A-K Valley high school notebook: Athletes win multiple titles at section track and field meet

Friday, April 26, 2019 | 5:56 PM

The WPIAL individual track and field championships are looming next month at Slippery Rock, and some of the Alle-Kiski Valley’s top athletes are ramping up for the competition.

Freeport hosted a Section 7-AA championship meet for the fifth consecutive year Wednesday, with seven teams competing.

Nine athletes claimed a pair of individual titles as they seek to prepare themselves for WPIALs.

Deer Lakes’ Josh Yourish ran to victory in the boys 800-meter run and 1,600 and was a part of the Lancers’ winning 3,200 relay.

Apollo-Ridge’s Michael Booker won the 100 and the triple jump, Deer Lakes’ Maxx Hammond topped the field in the 3,200 run and shot put, and Freeport’s Conor Selinger won the 110 and 300 hurdles.

On the girls’ side, Burrell’s Kaylen Sharrow won the 100 and 300 hurdles and anchored the 1,600 relay to victory, while Freeport’s Sidney Shemanski crossed the finish line first in the 400 dash and 800 run.

North Catholic’s Aliana Hicks took first in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Deer Lakes’ Kelli Galbraith leaped to wins in the long and triple jumps, and teammate Mackenzie Spence finished first in the shot put and discus.

By George

Wednesday was Patriots Day for Yourish, as the Lancers’ standout distance runner announced a commitment to the George Mason track and field program.

Yourish finished second in the boys 800-meter run at the 2018 WPIAL Class AA championships at Baldwin. He earned an eighth-place medal in the event at the PIAA championships at Shippensburg.

While Yourish’s main commitment was to George Mason’s track and field program, he said he also might run cross country for the Patriots. He finished 13th at the WPIAL Class AA cross country meet in October, qualifying for the state championships.

Either way, Yourish can keep his school colors: Deer Lakes and George Mason wear green and gold.

Clinching time

A handful of Alle-Kiski Valley baseball and softball teams locked down spots in the WPIAL postseason with the regular season winding down.

Section 1-3A softball rivals Deer Lakes (7-6, 7-1), Burrell (8-2, 6-1) and Freeport (7-2, 5-2) secured their berths earlier this week, as did Section 3-4A leader Knoch (11-1, 7-0).

Deer Lakes (9-5, 7-0), which leads Section 1-3A, is the only baseball team to clinch.

Beyond the limits

Jarrett Heilman punched his glove, walked to the back of the mound and briefly bent to grasp his knees after striking out Burrell’s Seth Fischbach in the seventh inning of Freeport’s Section 1-3A game Wednesday afternoon.

The strikeout was the 12th — and final — of the game for Heilman, and it had to be: The Yellowjackets ace exceeded 100 pitches during the sequence, reaching the PIAA’s single-game limit. It was the third time this season Heilman’s afternoon ended at 623 innings because of the pitch limit.

“I trust the people behind me. I know that we have good fielders, so I usually try to pitch to contact,” Heilman said after Freeport’s 6-3 win. “Getting strikeouts is always fun, but that, obviously, makes the pitch count go through the roof. But we have good pitchers behind me. … I trust all of them.”

He might have finished one out shy of a complete game, but Heilman has been nothing short of dominant for the Yellowjackets. He leads the Alle-Kiski Valley with 60 strikeouts against just two walks in 35 innings, boasting a 4-1 record and sub-1.00 ERA.

More recruiting

Freeport swimmer Ariana Clark committed to Allegheny. Clark finished seventh in the 100-meter backstroke at the WPIAL Class AA championships in March, earning a medal for the second consecutive year. She finished 27th at the PIAA championships.

Leechburg football and track and field standout Bret Kardos committed to Saint Vincent in both sports. Kardos led Leechburg’s defense with 103 tackles from his linebacker position and added two sacks. He also rushed for 502 yards and five touchdowns. A thrower in track and field, Kardos ranks atop the Class AA standings in shot put.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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