Sprinters lead Gateway boys into WPIAL meet
By: Michael Love
Saturday, May 12, 2018 | 1:39 AM
The Gateway track and field teams will be well represented at the WPIAL Class AAA individual championships Thursday at Baldwin.
“There is a chance for several to earn medals and get to states,” Gateway coach Tom LaBuff said. “It will come down to them performing the way they are capable. It will be interesting to see what happens.”
The Gateway boys again are strong in the sprints, and they have three in the 100-meter dash.
Junior Courtney Jackson recorded a time of 11.05 seconds at the West Mifflin last-chance meet May 7 and is seeded fourth overall.
Senior Travis Thompson (11.12) and freshman Derrick Davis (11.16) also will challenge for a medal in the event.
Davis also will test his mettle in the 200 (22.94), and sophomore Nana Adusepoku, who LaBuff said is battling through a hamstring issue, qualified for the 400 (50.77).
“If Nana is healthy enough, I expect him to go to states in the 400,” LaBuff said. “He can definitely be one of the favorites for the top four.”
LaBuff said Adusepoku also can factor into both relays, and Thompson is recovering from injury.
The lineups for the 400 relay (Bobby Szatkowski, Jackson, Davis, Adusepoku, Thompson) and 1,600 relay (Davis, Jeremiah Joseph, Szatkowski, Thompson, Elijah Lincoln), LaBuff said, were yet to be finalized in the final days leading up to WPIALs.
The 400 relay is seeded third (43.04).
Joseph won the 300 hurdles at West Mifflin, and his time of 40.46 puts him in the fast heat at WPIALs.
“Jeremiah tends to rise to the occasion in big races,” LaBuff said. “He will have good people to run with who will challenge him.”
A battle is expected in the triple jump where Jackson, a state qualifier in the event in 2017, will challenge Franklin Regional senior Jacob Shedd. Shedd is seeded first at 45 feet, 5 inches, and Jackson is second at 44-6½.
Jackson also will challenge for a medal and a trip to states in the long jump. He already has recorded a distance of 22-0, which is at the state-qualifying standard.
The top four finishers in each individual and relay event automatically advance to states May 25 and 26 at Shippensburg.
Also, those who finish eighth or better and record a time, distance or height that equals or surpasses the PIAA's pre-set qualifying standard, also earn a trip to states. The top eight receive a medal.
Senior Luke DiPalma will represent the Gators in the throws. He is seeded seventh in the javelin (165-4).
He also is seeded 13th in the discus (134-3).
On the girls side, junior Kianah Blakely-White is hoping for a return trip to states in the 200. She was fifth in the event last year and picked up the final qualifying spot to the PIAA meet where she was 26th.
Blakely-White also will run the 100. She just missed a WPIAL medal in the event last year as she placed ninth.
She will team with senior Taylor Tomman, junior Mary Kromka and freshman Christabelle Livsey on the 1,600 relay that is seeded 12th (4:12.07).
“They've dropped significant time and can drop more at WPIALs,” LaBuff said. “They have an outside shot at a medal and getting that qualifying time.”
Individually, Tomman is seeded 16th (1:01.50) in the 400.
Shelly Jones, a junior, placed 13th in the shot put at WPIALs last year, and she will be in the hunt Thursday as the ninth seed (36-8).
She also has qualified in the discus (102-2).
Fellow junior Sarah Corrie is the 11th seed in the javelin (116-4), and she also will compete in shot put (33-7).