Top A-K Valley athletes gather for TSTCA indoor track championships

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024 | 5:49 PM


There are only 18 days until the start of preseason practices for the outdoor track and field season.

But many of those athletes throughout Western Pennsylvania have their sights set on indoor gold and other top finishes at one of the top meets of the indoor season.

The Tri-State Track Coaches Association will host its indoor championships Saturday at Edinboro University’s Mike Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Center, and athletes from Freeport, Plum, Fox Chapel, Kiski Area, Riverview and Deer Lakes will represent the Alle-Kiski Valley among more than 50 schools from the WPIAL and District’s 5, 6, 9 and 10.

“For kids who aren’t involved in a winter sport, (the indoor season) gives them a chance to build some motivation in their training, compete at high-level events and work to improve on some things before the outdoor season,” Kiski Area track and field coach Tom Berzonsky said. “It’s been a good winter season pretty much across the state.”

The heat sheets were completed and released Monday evening on the meet’s milesplit page.

Field events Saturday will begin at 10 a.m., and the track events will start at 10:30. Medals will be presented to the top eight individuals and relay teams.

Team trophies will be presented to champions and runners-up.

“The kids always want to test themselves and see how they measure up against a lot of good competition from the WPIAL and elsewhere,” Berzonsky said.

“After covid, there was a little bit of a decline (in indoor track), and it is great to see it back to where it had been. The field (for Saturday) is impressive, and we’re going to see some amazing performances.”

The high school indoor season concludes Feb. 25 with the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state championships at Penn State.

Some winter sports athletes have pulled double duty and competed at weekend meets at Edinboro and other locations when possible.

Kiski Area sophomore Gianna DeVito wrapped up her high school basketball season with her Cavaliers teammates Friday and then traveled Saturday to the final Tri-State meet of the regular season and popped a top high jump attempt of 5 feet, 1/4 inch that has her tied for the eighth seed in Saturday’s competition. It was her first indoor meet this winter.

She hopes to challenge top athletes including Fox Chapel’s Anna Troutman, who is the second seed with a top height this winter of 5-4.

Freeport’s Mackenzie Magness will be looking for big things as she is seeded third in the pole vault with a top attempt of 11-6.

On the boys side, Fox Chapel’s Mason Miles has enjoyed success this winter, and he heads into Saturday’s meet seeded second in the shot put at 52-6.

Also a second seed is Freeport’s Michael Braun in the mile run (4 minutes, 25.50 seconds). He is six seconds behind top seed Patrick Burgos from Elizabeth Forward.

A pair of boys relays are among the favorites to challenge for titles as No. 3 seeds: the Fox Chapel distance medley of David Black, Aiden Ortz, Rowan Gwin and Ethan Vaughan (10:49.16), and the Kiski Area 1,600-meter group of Demieux McFadden, Justin Gross, Jacob Pattison and Marco Yannarella (3:33.94).

Meet director Ed Helbig at the start of the season submitted performance guidelines to coaches to give them an idea of what times, heights and distances most likely would earn qualifying spots to the championship meet.

Only performances from this indoor season were considered for entry to the championships.

If a school is a member of the TSTCA, any performance from any meet an athlete competed in could be used. If an athlete or a relay is from a TSTCA non-member school, only performances at one of the TSTCA-sponsored meets were acceptable.

“It’s been a good winter for us,” said Riverview coach Palma Ostrowski, who guided her cross country teams to a WPIAL title (boys) and runner-up finish (girls) in the fall.

“Our distance athletes have participated in four indoor events, and we have accumulated some good times. Indoor is much more laid back, and we allow the athletes to focus on different distances. We’ve wanted to use these meets to help us bridge from a successful cross country season to hopefully a successful outdoor season.”

Tri-State Track Coaches Association

Indoor Championships

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024

Mike Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Center, Edinboro University

Alle-Kiski Valley Top-8 Seeds

Girls

Anna Troutman, Fox Chapel, high jump, No. 2 seed, 5-4

Mackenzie Magness, Freeport, pole vault, No. 3 seed, 11-6

Fox Chapel 3,200 relay (Sarah Michalak, Marin Airik, Zelia Herald, and Maya DiPasquale), No. 6 seed (10:29.17)

Freeport 1,600 relay (Pavana Bhat, Erin Schaeffer, MacKenzie Kirsch, Mackenzie Magness), No. 8 seed (4:17.06)

Gianna DeVito, Kiski Area, high jump, Tie-No. 8 seed, 5-¼

Boys

Mason Miles, Fox Chapel, Shot Put, No. 2 seed, 52-6

Michael Braun, Freeport, Mile Run, No. 2 seed, 4:25.50

Fox Chapel Distance Medley (David Black, Rowan Gwin, Aiden Ortz, Ethan Vaughan), No. 3 seed, 10:49.16

Kiski Area 1,600 relay (Marco Yannarella, Demieux McFadden, Jacob Pattison, Justin Gross), No. 3 seed, 3:33.94

Marco Yanarella, Kiski Area, 400 dash, No. 4 seed, 52.13

Zach Kruse, Deer Lakes, 800 Run, No. 5 seed, 1:59.35

Owen Proskin, Plum, High Jump, Tie-No. 5 seed, 6-0; 60 hurdles, No. 7 seed, 8.67

Sam Plazio, Kiski Area, Mile Run, No. 6 seed, 4:34.27

Kiski Area 800 relay (Aiden Walko, Demieux McFadden, Jacob Pattison, Braden Miller), No. 6 seed, 1:36.07

Kiski Area 3,200 relay (Paul Roberts, Justin Gross, Sam Plazio, Marco Yannarella), No. 6 seed, 8:30.30

Riverview Distance Medley (Chris Barnes, Cohen Hoolahan, Micah Ivy, Braden Longstreth), No. 7 seed, 11:43.78

Benjamin Young, Kiski Area, High Jump, Tie-No. 7 seed, 5-11

Riverview 3,200 relay (Cohen Hoolahan, Braden Longstreth, Ashton Saunders, Levi Roupas), No. 8 seed, 8:47.60

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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