Bethel Park’s Psotka sets sights on WPIAL javelin title

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Under normal conditions, Bethel Park’s Alexa Psotka would be striving this year for her fourth consecutive appearance at the WPIAL Class AAA track and field finals.

“Alexa qualified for the WPIAL championship as a freshman and sophomore, even making the final flight her sophomore year,” coach Mark Jacobs said.

“She obviously lost her junior season to covid (precautions), so it was disappointing not to see her take that next step. But so far this year she has been off to a very good start.”

That good start occurred at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association outdoor championships April 17 at West Mifflin.

Psotka, 18, took first place in the girls javelin event with a toss of 112 feet, 11 inches.

“Alexa has been our main girl javelin thrower the last four years and has gotten better every year,” Jacobs said. “I was impressed and happy for Alexa when notified of her victory. This was her first big invitational of the season and it is always nice to start the year off with a win and a good throw as well.

“Even with the victory, I know there are bigger and better things to come for her in throwing the javelin.”

Psotka, who is originally from Lexington, Ky., out-threw Butler sophomore Maisy Gibson by 11 feet at the Tri-State meet.

“My goal is to start throwing 130 feet consistently and make it to states, now that I’m qualified for WPIALs,” Psotka said. “When I first got to the meet (at West Mifflin) it was super cold and super wet. It was not good throwing conditions whatsoever.

“I expected to throw in the 125-130 feet range and I ended up throwing 112 feet. Honestly, that throw isn’t very good for me and I was a little disappointed, but I was happy to get first place overall.”

Psotka is coached by Bethel Park assistant Jim Stevenson, who specializes in the throwing events.

“Alexa has been improving week to week and I keep getting great reports from her throws coach,” Jacobs said. “It is still early in the season for javelin. They do not throw it indoors so javelin throwers usually take a little longer to get going than other events.

“Alexa has been having some good, consistent throws in practice. A really big throw is coming and I can not wait to see it.”

Psotka is aiming to peak at the end of the spring season at the WPIAL championships.

“Coach Stevenson has been grooming me to win WPIALs ever since my freshman year,” she said, “and if I don’t do so this year, or place in the top four, I’ll be disappointed.”

Psotka has a 3.9 GPA and also is a volleyball standout. A 5-foot-11 outside hitter, she plans to attend Division I College of Charleston to play indoor and beach volleyball while majoring in exercise science. She also hopes to maintain her track career by throwing the javelin.

The dual-sport athlete attained 1,000 kills during her four-year volleyball career at Bethel Park and earned all-section, All-WPIAL and all-state honors.

“Alexa had a very successful volleyball career,” said Brooke Muraco, Bethel Park’s girls coach. “Her talent was well-known throughout our section and the WPIAL. One thousand kills is a great achievement.”

While competing in both indoor and beach volleyball is unique for a WPIAL athlete, Muraco likes Psotka’s chances for success at Charleston.

Psotka has competed in beach volleyball for about a year and a-half, in particular for an elite club team in Ohio.

“Alexa is a coachable athlete,” Muraco said. “She adapts well to different coaching styles, and knows what it takes to keep a spot in the lineup. She has been so much fun to coach and it has been neat to watch her achieve some of her goals.

“I believe she has all of the attributes and skill sets to be successful on and off the court in college. The College of Charleston is lucky to have her. I know she will excel on the sand just as well as she does on the court.”

An avid workout-aholic, Psotka tries to get to the gym six times per week. In years past, she was a member of the stage band and Latin Club at Bethel Park, but decided in 2020-21 to focus her attention on her athleticism.

“Alexa is a go-getter and a competitor,” Muraco said. “She is such a dedicated and committed athlete. There isn’t a time that I remember where she did not give her best effort in the gym.

“She works extremely hard and just always gives 100%. She not only pushes herself to be great, but also strives to make her teammates better.”

Psotka and her family moved to Bethel Park when she was in seventh grade. She competed in volleyball in seventh and eighth grade, followed by her accomplished varsity career with the Black Hawks.

She also plays for the Pittsburgh Elite top club volleyball team, which qualified for the USA national championships recently held in Columbus, Ohio.

Psotka wasn’t Bethel Park’s only individual titlist at the Tri-State meet. Maxwell Blanc, a junior, also corralled first place in the boys javelin event, uncorking a toss of 160-11. Blanc outdistanced Butler senior Landon Kretzer by 12 feet.

Other top javelin throwers for the Black Hawks include senior Austin Orzechowski and junior Lukas Varley.

Two up-and-coming freshman athletes on the girls team are Grace Lindblom and Emma Smith, both in the javelin toss.


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