Shady Side Academy athletes find success at PIAA championships

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Friday, June 8, 2018 | 11:45 PM


The Shady Side Academy track and field team had a lot of extra hardware to bring back from the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg on May 25 and 26. The Indians claimed three gold medals, a silver medal and a fourth-place medal.

Freshman Melissa Riggins claimed two of the gold medals, as she won the 800- and 1,600-meter races, just as she did at WPIALs. She anchored the 1,600 relay team that finished fourth. Other members of the relay team were Hannah Steffey, Krystyna Rytel and Jeanne Lauer.

Junior Dino Tomlin took first in the 300 hurdles and finished second in the 100 hurdles, losing by four tenths of a second. In the team standings, the SSA girls finished fourth with 25.5 points, while the boys finished seventh with 18 points.

“The Shady Side Academy girls and boys track and field team had an extraordinary experience at states,” SSA girls coach Paul Bodnarchuk said. “In addition to our medal winners, the boys 400-meter relay team of Ezekiel Roberts, Skyy Moore, Brendan Gaffney and Tomlin competed. Though running close to their personal best, they didn't qualify for the medal rounds.”

The finals on Saturday proved to be a day to remember for SSA.

“Knowing how hard everyone had worked to get to this point in the season, Saturday would become a day marked by tremendous focus, more detailed planning and preparation, intense running and energy and rock solid teamwork,” Bodnarchuk said.

Bodnarchuk cited a season best time for the girls 3,200 relay (9:36.76), which reset their school record en route to a fourth-place finish.

“Melissa ran a fantastic 1,600-meter race and reset the school record that she had set the week before,” he said. “Boxed in after one lap (in the 800), she fought with all her might and seized the opportunity to race as fast as she could for another gold medal finish (2:16.38).”

Bodnarchuk also complimented Tomlin's performance.

“In the finals, Dino ran as powerfully as he could, coming away with a terrific finish as the silver medalist for the AA boys (in the 100 hurdles). He finished up his day of competing by running a superb time of 37.93 in the 300-meter low hurdles, resetting the school record he had set the week before and getting a gold-medal finish.”

Seniors on the team included Nathan Boyd, Christian Taylor, Derick Wu, Alex Stabile, John Stabile, Garrett Cleveland, Zeke Roberts, Felicia Devorris, Lindsey Grune, Jeanne Lauer, Alicia Mathur, Heather Raphael, Hannah Steffey, Jasmine White, Rachel Winterhalter and Carolyn Woll.

“There's no doubt that (states) was filled with remarkable performances, incredible finishes and feelings of accomplishment that will last a lifetime for all the athletes and coaches,” Bodnarchuk said. “Coach Adam Janosko, our distance coach, coach Kristi Cooper, our hurdles coach, coach Pam Boehm, our sprint and relay coach along with myself felt tremendous pride and excitement in how hard all of our athletes performed at the state meet. It was a fantastic weekend for the team and one for the record books.”

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.

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