behind Quaker Valley was Riverside, who had three individuals qualify. Callie Wetzell placed second in the Class 2A 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles, while Sydney Hale took home silver in discus and Lexi Fluharty took fourth in the 1600.
Hopewell also had a big day, as Lauryn Speicher and Leia Day both qualified in their top events. Speicher placed fourth in the 200 while Day placed fifth in pole vault. The Vikings' 4x400 relay also qualified to compete in Shippensburg.
Legzdin wasn't the only thrower from Beaver Falls to have a notable performance, as teammate Mikayla Anderson also had a strong day, placing third in shot put. The final Class 2A qualifier from the Beaver Valley was Ellwood City freshman Delaney Sturgeon, who took home a silver medal in the high jump.
In Class 3A, it was Central Valley who best represented Beaver County. Senior sprinter Paige Drake qualified in three events, placing second in the 100 and third in the 200. Drake's third event at states will be in the 4x100 relay where her, Aly Sudar, Renaya Penney and Megan Grimm earned a second place finish on Tuesday afternoon.
Rounding out the highest classification for female athletes in the Beaver Valley were Blackhawk's Casey Nixon who took fourth in shot put and West Allegheny's Kaitlyn Eger, who despite finishing fifth in pile vault, jumped high enough to qualify.
The 2022 PIAA Track and Field championships will be held on Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 at Shippensburg University.
A cold rain drenched everyone at the Baldwin Invitational, but Quaker Valley hurdler Nora Johns was among those not too bothered by the wet weather.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought,” she said. “There was a nice breeze. It wasn’t too warm. And the rain wasn’t too hard, so it didn’t get into my eyes. It actually was quite nice.”
The junior’s positive attitude — far sunnier than some of her counterparts — surely played a part in Johns running her fastest time of the season Friday to win the 300-meter hurdles, an event that gets dicey on a wet track.
She seemed to barely notice.
“Weather hasn’t bothered me unless it’s really pouring down snow or something,” said Johns, a defending state hurdles champion. “Once you’re running, you’re just running. You’re not worried about anything else. … I run my best in the worst weather. It’s so strange.”
Not everyone was so calm.
As longtime coaches insisted again Friday, running track in Western Pennsylvania is about more than outracing the person in the next lane. Often, it’s about overcoming the unpredictable elements, a battle waged at Baldwin with varying degrees of success.
“You can’t control the weather,” Baldwin coach Ed Helbig said. “We’re going to go from this to 90 degrees, I just know it. There’s not going to be any springtime. This is one of those things you’ve just got to get used to.
“The kids that didn’t let the weather defeat them did very well. But there were other kids I heard saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m here.’ I’m sure they didn’t do well.”
The weather certainly didn’t affect two of the WPIAL’s top sprinters. Upper St. Clair’s Dani Prunzik won the girls 100 meters in 12.21 seconds, and North Catholic’s Trevor Paschall won the boys race in 11.09. The USC girls also won the 400-meter relay with Prunzik running anchor.
The wet track didn’t scare them away.
“It’s Western Pennsylvania — you’re used to running in some rain or with some wind or with some other conditions,” said USC assistant coach Matt Cosgrove, who works with the sprinters. “It’s just part of where we’re at. I’d like to wish our spring was a little bit nicer, but it’s not, so we deal with it.”
One of the day’s closest finishes featured Moon’s Jacob Puhalla and South Fayette’s Jake Borgesi in the McKinney Mile, a celebrated event at the Baldwin Invite. Borgesi had the lead down the stretch, but top-seeded Puhalla caught him and won by less than two-tenths of a second.
Borgesi later won the 3,200.
Reigning state 1,600-meters champion Carson McCoy of Deer Lakes won the boys 800 meters and later helped his team place second in the 1,600-meter relay.
“I was definitely happy with my race in these conditions,” said McCoy, who won the 800 in one minute, 53.20 seconds. “The weather is nothing close to ideal, so I wasn’t really trying to shoot for a time too much.”
McKeesport sprinter Kanye Thompson also left with two medals after taking first in the boys 200 meters (23.06) and second in the 100 (11.13).
Meet organizers made some schedule changes because of the rain. Traditionally, the finals don’t begin until 6 p.m. and finish under the lights, but this time the finals started much earlier.
The pole vault was moved indoors, where Waynesburg’s Andrew Layton cleared 14 feet, 10 inches to win the boys event. South Fayette’s Melana Schumaker won the girls event with a vault of 11-10. Schumaker also won the long jump (17-5), making her the only athlete to win two individual events Friday.
