Gateway’s Dino Nadarevic to compete in shot put, discus at PIAA championships

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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Dino Nadarevic went from non-WPIAL qualifier to a double PIAA qualifier in the span of 12 months.

The Gateway junior put the work in, and last week at Slippery Rock University, he produced a pair of medal-winning performances.

Nadarevic said he’s excited for the opportunity to return to his standards in both the Class 3A boys shot put and discus Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg.

He will throw the shot at 12:30 p.m. Friday and the discus at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It feels great being able to qualify for states considering last year, I only threw 37 feet in the shot and was around 120 in discus. Now, I am reaching state-qualifying places and distances,” Nadarevic said.

“I knew coming into this (WPIAL) meet that there would be a ton of great competition. I wanted to finish top three in both, but that didn’t happen. But it is not over. I have (this weekend) to compete again, and I will go back and work on some things to be ready to go.”

Nadarevic wanted to get past 57 feet, 6 inches in the shot put, but he finished a little under that at 53-8½. The throw however, put him in fourth, a finish that gave him an automatic trip to states.

“I had a good series in the shot, but my throws weren’t getting out there,” Nadarevic said.

New Castle senior Jaden Kirkwood (57-8½), Fox Chapel senior Mason Miles (57-¼) and Hempfield senior Peyton Murray (55-3) finished in the top three.

Nadarevic came in with a season best of 168-3 in the discus.

He finished under that mark with a distance of 154-2 to finish sixth. However, that distance surpassed the state qualifying standard of 153-0.

“Coming into the discus, I felt really confident,” he said. “Warm-ups went great overall. I felt I had a good series. Like the shot, the throws just weren’t getting out there the way I wanted.”

Nadarevic’s entries in the shot and discus were two of a dozen such opportunities for Gateway athletes at Slippery Rock over what became two days of competition.

Mother nature spared Slippery Rock for the first four hours of Wednesday’s events with the sun coming out and temperatures rising to near 70 degrees.

But showers, thunder and lightning arrived around 3:30. The adverse weather caused the WPIAL to suspend competition for close to three and a half hours.

Events on the track and in the field resumed at 6:30 only to be suspended again at 8:30. The WPIAL ultimately postponed the remainder of the meet to Thursday back at Slippery Rock with the Class 2A and Class 3A boys 800 races, the 200 finals, the 3,200 run, and the 1,600 relay to be contested along with a couple of field events yet to be completed.

Gateway was more fortunate than others as all but one of its athletes’ events were completed by the time the WPIAL made the decision to postpone.

The Gators boys 1,600-meter relay of Caleb Bell, Michael Howard, Carlos Diggs and Nizaiah Heller had the 18th fastest time (3:32.85) in Class 3A this season. They were scheduled to run Thursday evening.

“I sympathized with the people who had to make the decision (to postpone),” LaBuff said.

“No matter what they did, they were going to get some pushback. I don’t know all the things they had to consider. There are a lot of things that go into a decision like that. It comes down to thinking about the safety of spectators, athletes, coaches and officials. I know they wanted to get it done in one day.”

Junior Austin Lockhart picked up a WPIAL medal in the Class 3A boys triple jump, but he wanted more in terms of place finish and distance. He placed fifth with a top leap of 43-3, eight inches under the 43-11¾ that earned him the sixth seed coming in.

“I feel I jumped OK,” Lockhart said. “It was still good. I got over 43 feet. But I didn’t PR which is what I wanted to do. I was shooting for 44. But fifth isn’t too bad.”

The state-qualifying standard was 45-0.

Senior Kierra Pitts came in seeded 15th in the 100 hurdles (15.84) and 17th in the 300 hurdles (47.93).

Her times ended up elevated — 16.52 in the 100 (18th place) and 48.97 in the 300 (19th).

“She gave it her best,” LaBuff said. “She was just a little off in the (100 high), and you can’t afford that in a meet like that. She’s not used to that. I am sure it was a big disappointment for her. We always tell the kids to be content as much as they can if they know they gave it their best shot. But she had a really nice career, and I know she will make the most of what she has in front of her.”

Pitts will join the women’s track and field team at Division II Albany State in Georgia.

Junior Kenny Lewis had the third fastest time in the Class 3A 100 dash (10.87) and the 11th fasted 200 dash time (22.52) and was hoping for a strong day at WPIALs.

He also was a part of the 400 relay seeded seventh (43.20).

But a hamstring injury at a last-chance meet May 10 sidelined him for the meet.

“He came to the meet to support his teammates, and that was very admirable of him,” LaBuff said.

“It was really disappointing for him because we felt that as long as he performed at his typical level, he was going to be in that top three or four in the 100. In the 200, he had a good chance of moving up to around six or seven even though it was a loaded field.”

The 400 relay team ended up 17th (44.46).

“Our relay just isn’t the same without him,” LaBuff said. “It was just one of those situations where we weren’t able to run our best kids in the sprints at the WPIAL meet. It just happens a lot in athletics where injuries are a part of it.”

Bell came in seeded sixth in the 400 dash (50.49) and hoped to run a fast heat, but he was whistled for a false start coming out of his block and was disqualified.

“He has no idea why,” LaBuff said. “He’s been in high-pressure meets before, and there’s never been anything close to that. It was just unfortunate. I feel really bad for him.”

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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