Gartleys lead another golden effort for Quaker Valley at WPIAL track meet

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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Mia Gartley is only a sophomore at Quaker Valley.

Yet in her two years on the QV girls track and field team, she has won two WPIAL individual titles in the Class 2A girls high jump.

Gartley claimed first place May 15 at Slippery Rock University by clearing a height of 5 feet, 4 inches, a personal record.

“I was super stoked to win high jump again,” Gartley said. “It was definitely unexpected but a great achievement. I’ve been working all season to be the best version of myself, so it was so rewarding to hit my goals.

“Going into WPIAL individuals, my only goal was to qualify for states. Once I hit the state qualifying mark, I felt a huge sense of relief and just continued jumping. During the state finals, I’m hoping to get a new personal best or at least match my personal record.”

Gartley has grown from a 5-foot-2 dynamo in seventh grade to a 5-7, 125-pound super athlete. She also competed in some mid-distance events and relays this season.

“I am very proud of Mia’s high jump performance,” QV coach Jared Jones said. “She performs well under pressure and steps up in big moments.”

As a freshman, Gartley secured the top spot in the high jump at the WPIAL championships and placed fifth at the PIAA finals at Shippensburg.

She cleared a then personal-best height of 5-2 at both postseason meets a year ago. The school record in the girls high jump is 5-7 set by Jenise Lockhart in 1980.

Gartley, Apollo-Ridge senior Sophia Yard and QV sophomore Oumou “Mimi” Thiero ended up first, second and third in this year’s WPIAL high jump.

And not to be overshadowed by his younger sister, QV junior Davin “Macky” Gartley won the WPIAL boys 110-meter hurdles event with a PR time of 14.56. He also placed second in the 300 hurdles by the narrowest of margins as the top three runners bolted to a frantic finish.

Ellwood City senior Nick Franitti won the event in 39.39, followed by Gartley in second with a PR 39.56 and West Mifflin junior Austin Kurta in third at 39.59.

“My expectation was to win, so I’m very pleased with my 110 hurdles performance,” Gartley said.

Gartley holds the school record in the 300 hurdles with a 38.99 time, which he posted earlier this spring.

He also ran a leg on the QV boys’ WPIAL winning 1,600-meter relay unit along with freshman James Irwin, sophomore Jayden Juliano and junior Clark LaLomia. The foursome was clocked at 3:26.89.

“Macky has grown so much over the last year,” Jones said. “I’m very happy for the success he’s earned from all of his hard work.”

The 6-3, 175-pound Gartley, who hoped to win both hurdles events at the PIAA meet, also ran in the 100 this season and is a 1,600-meter relayer.

“My goals for states have been the same since the end of last season,” he said, “which are to win the state championship in both hurdles.”

The Gartleys lend support to each other throughout the long haul of the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

“I would say we have more of a support system than a rivalry,” Gartley, the junior, said. “There’s not much competition between us in track mainly because we do such different events.”

His younger sister said both athletes are too goal-oriented to dwell on any type of sibling tug-of-war.

“Surprisingly, we don’t have a track rivalry, at least not yet,” she said. “It’s great to see both of us hit goals that we have been working towards.”

Quaker Valley’s track and field program maintained its elite status with five WPIAL championship performances and 26 medalists, including 14 on the boys team and 12 on the girls team. All six relay squads were medalists.

The QV boys retained their title in the 3,200 relay with a time of 8:01.66 to narrowly edge Ellwood City (8:01.75) in a photo finish.

Sophomore River Capek, freshman Jonah Montagnese and juniors Jackson Pethel and Clark LaLomia competed for the Quakers.

QV’s runners last year were Luke Hotchkiss, Capek, Pethel and LaLomia.

“The boys 4-by-800 relay was so impressive,” Jones said. “Elwood City made the race very close, but our team was able to hold them off in the end. It will be great to see what the team can do against the PIAA competition.”

The Quakers racked up three medals in the 800. LaLomia placed third in 1:57.34, Pethel ended up seventh in 1:59.79 and Capek finished eighth in 200.04. Pethel and Capek logged PRs.

LaLomia finished second in the 1,600 in 4:28.91 in a close race with Mohawk junior Jaxon Schoedel, who won the event in 4:26.74.

QV junior Jay Olawaiye, the WPIAL girls triple jump runner-up in the 2023, claimed the top spot in this year’s triple jump with a 38-5 landing. Olawaiye, who holds the school record of 39-5.5, hit 36-9.5 last spring.

“I’m super thrilled to be the WPIAL champion,” Olawaiye said. “I wasn’t upset that I got second place last year. The girl who won deserved it, but I’m happy I was able to pull through this year with a jump around two feet better than last year’s. It shows my self improvement.

“My goal for the triple jump is just to get over 39 feet because I think it’s an attainable jump for me.”

QV freshman Evie Rosselli and junior Sarah Minard captured third and sixth, respectively, in the girls pole vault, clearing 11-3 and 10-6. Rosselli shattered the school record.

The QV girls 400 relay finished third in 49.96 behind the efforts of juniors Vanessa Pickett and Kwilai Karto, sophomore Zora Washington and Olawaiye.

The 1,600 relay team — Pickett, junior Cecilia Montagnese, sophomore Emma Currier and senior Ellie Cain — corralled fourth place in 4:06.89.

“Both our boys and girls 4-by-400 relay performances were incredible,” Jones said. “The girls all hit season-best marks and combined for the state qualifying standard mark. It was impressive what they were able to do.

“The boys were favored heading into the race after not even medaling last year. Being the favorite comes with a lot of pressure, but they were able to perform the way they know they can. I know they were excited to show what they can do against the best relay teams in the state.”

The QV girls 3,200 relay team, consisting of Montagnese, senior Kate Hines, junior Emily Bablak and Cain, finished fifth in 9:57.02.

“I’m very proud of the relayers,” Cain said. “For a relay to be successful, every member has to contribute, and I think that’s what our relays did.”

Cain, who has amassed 14 WPIAL medals in her track career, has been an important member of the three district championship squads at QV since 2022.

“I was so proud of our team when we won our third WPIAL title this year. It was very exciting,” Cain said. “We went against some very talented teams, so I think our win showed all of the hard work that everyone put in this season at practice and the meets.”

Karto won two individual medals at WPIALs, placing sixth in the 100 hurdles in 16.24 and eighth in the 100 with a state-qualifying time of 12:47.

Two other individual medalists for the girls were Cain, with a fourth-place showing in the 800 (2:21.20), and Currier, who ended up fifth in the triple jump (35-6) with the fourth-best mark in school history.

On the QV boys side, the 400 relay unit — juniors Thomas Debelak and Winston Clifford, senior Izzy Emerson and Gartley — placed fifth in 44.24. The team registered the second-fastest time in school history in 2024 with a 43.58.

Sophomore Aiden Dwyer and Debelak zeroed in on fourth and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump with marks of 42-11 and 42-9.5.

Two other medalists for the boys were Jonah Montagnese, with a sixth-place showing in both the 1,600 (4:30.11) and 3,200 (9:59.73), and sophomore Jayden Juliano, who captured seventh place in the 400 with a PR 51.65 time.

Other top QV performances were attained by sophomore Tyler Bell (1,600, 3,200), Clifford (high jump), Dwyer (high jump), sophomore Reese Fatur (discus), freshman Rose Pocasangre (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Olawaiye (long jump), junior Olivia Jordan (long jump), Irwin (400), Cecilia Montagnese (800, 1,600), freshman Maggie Doz (3,200) and Emerson (200).

Bell (1,600), Clifford (high jump) Dwyer (high jump), Fatur (discus) and Pocasangre (100 hurdles) just missed taking home additional WPIAL hardware with ninth-place finishes.

The WPIAL finals took place May 15-16 after being delayed by thunder and lightning on the first afternoon.

“It was a long two days with all the weather delays,” Jones said.

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