Carlynton relay eyes trip to PIAA meet

Friday, May 11, 2018 | 1:15 AM

As the WPIAL track and field championships open Thursday, a streak is on the line. The Carlynton girls 400 relay is looking to go back to the PIAA meet for the fourth consecutive season.

Seniors Arieona Smith-Purdue, Katie Kozy and Sydney Franchick have been part of that streak, and the addition of Ainsley Pearce hasn't upset the chemistry. The team enters the WPIAL finals tied for the third-fastest qualifying time in Class AA.

“They keep getting better each meet,” coach Nate Milsom said, noting the group also attended Penn Relays. “We are looking to place high (in the WPIAL) this year.”

Kozy (200), Franchick (long jump) and Smith-Purdue (100) also qualified in individual events.

Another Carlynton athlete to keep an eye on is junior Matt Hilarsewski. He has proven to be a versatile runner and will compete in the 200 and anchor the Cougars' school record-setting 3,200 relay, which also includes Desmond Corrado, David Creely and Riley Post.

“(Matt) would have probably qualified in four or five events,” Milsom said, “but we wanted to narrow down his events in hopes he can advance (to states) in a few.”

Bishop Canevin's Abby Vavro looks to start her own streak of success as she makes her WPIAL championship debut. Coach Eric Shafer said she is the first freshman — boy or girl — in school history to qualify for the WPIAL meet in three events.

She will compete in the 800, as well as the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

Vavro will be joined on the 3,200 relay by two other freshmen, her twin sister Lydia Vavro and Sarah Barron, and senior Maddie Walter. Junior Danielle Deasy replaces Barron in the 1,600 relay.

Crusaders senior Donavin Meriweather looks to finish his high school career on the medal stand after qualifying in the 1,600, in which he broke an 8-year-old school record, and the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

He is joined on the relays by his brother, Bryce, and Adam Petrovich. Lou Worrall is the fourth member of the 3,200 relay, and Mike Kanavy rounds out the 1,600 relay.

In Class AAA, South Fayette will send a large contingent to Baldwin. Senior Rachel Helbling, already the owner of two WPIAL gold medals in the 400, leads the Lions girls. Sam Snodgrass, a qualifier in the 1,600, 3,200, leads the boys team.

Chartiers Valley coach Lori Poe will have interests on two fronts at the WPIAL championships. She has eight Colts individuals and five relays to watch, plus her daughter, Hailey, who attends South Fayette, qualified in the 3,200.

Carleea Webb (100) and Kiki Thornton (1,600) were the lone CV girls to qualify individually. The girls 1,600 and 3,200 relays also qualified.

The CV boys' best chance to wind up on the medal stand lies with junior pole vaulter Abdul Brooks. His qualifying height of 13 feet, 9 inches is fourth best in the field. The 1,600 relay team also has a strong chance after qualifying for the fastest of three heats.

Senior distance runner Czar Tarr could push for a medal in the 1,600, where he qualified in the faster of two heats.

Nathan Wood (400) and Elias Zajicek (800) also could be in medal contention, both qualifying just hundredths of seconds out of the fast heat in their respective races. The Colts also qualified a pair of hurdlers: sophomore Marcello Legister (110) and junior Hunter Haer (300).

South Fayette's complete list of qualifiers is: girls: Helbling (200, 400), Katy Allen and Steffanie Kozak (800), Maria DeCello (1,600, 3,200), Poe, Amy Allen (300 hurdles), Hailey Bair (high jump), Mariah Mastro (discus) and all three relays; boys: Silas Mays (800), Snodgrass, Sam Mastro (shot put, discus), 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.

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