Gateway trio qualifies for state track championships
By: Michael Love
Friday, May 17, 2019 | 8:10 PM
Shelly Jones said she was happy with her performance at Thursday’s WPIAL Class AA championship finals at Slippery Rock.
The Gateway senior, who had been dealing with an ankle sprain leading up the to meet, earned her best-ever WPIAL finish with a throw of 39 feet, 1 inch in the shot put. Her bronze medal secures her place at the state meet for the first time.
“It’s my last year as a senior, and I want to go to states, do my best and just have a good time,” Jones said.
The PIAA meet is Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg.
“I hadn’t been doing my best in practice, and it was getting in my head,” said Jones, who improved from her seventh in the shot at last year’s WPIAL meet.
“I was doubting myself until (Wednesday) night when I just said to myself, ‘You’ve got to go out there and do your best.’ I cleared my head before I threw and went out there and threw my best.”
Fellow senior Sarah Corrie will throw at states in both the shot put and the javelin. It will be her first trip to Shippensburg, as well.
She first qualified with Jones in the shot, placing seventh and meeting the state-qualifying standard of 37 feet, 10½ inches.
“At the beginning of the season, I was only throwing 32 and 33 feet,” said Corrie, who qualified for the shot at the West Mifflin last-chance meet. “Now, I am throwing 37, and that’s a big jump. I am really excited with that.”
Corrie then added a state-qualifying performance in the javelin, her main event. Her best distance was 122-2 which landed her in sixth overall. The state-qualifying mark was 122-0.
The top four in each Class AAA event punched tickets to states, as well as those in the top eight who met the PIAA’s pre-set qualifying times, heights or distances.
Junior Nana Adusepoku qualified individually for WPIALs in the 100-meter dash, the 200 and the 400, and ran the 200 and 400 at Slippery Rock.
He qualified for his first individual trip to states with a third-place finish in the 200. He ran to a time of 22.27 seconds that bettered his 22.51 seed time.
“He was sick as a dog (Thursday) morning and he just sucked it up,” Gateway coach Tom LaBuff said.
“We talked about how the work he has put in allows him to compete at a high level even when he’s not well. He’s worked his way through some really tough workouts. I told him that its 90 percent from the neck up, and he prepared the best he could. He backed off in the 400 because there wasn’t much there, but he was hoping to get through in the 200, which he did.”
LaBuff said with the 400 being his best event, Adusepoku was title contender and was seeded third. However, he finished 24th at 1:00.42.
“It was a conscious decision that he didn’t have enough in the 400 and would concentrate on the 200,” LaBuff said.
Adusepoku joined senior Daven Burnham, junior Ben Meshanko and sophomore Derrick Davis on the medal winning 400 relay team. The quartet took sixth with a time of 43.50
“Most of our kids had personal bests (at WPIALs),” LaBuff said. “It was a good day.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .