Busy day awaits Hempfield’s Elizabeth Tapper at PIAA track and field meet

Thursday, May 27, 2021 | 9:13 PM

Talk about having a busy Saturday at the PIAA track and field championships.

Hempfield sophomore Elizabeth Tapper is competing in three events, and although none are running, she will be going back and forth between the pole vault pit and discus throwing area at Seth Grove Stadium Saturday. Competition begins for Class AAA at 9 a.m.

Her afternoon isn’t as hectic. She will compete in the shot put.

She got a taste of what she faces at the WPIAL championships May 19 at Slippery Rock.

“It was super chaotic running back and forth,” Tapper said. “By the end of it, I couldn’t do any more. I was really happy with what I did. I threw 43 feet, 3 inches in the shot, 11-6 in the pole vault and 134 in discus.”

She had personal bests in the shot put by more than a foot-and-a half and by five inches in the pole vault.

Tapper finished second to teammate Isabella Gera, a senior, in both the shot put and discus, and Tapper took third in the pole vault.

“She had a heck of a day,” Hempfield throwing coach Dave Murray said. “I’m excited for all my throwers.”

Along with Tapper and Gera, the other Hempfield throwers are senior Dan Norris (shot put and discus), Murray’s son Peyton (discus) and senior Makayla Lander (javelin).

Norris (60-2¾) is seeded second in the shot put behind Nazareth senior Cody Breidenbach (60-3), and Norris is seeded first in the discus (189-9). Norris has thrown more the 191 this season. Peyton Murray is seeded ninth (164-3) and is the lone freshmen in the field.

Tapper is seeded third in the shot put (43-4 1/4) behind Council Rock South senior Siniru Theoma (47-7¾) and Gera (44-10), as well as third in the discus behind Theoma (155-10) and Gera (144-1). Gera has thrown more than 161 this season.

In the pole vault, Tapper is seeded 11th.

“I’m really excited about states,” Tapper said. “I’d like to get 44 in the shot and anything more than 140 in the discus, and my goal for pole vault is 11-9.”

Others looking to bring home medals include Greensburg Central Catholic junior Corinn Brewer (pole vault, 800 and 1600), Ligonier Valley junior Miles Higgins (javelin), Greensburg Salem senior Quintin Gatons (1600), Latrobe senior Ryan Sickenberger (long jump and 100), Hempfield senior Tanner Barnhart (pole vault), Franklin Regional senior Rayna Todero (triple jump), Norwin senior Alex Jubert (3200), Belle Vernon senior Dan Anden (high jump) and Norwin’s Natalie Shuster (100 hurdles), Bernadette Zukina (400) and Layla Robertson (300 hurdles).

Barnhart said he has two goals this weekend: win a state title and break the school record.

“I’ve been getting on different poles and working on things in preparation for states,” Barnhart said. “I’m just waiting for the day to happen.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.


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