Alle-Kiski Valley well represented at WPIAL track and field championships

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Monday, May 16, 2022 | 5:47 PM


Greg Klingensmith owns the Apollo-Ridge boys school record in the discus at 156 feet 9 inches recorded in placing third at last year’s WPIAL Class 2A track and field championships at Slippery Rock University.

The William & Mary football recruit has his sights set on improving both numbers as he returns to Slippery Rock on Wednesday.

He is a part of a large contingent of Alle-Kiski Valley athletes — both individuals and relays — who have earned berths to the WPIAL finals in both Class 2A and 3A.

“I am very excited for Wednesday,” said Klingensmith, who is seeded second in the discus with a season-best throw of 156-2 recorded April 30 at the Indiana County Invitational.

“The weather isn’t looking too great, but it’s going to be fun to share the experience with Nick. We’re both optimistic we can do very well.”

The Nick that Klingensmith speaks of is Apollo-Ridge junior Nick Curci, who is seeded sixth in the discus with a 143-4 distance also recorded at the Indiana meet.

The field in the Class 2A boys discus is looking up at defending champion Will Patton, a senior from Shenango who owns the top distance this season of 176-8.

“I saw him throw last year, and he’s improved drastically since then,” Klingensmith said.

Five of the top six in the event are from either Shenango or Apollo-Ridge.

Klingensmith also will throw the shot put at WPIALs for the first time. He is seeded seventh (45-11½).

Events on the track and in the field for both Class 3A and Class 2A Wednesday begin at 11 a.m.

Carson McCoy also has his sights set on big things as he is the top seed in both the Class 2A boys 800- and 1,600-meter runs.

The Deer Lakes senior gained a large measure of momentum May 6 at the prestigious Baldwin Invitational with a personal-best and winning 800 time of 1 minute, 53.20 seconds.

McCoy clocked a season-best of 4:13.19 in the 1,600 and hopes to bring home the title after placing second in the event at WPIALs last year (4:18.96).

Riverview middle distance and distance specialist Amberson Bauer is the third seed in the Class 2A boys 800. He produced a school-record time of 1:58.31 in placing second overall at the Mars Invitational.

“I finished the basketball season with a little bit of an injury so I didn’t really run through those two weeks before track,” Bauer said.

“The season was full of a lot of surprises and good moments, and I just felt better and better each week and in all of our competitions.”

Other A-K Valley top-three seeds include Riverview junior John Patsey (third, 300 hurdles) and the No. 3 Deer Lakes boys 1,600 relay of McCoy, Nate Buechel, Aidan Herman and Fletcher Hammond.

The Alle-Kiski Valley will be well represented overall Wednesday as individuals and relays in both Class 2A and Class 3A will have the opportunity to compete more than 100 times.

Riverview standout sophomore Lola Abraham is the lone entry in either classification who will compete in three individual events.

She is in medal position in the 400 dash (sixth seed) and long jump (seventh seed). She also hopes to make a move in the triple jump, where she is the 15th seed.

Those who qualified for WPIALs did so this spring through dual meets and invitationals. The times and distances were compiled by the WPIAL track and field committee, and a maximum of 16 in each event in Class 2A and 24 in Class 3A earned berths to Wednesday’s championships.

The Riverview boys 3,200 relay is the defending Class 2A champion, and the quartet of Bauer, Ty Laughlin, Parker Steele, and Chris Barnes come in seeded sixth with a top time of 8:39.69.

They will run against a deep field that included fifth-seeded Burrell (Damian Barr, Billy Kowalkowski, Luke Guerrini and Ethan Croushore, 8:37.92). The Bucs distance relay was sixth at WPIALs last year.

Burrell brought home an AK-Valley-best nine WPIAL medals in 2021.

In Class 3A, the top seeds are Plum senior Logan Brooks, fifth in the boys long jump (22-0), and Freeport junior Isaac Wetzel, fifth in the boys 110 hurdles (15.38).

It was a close shave for several A-K Valley individuals and relays as seven in Class 2A are No. 16 seeds, and three in Class 3A are No. 24 seeds.

The top eight finishers in each event will earn WPIAL medals, and the top five finishers in Class 2A and top four in Class 3A automatically will qualify for the PIAA championships at Shippensburg University on May 27-28.

Also, those who place eighth or better in their events at WPIALs will qualify for states if their times, heights or distances meet or exceed the qualifying standards set by the PIAA.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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