The field events were streamlined to one flight with contestants each receiving four attempts.
A number of teams backed out of the meet after seeing a weather forecast that predicted rain all day and a high temperature near 60. Helbig said there was no way to reschedule the meet, especially with Mother’s Day on Sunday.
“The weather Saturday was just as bad,” Helbig said. “In fact, Saturday is actually going to be worse during the morning. … We had no options. I said, ‘If you can’t come, I understand.’ But that’s just the way it is. An invitational of this size, you can’t move it. We have very little leeway at this time of the year.”
Besides, he said, learning to run in the rain can help come championship time.
“I don’t know what the weather will be like (for WPIALs) on the 18th,” Helbig said. “I don’t know what the weather will be like at states. Last year, states was miserable. It rained all day. It was cold. It was nasty. You have to run in it. They’re not going to cancel that.”
Johns was ready to run the hurdles in the heavy rain when she learned from her dad that there might be a short afternoon window with little precipitation. There was, and it matched up perfectly with her 300-meter race.
“It was the universe telling me it’s all good,” she said with a laugh.
Johns won in 46.03 seconds, her fastest time of the season, as she ramps up for the WPIAL championships in two weeks. She finished more than a second ahead of Oakland Catholic’s Emily Cooper, who’d earlier won the 100 hurdles.
A year ago, Johns was a newcomer to the event and surprisingly ran her way to a state title. This year, no one is surprised to see her win.
“A part of me says, ‘Oh no, there’s a target on my back,’” Johns said. “But another part of me says it’s a new year. Last year is in the past. Everyone is stronger, faster, better this year. I just need to focus on the future and not so much the past.”
Johns has tried to balance the demands of track with basketball. Her father Ken is the girls basketball coach at Quaker Valley.
“We’re trying to do a spring league for school and I also play AAU basketball,” she said. “But I’m starting to get my priorities straight where track comes first. … I just need to focus here now.”
Her times are about a second slower than last year’s state championship mark of 45.07, but she’s hoping to be back in the 45s at the WPIAL championship.
“I’m the reigning champ,” she said. “I’ve got to show up.”
Kadin Johnson is the fastest athlete at Quaker Valley this school year.
A senior sprinter on the QV boys track and field squad, Johnson was a medalist in three spotlight events at the recent MAC Invitational at Shenango.
Johnson won the 400-meter dash in 51.02 seconds and placed second in the 200 in 22.84. He also had a seventh-place showing in the 100 (11.44).
“Kadin’s performance was excellent,” Quaker Valley coach Jared Jones said. “He was disappointed in his first event, the 100-meter dash, but he quickly put that behind him and won the 400-meter dash. Given the bitter cold elements (that day), his times were extremely impressive in all three events.”
Jones rates Johnson as No. 1 among sprinters in the Quakers’ track and field program this year.
“I believe it is fair to say he is the fastest at Quaker Valley High School,” Jones said. ”His 400-meter time at the Butler Invitational is second all-time on our school record board. He ran 49.87. The school record is 49.80. He is also a few hundredths of seconds away from the 100 and 200 record boards.”
Another highlight for the boys team at the invitational was Matthew Otto’s performance in the distance events.
The sophomore distance runner took second place in the 3,200 with a time of 10:04.29. He also placed fifth in the 1,600 in 4:46.86.
“Matthew also did an excellent job overcoming the elements,” Jones said. “He ran a very smart race in the 3,200. I am hopeful to see what he can do with better conditions down the stretch of the season.”
Two other individual medalists for the Quakers were junior Noah Leathers, who placed third in the 110-meter hurdles, and junior Alex McDonald, who corralled the fourth spot in the discus.
Quaker Valley’s boys team ended up in third place against section competition this spring.
“The boys’ season was very good overall,” Jones said. “We finished third in our section with two close losses to Blackhawk and New Castle.
“One of the biggest surprises on the boys team has been the performance of Noah Leathers in the 110 hurdles. He placed seventh at the Butler Invitational and third at the MAC Invitational.”
Quaker Valley’s girls squad, led by Nora Johns, Cecilia Montagnese and Ainsley Commens, as well as the relay specialists, finished second in the final team standings at the MAC Invite.
Johns, a junior, was outstanding. She captured first place in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.92 and second place in the 100 hurdles in 16.84.
Montagnese, a freshman standout, ended up second in the 3,200 with a time of 11:59.76 and sixth in the 1,600 in 5:39.34.
Commens, a senior, earned second place in the pole vault by clearing a height of 8 feet, 10.5 inches.
