Hempfield’s DeBone motivated entering track invitational

Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 9:57 PM

As the winds gusted across Spartan Stadium on Thursday afternoon, Molly DeBone and her teammates weren't complaining.

With temperatures finally reaching the mid-70s, members of the Hempfield track team were enjoying the warmth as they prepared for Friday's 27th annual Lady Spartan/16th annual Wildcat Invitational at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium.

“Finally, warm weather,” DeBone said as she finished preparing for her three events: pole vault, high jump and triple jump.

The Hempfield senior said she's looking forward to the meet after competing in two events when the temperatures never got above 40.

“I'm looking for consistency,” said DeBone, who has an oral commitment to attend West Virginia for pole vaulting.

“Of course I'd like to win, but I'm super excited to compete and get back on track. I'm motivated by my poor performance in the indoor state championships. I wasn't myself and not focused.”

DeBone was the WPIAL Class AAA pole vault champion in 2015 and placed second the past two seasons. Her best vault of 12 feet, 6 inches came in a dual meet at Greensburg Salem. Her top jump at the WPIAL finals was 11-6.

DeBone is a two-time PIAA placewinner, finishing fifth last season and seventh in 2016.

Hempfield pole vault coach Melissa White said the future is bright for DeBone, especially when she goes to WVU.

“She'll be able to concentrate on one event,” White said. “I expect her to reach 13 feet this season and more than 14 feet in college. Molly doesn't need perfection to be good.”

DeBone picked WVU because it offers the major she's pursuing, occupational therapy. She loves the campus and is looking forward to working with coach San Hench.

She also is looking forward to competing in the Penn Relays on April 26 and the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association meet two days later.

This season, DeBone wants to surpass 13 feet, win a WPIAL title and be a top-three finisher in the state meet.

There are 19 teams registered to compete in the invitational, including North Allegheny, Norwin and Greensburg Salem.

Latrobe coach Andy Wnek said even through the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet is Saturday, he likes the field of teams.

“We're different from other invitationals,” Wnek said. “We allow teams to enter three athletes per event. We want this event to be a kickoff of the team. I'm sure the coaches and athletes will welcome the warm weather.”

Hempfield assistant track coach Nick Keefer said he expects good times and distances.

He was putting DeBone through a drill while caring for his month-old daughters — Ella and Mila — while his wife, Jenna, visited friends.

Keefer said he expects big things for DeBone, sprinter Eudel Moreta and hurdler Bailey Traczynski.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .


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