Hampton boys track hopes to replace departed performers
Thursday, April 4, 2019 | 6:11 PM
Hampton boys track is hoping big things come from small packages.
The team will look to replace a handful of lost seniors and other key participants in hurdles and relays with young talent.
The Talbots have had a strong crop of hurdlers through the years, and senior Colton Trush will look to break through as the latest following last year’s top-10 finish at WPIALs in the 300.
“It’s pretty much been, ‘Who’s the next guy that is going to stand up?’ ” said coach Derek Brinkley, who saw his team drop an 88-53 meet to Kiski in the season opener Tuesday.
“He’s one of those kids you see walking around school that you say, it’s not surprising when you see his work ethic, but people don’t know who he really is yet.”
Trush is smaller in stature, but that doesn’t stop him in the 300 meters, or even the 110, where the high hurdles present more of a challenge. The senior still is able to finish well enough to get points for the team.
Another WPIAL and PIAA hopeful is senior distance runner Matt Gust, who nearly qualified for states in cross country in the fall. Gust ran a 2 minutes, 3 seconds in the 800 on Tuesday, a time Brinkley said was his best start to the spring track season ever.
“He’s as motivated as I’ve ever seen him,” Brinkley said. “He’s broken out of that shell of being a younger kid and is walking around with some confidence.”
Junior thrower Christian Waldschmidt also might not fit the mold of a traditionally powerful individual from a physical aspect, but he set a personal record in the javelin in his first meet with 131 feet.
“A lot of times you see throwers that throw like he does, you picture someone a lot bigger,” Brinkley said. “It just shows his work ethic, determination and technique.”
Another runner to watch is sophomore Gage Galuska, who participated at WPIALs last year in the 3,200 relay that finished seventh overall. This year, he is running hurdles for the first time.
“He’s run the 300 hurdles two times in his life and looks more confident than anyone in that position,” Brinkley said. “He’s a strong runner, him and Colton both.”
They will look to fill the shoes of two-time state qualifier Mike Yakich and WPIAL qualifier Ben Brandeis, who consistently contributed points at team meets. Likewise, the team also lost a handful of kids who contributed as underclassmen.
“Every single year you deal with graduation and lose some kids,” Brinkley said. “But you don’t usually deal with kids that have one, two, three years of experience not coming back out.”