WPIAL’s Finest distance relay takes 2nd at national indoor track championships

Sunday, February 28, 2021 | 6:33 AM

WPIAL’s Finest almost was the finest in the nation.

The 3,200-meter relay grouping of Greensburg Salem’s Quintin Gatons, Knoch senior Mike Formica, Riverside senior Colby Belczyk and Deer Lakes junior Carson McCoy finished second in the championship race Saturday at Adidas Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va.

The team, which came in as the No. 1 seed, finished in 7 minutes, 53.83 seconds, about two seconds behind No. 4 seed and event winner IMG Elite (7:51.92) from Bradenton, Fla.

“I thought we ran a great race today,” Formica said. “The race played out a little weird. It was more of a tactical race. I think we gave it everything that we had. At the end of the day, that’s all we could do.”

The team was a couple of seconds off the 7:50.60 qualifying mark it recorded Feb. 13 at a meet at Youngstown State.

That time had surpassed the previous top national mark by six seconds and also crushed the previous YSU facility record.

“It was really cool to see how we were able to come together and accomplish what we did,” McCoy said. “It was nice to come down (to nationals) and really enjoy ourselves.”

Formica and McCoy returned to the track Sunday in the championship mile. Formica finished seventh in a time of 4:16.11, while McCoy took 15th (4:20.30).

They were the only two from the WPIAL entered in the race.

Gatons ran the open mile Friday and placed eighth in a time of 4:24.12, three seconds off the winning time of 4:21.07.

Dan Norris, who is from Hempfield but competed unattached, finished sixth in the shot put (58 feet, 5 inches).

Plum’s Logan Parker placed 13th in the shot (53-9), and Knoch’s Josh Rohland was 18th (51-2.75).

Rohland added a 13th in the weight throw (50-1.25). Both Parker and Rohland also competed unattached.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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