“The girls’ performance as a team was excellent,” Jones said. “We are a much smaller school compared to some of the schools in attendance. To take runner-up shows how strong the girls are across multiple events.
“Nora in the 300 hurdles was fun to watch. She simply loves to race. Cecilia’s performances in the 3,200 and 1,600 were very surprising for a young freshman. She is so positive all the time and races with no fear. I am excited to see how she continues to improve throughout the season.
“And due to the conditions, Ainsley was unable to reach some of the heights she would have wanted to, but she performed extremely well given the circumstances.”
The QV girls relay teams were medalists in all three events. The 1,600 and 3,200 teams placed second. The 400 team finished fourth.
“I think this was the most impressive part of the meet from a coaching perspective,” Jones said. “I am hopeful all three relays will continue to come together and get some great times down the stretch of the season.”
Two other individual medalists for the Quakers were freshman Kwilai Karto and sophomore Ellie Cain. Karto secured fifth place in the 100 hurdles in 17.17 and Cain captured fifth in the 400 with a time of 1:04.26.
QV’s girls team rolled to second place in Section 8-3A this season against the likes of Ambridge, Avonworth, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley and New Castle.
Class 2A teams in 3A sections mush finish in the top three to qualify for the WPIAL team tournament. QV and Avonworth are designated as 2A teams.
The Quakers participated in the WPIAL 2A team semifinals May 5 against Brownsville, Southmoreland and Waynesburg at South Park.
“The girls’ season has been very successful,” Jones said, “and they hopefully have a lot of season left for them. They finished second in a 3A conference, even though they compete in 2A. The biggest surprise on the girls side is the impact new upperclassmen and the incoming freshmen have made on the team’s success.
“I am very proud of both the girls and boys teams for their dedication, attitude and performance throughout this season.”
It’s being acclaimed as “Championship Wednesday” at Quaker Valley.
Two teams at QV reeled in WPIAL championships on Wednesday, May 11, and did so in impressive fashion.
The girls track and field squad won its first WPIAL title since 2007, defeating Greensburg Central Catholic, 83-67, Riverside, 85-65, and Shenango, 89-61, at the Class 2A finals at Peters Township.
The boys tennis team, seeded No. 1, repeated as Class 2A champion with a 3-2 win against North Catholic at the WPIAL finals at the Janet L. Swanson Tennis Center at Washington & Jefferson College.
“It was a great day for Quaker Valley athletics to capture two spring WPIAL titles in the same few hours,” said Mike Mastroianni, QV’s director of athletics and student activities. “A big congrats to our student-athletes on both the girls track and boys tennis teams, and to both of our coaching staffs.”
Quaker Valley’s girls track and field squad was led by winning performances in all three relays, and individually by sophomore Ellie Cain, freshman Cecilia Montagnese and junior Nora Johns.
“I am very proud of the girls for their efforts at the championship meet,” coach Jared Jones said. “Winning the WPIAL team championship was a goal we set last year when we tied Mohawk (at the WPIAL championships). Even though we tied the champion, we ended up taking third as a team. This year, we were trying our best not to be in that situation.
“Going into the meet, we knew we weren’t the favorites but that we had a chance to win. The only way we could beat all three schools is if each girl put forth her best effort. At the end of the day, each girl tried her very best, and their hard work paid off.”
Senior Anna Cohen, junior Kathryn Karwoski, sophomore Kate Hines and Cain and made up the Quakers’ 3,200 relay team. The 400 relayers, who won in a photo finish, were freshmen Vanessa Pickett and Kwilai Karto, sophomore Spencer Elliott and Johns. Karwoski, Hines, Cain and Johns competed in the 1,600 relay.
“The turning point for our team against Greensburg Central Catholic was when our 4-by-100 relay defeated GCC by 0.18 seconds,” Jones said. “GCC had the No. 1 seed going into that meet; QV was ranked 15th. When I brought it to their attention, Vanessa, Kwilai, Spencer and Nora embraced the challenge and wanted to beat the best team.”
Individually, Cain won the 400 and 800, Montagnese captured the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, and Johns took first place in the 300 hurdles. Johns also placed second in the 100 hurdles.
Karto finished second in the 100 and third in the 200 and 400. Pickett placed sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200. Hines ended up fourth in the 1,600.
In the field events, senior Ainsley Commens tied for first in the pole vault and Karwoski placed second in the high jump.
