Hampton boys track features mix of old, new

Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 7:14 PM

There was a good dynamic of young and old that represented Hampton boys track this year.

A handful of runners and hurdlers will represent themselves individually at the WPIAL championships at Slippery Rock on May 16.

“I think there’s been an interesting dynamic of older guys and younger guys that has stepped up this year,” senior distance runner Matt Gust said. “Both distance, sprinting, jumping, there’s seniors and freshmen that have stepped up and performed.”

Gust needed a late push at the Last Chance Meet at Pine Richland on Tuesday to sneak into the 800 field. With his sights set on running under 2 minutes, he finished at 2:01, squeezing in on the last day.

“This year I’ve been really focusing on race strategy more than anything else,” he said. “Getting out fast and trying to lead the pack as opposed to running from behind.”

Junior Josh Holmes followed a strong finish in the Butler Invitational with a third-place result in the 3,200 to set himself for a WPIAL qualification. The distance fields of 800, 1,600 and 3,200 are especially deep and talented this year, Brinkley said.

Senior Colton Trush qualified in both hurdles and showed out strong at the Mars Invitational with a second-place finish in the 110, as well as third place in the 300.

“He ran a heck of a 110 race at Mars,” coach Derek Brinkley said. “He ran under (16 seconds), and he was about as surprised as I was. He’s got to improve his time just a little bit to get into the fast heat in intermediates.”

Gust talked about how the seniors’ success helps their ability to lead.

“To be able to lead by example, I think it give us confidence,” he said. “And I think it gives the younger guys something to look to if they’re lost with whatever they’re doing.”

Sophomore Gage Galuska found his stride early and often in the 400 this year. He took first at the Mars Invitational, setting himself in the top heat at WPIALs.

Other notables from the Mars invite include junior Connor Weiss, who finished eighth in the same event. Freshman Matt DeMatteo also showed with a strong performance in the triple jump, finishing eighth.

“Gage has just been improving each week,” said Brinkley, who stresses his athletess try to qualify for the fast heats at WPIALs, because it can enhance performance. “He’s a stud in the 400 as a 10th-grader. He’s in position to be in the fast heat, which is fantastic.”

The 4×400 team of Galuska, Weiss, Trush and senior Steve Tabon looked great at the Mars Invitational as well, with a first-place finish that helped propel the boys team to a third-place finish in inclement weather.

The team will look to finish strong at Slippery Rock, and hopefully, the state championships at Shippensburg.


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