Kiski Area runner Shreffler has singular focus: PIAAs

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | 5:59 PM


Kierra Shreffler is on a mission to get to the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships.

The Kiski Area senior hoped to break through last year in the 1,600-meter run, her main event, but she fell just short of her goal at the WPIAL championships.

Now, she has a renewed focus on states in individual and relay efforts. She hopes momentum built from cross country and a productive indoor season will help her achieve those goals.

Shreffler is signed to run cross country at Duquesne.

“This year, I am really focusing on the WPIAL meet and working on some little things that will help me drop time,” Shreffler said. “I know I have to take it one meet at a time and build to WPIALs, but getting to states is a big goal for me.”

The state qualifying standard in the mile last year was 5 minutes, 10 seconds, and Shreffler was close to that mark at the Baldwin Invitational two weeks before WPIALs.

She recorded a 5:17 at WPIALs and placed sixth. The top five qualified for states either automatically or as an at-large selection on time.

“I really didn’t perform how I wanted at WPIALs,” Shreffler said. “It just wasn’t my day.”

She finished with a pair of medals at WPIALs as she took eighth in the 3,200.

Shreffler returned to high school competition in the fall on the area’s cross country courses.

She capped her senior season with a 13th-place finish at the PIAA championships in Hershey.

She jumped more than 100 places from her previous best at states.

After signing with Duquesne, the indoor season gave her the opportunity to focus on her speed through several 400 and 800 races.

“I had a pretty relaxed indoor season,” Shreffler said. “I worked on a few things and also just prepared my body for the outdoor season. I am ready to run some good races.

“All of those things (cross country, Duquesne, indoor season) really pumped me up for the outdoor season. It is exciting to know I have the chance to do more before heading off to college.”

Shreffler said a strength program started last year has helped her and her teammates in their quest to reach their best performances.

“I could see it really starting to work for me in cross country, and we just continued it all the way through to this winter,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the benefits from it this season.”

Shreffler said she also is excited to see what the girls 3,200 relay, including sophomores Emily Schrag and Jordan Fairman and freshman Payton Sullivan, can do this spring.

“It’s a young team, for the most part, and I hope to do my part to guide them along,” Shreffler said. “Hopefully, we can put it all together and get to WPIALs and possibly to states. I think we can do something great this year.”

Cavaliers coach Tom Berzonsky said Shreffler again is showing strong leadership qualities this spring.

“She’s been through so many different experiences,” Berzonsky said. “She leads by example, and she’s also that calming presence at practice and at meets. She helps her teammates stay focused on what they need to do to get better.”

Shreffler and several dozen other Kiski competitors kicked off the season last Saturday at the 43rd Altoona Igloo Invitational.

She won the 1,600 (5:36.36) and helped the 1,600 relay (Sullivan, Fairman and junior Chloe Galo) take fourth (4:25.01).

In all, Cavaliers athletes brought home 23 top-eight ribbons from the Altoona Igloo Invitational.

“It was nice to get on the track in competition,” Shreffler said. “I was able to cruise in my mile race. There wasn’t the competition there to push me to have to run my best time. Overall, it was a good meet to see where everyone is in their events and see what we can work on to get better.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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