Other QV medalists included freshman Joyce Olawaiye (triple jump), senior Ellie Bates (triple jump), senior Ameilia Herrmann (discus), freshman Sarah Minard (pole vault), freshman Joyce Lee Mauer (javelin), junior Paige Nichols (shot put), sophomore Kathryn Main (high jump) and Elliott (long jump).
“Every girl’s performance played a role in this team victory,” Jones said. “Several girls had personal bests.”
QV’s girls team took second place in Section 8-3A this season against the likes of Ambridge, Avonworth, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley and New Castle.
Back-to-back on the court
At W&J, Quaker Valley’s boys tennis team quickly won three matches against North Catholic to clinch its second straight WPIAL crown.
“To say I am excited for our boys and what they have achieved not just this year so far — but also the last few years — would be a gross understatement. I am over the moon,” coach Christi Hays said. “It is the sweet payoff for all the hard work every single one of them has put in. This group is very close and they get along really well. They definitely have a singular mindset, and that is, we win or lose as a team. Every spot on the team is equally important.
“North Catholic was trying not only to win WPIAL team but also win the WPIAL trifecta — singles, doubles and team. That hadn’t been done in 2A since Sewickley Academy did it in 2018.”
QV’s senior doubles tandem Justin Hadjukiewicz and Henry Veeck defeated senior Ken Canavan and sophomore Justin Kontul.
Senior Michael Lipton and sophomore Chase Merkel also won against NC junior Tim Von Preussen and senior Justin Siket.
“Our two doubles teams took over and completely flipped the script,” Hays said. “Not only did our doubles teams win, but they did it quickly and decisively.
“So many times there is so much emphasis on the single spots, but our doubles teams have been outstanding all year. Thanks to them, we quickly found ourselves up 2-1.”
QV senior Will Sirianni clinched the championship by defeating senior Brody Golla, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 2 singles.
“Will got off to an atypical slow start and was down 1-4 before he turned on the jets and won the next five games and the first set,” Hays said. “Will dug deep and showed so much heart, resolve and spirit to pull out the second set and secure the title for us.”
Seniors Mike Sirianni and Devin Carter competed at No. 1 and No. 3 singles for the Quakers
“Every time I visualized the match, I really liked our chances,” Hays said. “So many times competition in any sport is about matchups. Yes, they had Nicolas Scheller at No. 1, but I felt we were deeper.
“Mike Sirianni’s job was to defeat Scheller if he could, but at least keep him on the court as long as he could so North Catholic didn’t get a quick point and the momentum. Mike did his job, and I think he surprised Scheller a bit.
“And even knowing the match was already decided, Devin battled on. By doing that, he gained invaluable experience that will carry going into the state playoffs.”
Rounding out QV’s varsity roster this season are senior Ryan Edwards, junior Michel Snyder, sophomores Joseph Veeck, Grant Webb and Brahm Gianiodis and freshman Grayson Beatty.
“Winning the WPIAL title last year — Quaker Valley’s first since 2003 — was a new experience and so exciting but maybe a little unexpected,” Hays said. “So going into this year we knew exactly what we needed to do. And as any team will tell you, repeating is difficult to do.
“The fact that we were able to do it was thrilling, and to match the accomplishment of QV’s 2002-03 team is a tribute to this team.”
QV repeated as section champion this season with a 14-0 record. Individually, the Quakers won 65 matches and lost only five.
QV defeated South Park, 3-2, in the WPIAL finals last year.
Track Tuesday: Who to watch in the 2022 WPIAL Championships
Special to the Times
It’s been less than two months since the WPIAL Track and Field season started and although it seems like there have been two season changes in those weeks, the season is ready to wrap up Wednesday at Slippery Rock University.
At 11 a.m., the individual championships will get underway with 109 athletes representing 18 local teams competing in individual events. Of those 109 local athletes, 10 are freshmen, reaching the pinnacle of WPIAL competition in their first year of eligibility.
In addition, 34 local relay teams will also be participating, so the amount of precious metal returning to Beaver County and western Allegheny County could be significant.
Here are 19 local stars who enter the WPIAL meet having already met the state qualifying standard (SQS) and are local frontrunners to win individual events, along with a short highlight on the top relay teams. All who meet that standard at the WPIAL Championship and finish in the top eight will qualify for the PIAA meet on May 27-28. Athletes can also qualify for the PIAA meet without meeting the SQS by finishing in the top five in Class 2A or top four in Class 3A.
