Deer Lakes runner Aidan Herman circles goals on track calendar

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Thursday, April 13, 2023 | 9:29 PM


Aidan Herman has his track and field future in his sights.

The Deer Lakes senior middle distance standout expects to run at the Division I level next year, and Eastern Kentucky is a likely landing spot.

“I am talking with them a lot right now,” said Herman, a PIAA qualifier last year in the 800-meter run as well as a member of the WPIAL-winning 1,600 relay.

“That is where I want to go for track. I emailed their coach, and we’ve been communicating ever since. I love Kentucky, and I liked what I saw with the school and the track program. I think I have a better chance of getting a scholarship there as compared to some other places. I haven’t been able to officially visit yet, but a date for that is being planned.”

Herman also has several dates planned out this spring as he hopes to again make his mark on the track for the Lancers in WPIAL Class 2A.

“I am feeling really good right now, and I want to make the best of my races,” Herman said.

“I’ve worked hard to prepare for the season.”

He hoped to make his invitational debut in the 800 on April 1 at the South Hills Classic at Baldwin, but adverse weather conditions canceled the event.

“It was unfortunate, but there are more opportunities out there, so I wasn’t too worried about it,” he said.

The next opportunity comes Saturday as Herman will be among the favorites in the 800 at the Tri-State Coaches Invitational at West Mifflin.

“I expect the (800) field to be pretty strong,” Herman said.

“There should be a least three or four kids (1 minute, 56 seconds) or faster. That is the time I am going for, getting somewhere around that 1:56 mark. I think I can definitely do that.”

Herman said that with senior day April 6, he had a chance to look back over how far he’s come since his sophomore season.

“It’s gone by so fast,” he said. “I didn’t have a freshman season because of covid, so my sophomore year was basically my first year. I didn’t think I would be where I am right now. I just went in trying to figure everything out. Last year turned out really well, and it gave me a boost into this year.”

Herman ran a personal-best 2:00.63 in the 800 at last year’s WPIAL championships at Slippery Rock. He took fifth and qualified for states.

Deer Lakes was one of two teams to have three runners entered in the Class 2A boys 800. Junior Zach Kruse finished 15th, and graduate Carson McCoy, now a freshman on the men’s track team at Eastern Michigan, ruled the event with a WPIAL-winning time of 1:56.34.

McCoy went on to claim the 800 and 1,600 at states, and his time of 1:51.02 in the 800 is the school record.

“(Deer Lakes 2019 grad) Josh Yourish was definitely a trailblazer here for middle distance and distance,” Herman said.

“He was the first one to go sub-2:00 in the 800. It set a standard, and Carson came in and was exceptional. Carson took me under his wing, as he did with a lot of my teammates. He got me into track and helped a lot of us with really good training techniques. He still helps us by giving us some workouts and training that is helping him.”

Herman, along with McCoy, graduate Fletcher Hammond and returning senior Nathan Buechel, helped the boys 1,600 relay claim WPIAL gold last year in a time of 3:28.08.

“WPIALs last year was amazing, probably one of the best feelings I ever had,” Herman said. “That was a great day for me. I PR’d in the 800, and I ran my fastest 4×4 split ever. I wasn’t totally focused on getting a particular time in the 800. My goal was to do well enough to get to states. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, but it ended up working out.”

The 1,600 relay took sixth at states. Herman said he hopes to be a part of a new 1,600 lineup to make a run at a WPIAL-qualifying berth.

“We still have Nate and some other guys from last year who run exceptionally well, so I think we can get another relay out there,” Herman said. “It might not be up there with last year’s WPIAL-title team, but I think it could do pretty well. We definitely want to give that a shot.”

Herman logged a lot of miles throughout the summer to get ready for his senior cross country season.

Cross country then morphed into indoor track, where he hoped to make the most of his training for the outdoor season and compete at the highest level along the way.

Herman broke two minutes in the 800 — 1:58.65 to take fourth — at a high school meet at Youngstown State ahead of the state indoor championships at Penn State.

He took 13th with a time of 1:58.76.

Herman was the fifth finisher from the WPIAL behind Moon senior Jake Puhalla (fourth), Riverview senior Amberson Bauer (sixth), North Hills sophomore Kayden Lightner (ninth), and North Allegheny senior Jackson Pajak (12th).

“I definitely took (indoor) more seriously this year,” Herman said. “I made states in outdoor track, so I knew I had a great opportunity to go to states for indoor. I ran accordingly and planned it out. It was exciting to run at states. I barely made it with my time, so it was cool to just be there. I raced really well. I didn’t PR, but I wasn’t too far off. Penn State was really cool to run at. The banked track, it was all new to me. It was interesting and really fun to be there.”

Herman’s main concentration this season is the 800, but he also plans to run the 1,600 at the Butler Invitational on April 21.

He’s also excited for the 800 at the Baldwin Invitational on May 5. He just missed a medal in the 1,600 at Baldwin last year as he finished ninth.

“That 800 race should be loaded this year,” he said. “I’m excited for that.”

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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