Shaler athletes set to compete at WPIAL meet

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Friday, May 11, 2018 | 12:27 AM


The Shaler boys and girls track program won't send any of the favorites to the WPIAL Class AAA championships this week at Baldwin.

But what the Titans lack in star power, they make up for with diversity.

Shaler has several upperclassmen making their first trip after taking a few years off the track.

The Titans also will send a freshman and seniors who have worked their way up through the program.

Shaler senior Claire Schreiber is the highest seeded among the group, holding the seventh-best leap in the triple jump with a distance of 35 feet, 8.25 inches.

Fellow seniors Adeline Kubisek (high jump) and Maura Fisher (high jump, javelin) will join Schreiber among the veteran contingent.

“They are all hard workers,” Titans girls track coach Abi May said. “They come in every day and do what they are asked to do. They put in extra time with what they are able to. I hope they can achieve their best and end their high school careers where they want to be at.”

Junior Lydia Valentine (shot put) and senior Michael Battaglia (long jump, high hurdles, 400 relay) both qualified after picking up track this season.

“I think it sets a good example for other student-athletes to try and come out for something different,” May said. “All the work (Vallentine) put into it to qualify has been absolutely great.”

Battaglia came out after having his football season end because of a collarbone injury. Shaler boys track coach James Ryan, who also coaches the football team, could sense Battaglia was motivated by being disappointed with how his fall ended.

Battaglia, who is seeded 12th in the 300 hurdles with a qualifying mark of 41.08 seconds, is within a few seconds of breaking the Titans' record in the 300 hurdles.

“I think Mike got comfortable with the events,” Ryan said. “He did a number of things this year. With him getting so close to setting the school record in the 300 hurdles, I think that motivated him. He continued to work harder at it.”

Donovan Gillespie, Andre Dadowski and James Burnick are on the 400 relay with Battaglia.

Other qualifiers on the boys' side include Dalton Kalbaugh (1,600, 3,200), John Franklin (110 hurdles) and Cam Mbalo (triple jump).

On the girls' side, freshman Mayah Charity also qualified in the 100 dash.

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

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