Hempfield throwers looking to dominate at WPIALs, PIAAs
Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 7:51 PM
Not everyone’s yard has a throwing circle in it.
Dave Murray’s does, and he thanks his wife, Amanda, for allowing it.
It has paid dividends over the years as Hempfield has produced top-notch throwers year after year. This season has a chance to be the best of all.
Murray has been the Hempfield throwing coach for more than 20 years, and he coached numerous WPIAL and PIAA champions. That number has a good chance of increasing Wednesday at the WPIAL track and field championships and May 29 at the PIAA meet at Shippensburg.
Seniors Dan Norris and Isabella Gera are seeded No. 1 in Class AAA in the state in the discus. Norris is No. 1 in the shot put, and both will face tough competition the next few weeks.
“We’re looking to sweep at WPIALs,” Murray said. “Dan and Bella have been throwing well in practice. But we have others I feel have a good chance at earning medals.”
They are sophomore Elizabeth Tapper (shot put and discus), freshman Peyton Murray (discus and shot put), sophomore Brooke Bomer (discus), sophomore John Paul Gera (shot put) and senior Emma Fox (shot put).
“We’re excited,” Murray said. “This could be a big week.”
Norris’ best throw of the season came April 7 against Penn-Trafford: 190 feet, 2 inches. His top throw in the shot put is 62-4, which came May 1 at Latrobe at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association meet.
Hot on his heels in the shot put is Somerset senior Dustin Hyde (60-4), who is originally from Southmoreland.
“I just have to keep working hard and keep things smooth,” Norris said earlier this season. “I have to keep it up in the weight room. I’d like to add more distance in both. I feel it should come.”
Norris plans to compete in track and field at Southern Illinois.
“Coach Murray has kept working on me over the years,” Norris said. “Now I’m bigger and stronger.”
Peyton Murray, son of the coach, is ranked ninth in Class AAA in the state with a throw of 162-8.
Gera said she and Norris are looking to break school records, and those distances are within their grasps. Gera already owns both, but she’d like a shot at the state record of 168 held by Greensburg Central Catholic’s Colleen Rosensteel.
Gera is second in the shot put. Her best throw is 45-5. Council Rock South’s Siniru Iheoma (51-5½) is No. 1.
Gera’s top discus toss is 161-1. Iheoma is No. 2 with a 155-5, and Tapper is third with a 140-1.
“We’ve started to taper down for the end of the season,” Gera said. “Coach Murray has set up different workouts to get us ready.”
Gera will throw for Wake Forest.
Murray said the other banner year season for Hempfield — which has won nine state titles in throwing events — came in 2007, when Weston Banks won the shot put and discus, and Kim Kanala won the discus.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
More High School Sports• Salvitti survives crazy round to win AJGA Southpointe Tournament
• Laurel Highlands baseball coach DeBerry dies following stomach cancer diagnosis
• Central Catholic’s Rocco Salvitti still in the hunt at AJGA Southpointe tournament
• WPIAL requests eligibility hearings for New Castle, Bishop Canevin transfers
• Michael Wareham, Victoria Witouski awarded inaugural Fuhrer scholarships