Mia Cochran, Moon, senior ― The Arkansas commit is the defending WPIAL and PIAA champ in the 1600 and 3200 meters. She will enter the meet at Slippery Rock this year as the top seed in three events – the 800, 1600, and 3200. Her times are not just slightly ahead of the competition, either. Her 800 time is eight seconds better than the second fastest time and almost two seconds better than the WPIAL Championship record. Her 3200 time is 31 seconds better than the competition and 11 seconds better than the record. Her 1600 time is only 12 seconds better than the closest competition but is 1.05 seconds off the WPIAL record.
Nora Johns, Quaker Valley, junior ― Building on WPIAL and PIAA gold medals in the 300 hurdles as a sophomore last year, Johns enters the WPIAL as the top seed in the 300 hurdles. She has also qualified in the 100 hurdles and runs the anchor leg in the 400 relay. The Quakers 400 relay team enters the competition as the top seed.
Ty Fluharty, Riverside, senior ― If seeds are to be believed, Fluharty will be having a busy day at Slippery Rock. He runs on the Panthers’ 1600 relay team, which enter the competition as the top seed, and the 3200 relay team, which is seeded second. Individually, Fluharty is seeded second in the 3200 and third in the 1600.
Paige Drake, Central Valley, senior ― Drake, already committed to run at St. Francis, met the qualifying standard in four events. She enters the WPIAL meet seeded third in both the 100 and 200 meters. In the long jump ― a new event for her this year ― she is seeded sixth and is a member of Central Valley’s 400 relay team that is also seeded third.
Donovan Jones, Central Valley, senior ― Jones enters the competition having met the qualifying standard in three events. He enters as the third seed in the 200 and the fourth seed in the long jump and the 100.
Delaney Sturgeon, Ellwood City, freshman ― Sturgeon is one of only two freshmen to enter the competition as the top seed as her high jump of 5-foot-2 ties for the best mark of the year. She will also compete in the pole vault.
Sydney Hale, Riverside, senior ― Hale will enter the WPIAL meet as the top seed in the javelin with a distance of 135-4.
Antonio Votour, OLSH, junior – Votour enters the WPIAL Championships as the top seed in the 110 hurdles.
Jacob Puhalla, Moon, junior – The defending champion in the Class 3A 800 meters, Puhalla enters the competition as the second seed ― but just .18 seconds off the top spot. That should lead to an exciting finish in a half mile race.
Valeria Young, Ambridge, senior ― After finishing fourth in last year’s championships as a junior, Young enters this year’s competition as the second seed with a mark of 126-4, beating the qualifying standard by more than four feet.
Alden Wetzel, Riverside, junior ― Wetzel enters the competition as the second seed in the 400 meters and also runs a leg on the Panthers’ top-seeded 1600 relay team. In addition, Wetzel will be competing in the high jump and the javelin.
Maxwell Hamilton, OLSH, junior ― In the 800 meters, Hamilton is seeded second, having met the qualifying standard.
Teddy McHale, Riverside, senior ― McHale, the defending WPIAL champion, will enter this year’s meet as the third seed with a height of 13-10, four inches more than the qualifying standard and four inches higher than last year’s winning distance.
Tajier Thornton, Aliquippa, senior ― The boys’ Class 2A 100 meter dash will be the most competitive race on the day, based on seedings. A total of eight runners enter the meet having met the state qualifying standard and Thornton joins that speedy field as the fourth seed. He also runs on the Quips 400 relay team that enters the competition as the third seed and will also compete in the 200 meters.
Kaitlyn Eger, West Allegheny, junior ― Eger’s 12-0 height has met the state standard and is seeded fourth. She will also compete in the 100 hurdles.
Ethan Papa, Blackhawk, junior ― Having met the qualifying standard in the 1600 meters, Papa enters the WPIAL Championships as the fourth seed. Papa will also compete in the 3200.
Maddox Mengel, New Brighton, senior ― Mengel is seeded fourth in the 800 meters.
Dominic Flitcraft, Hopewell, junior ― Seeded fourth in both the 1600 and 3200 meters, Flitcraft has met the qualifying standard in the 1600 but needs to improve his time by 2.19 seconds to meet the standard in the 3200.
Matt Essey, Hopewell, junior ― Essey will enter the 100 meters as the eighth seed but has met the state qualifying standard and will advance to the PIAA meet if he repeats that performance. He will also compete in the long jump.
Relay teams ― Of the 34 relay teams, three enter as the top seed ― Quaker Valley girls 400, Quaker Valley girls 3200, and Riverside boys 1600 ― and two others (Aliquippa boys 400 and Central Valley girls 400) have met the qualifying standard and will enter as one of the top three seeds.