Hempfield has 5 champions at WPIAL track meet

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | 10:57 PM

It was another solid day for the Hempfield track and field program Wednesday at the WPIAL championships.

The Spartans had five champions, five second-place finishes and two thirds.

Hempfield coach Ron Colland said he was more than pleased with his team’s performance.

Winning two titles each were senior throwers Dan Norris and Bella Gera. Norris busted out a throw of 189 feet, 9 inches in the discus and 60 feet, 2¾ inches in the discus.

“I felt really good throwing,” Norris said. “I’m happy with my effort. Now I can’t wait for states.”

Gera has had better days throwing, but she still won her events. She threw 144-1 in the discus and 44-10 in the shot put.

“I was just off, especially in the discus,” Gera said. “I was satisfied in the shot put. I have things to work on before next week.”

Gera’s teammate Elizabeth Tapper placed second in the shot put and discus and third in the pole vault with a personal best of 11 feet, 6 inches. She also had a PR in the shot put.

The Spartans’ other champion was senior Tanner Barnhart in the pole vault. He jumped 14-9.

“It was a good day,” Barnhart said. “I achieved my goal of winning. Now I’d like to get the school record of 16-1 next week.”

Sam Parker finished second in the high jump with a leap of 6-1, Cydney Blahovec was second in the 800 and Capri DeCaro was second in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump. Makayla Lander was third in the javelin.

Franklin Regional senior Rayna Todero captured the triple jump with a leap of 37-10 1/2. Her sister Sierra placed eighth.

Belle Vernon’s Dane Anden won the high jump with a leap of 6-3.

Norwin didn’t have any champions, but it did have seven qualifiers.

Placing second were Natalie Shuster (100 hurdles) and Bernadette Zukina (400), placing third were Layla Robertson (300 hurdles), Alex Jubert (3200), Aleksandra Brozeski (long jump) and John Giansante (triple jump) and finishing fourth was Nataiah Robertson-Dutrieulli (long jump).

Latrobe’s Ryan Sickenberger earned a fourth-place finish in the long jump, while Greensburg Salem senior Quintin Gatons placed fourth in the 1600.

Also qualifying from Belle Vernon was Francesca Scaramucci in the high jump by placing third.

The Kiski Area girls 3,200-meter relay team qualified for the PIAA championship following a fourth place finish. The team of Jordan Fairman, Payton Sullivan, Emily Schrag and Eliza Miller ran a personal best 9:31.92 by 15 seconds.

Now they are eyeing the state meet and hopefully the school record of 9:26.

“We all ran our best so we could reach the state qualifying standard,” Schrag said.

“We did it for each other,” Fairman added. “We did it for each other.”

In Class AA, Tara Perry had a golden goal coming into the WPIAL meet.

She placed second in the high jump at the 2019 championships.

But the Derry senior didn’t settle for silver this time. She made good on her plans and brought home the high jump title with a personal-best winning leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, two inches better than her top attempt two years ago.

“I was really close to a 5-4, so I was pretty happy with how I jumped,” said Perry, who now will turn her attention to the PIAA championships, set for May 29 at Shippensburg University.

Ligonier Valley senior Tatum Hoffman also achieved a 5-2, but Perry’s 5-2 mark came in fewer attempts.

Perry finished 12th in the high jump (5-0) at states as a sophomore.

“I didn’t do as well in 10th grade (at WPIALs) as I did (Wednesday), so I am already higher up on the podium,” she said. “Hopefully, that makes the difference this time at states and I can get a best jump there.”

Perry also will compete at states in the 100 hurdles after a fourth-place finish (16.76 seconds).

Ligonier Valley junior Miles Higgins arrived at WPIALs as the top seed (180-4) with a 15-foot margin. The finish between first and second on Wednesday was a lot closer.

Higgins won by three feet — 169-10 to 166-1 — over runner-up Hunter Bakewell, a senior from Yough.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Corinn Brewer is headed back to states in three events after a busy day at WPIALs.

Runner-up finishes in both the 800 run (2:19.41) and pole vault (11-0) fronted her efforts. She also took third in the 1,600 (5:15.13).

It couldn’t have gotten any closer in the boys 110 hurdles as South Allegheny junior Eric Anderson edged Southmoreland senior Jake VanArsdale for the title by one one-hundredth of a second (15.74 to 15:75).

Also scoring silver medals during WPIAL action Wednesday were Southmoreland sophomore Olivia Cernuto in the girls triple jump (36-1.75) and Southmoreland junior Isaac Trout in the boys triple jump (42-4.25).

Staff writer Michael Love contributed.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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