North Allegheny notebook: Wren Kucler, Jack Bertram win gold at indoor state meet

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Saturday, March 2, 2024 | 11:01 AM


North Allegheny junior runners Wren Kucler and Jack Bertram capped off the indoor track and field season in style by winning gold medals at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state championships Feb. 24, at Penn State.

Kucler won the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 51.56 seconds. Her twin sister, Robin Kucler, finished second in the event in 9:53.38. Senior Eva Kynaston was fifth.

Bertram also won gold in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:30.35.

Wren Kucler also took fourth in the mile, with Robin Kucler placing fifth.

Mackenzie Winning also earned a medal by finishing eighth in the 400, just ahead of teammate Isabella Costa in ninth. The 1,600-meter relay also took fifth.

The NA girls team finished second in the team standings with 36 points, just two behind champion Friends’ Central.

The NA boys finished 19th.

Girls basketball team returns to title game

Lydia Betz led all scorers with 21 points as No. 3 North Allegheny knocked off No. 2 Peters Township, 43-30, in the WPIAL Class 6A girls basketball semifinals Feb. 26.

Grace Heliger scored eight points and Kellie McConnell added seven for the Tigers (22-2), who met Norwin for the third time this season in the WPIAL finals March 1 at Petersen Events Center.

The Tigers were chasing a seventh WPIAL title and looking to defend a championship won last season.

North Allegheny and Norwin had met six times in the postseason since 2014 with each winning three. The teams played each other in the 2016 championship with Norwin winning 63-57.

North Allegheny beat Norwin in the 2023, ‘19 and ‘15 semifinals and in the 2016 and ‘15 PIAA quarterfinals. Five of North Allegheny’s six titles have come in 6A, which the WPIAL instituted in 2017.

The Tigers have won eight games in a row and 14 of their last 15, with the only loss coming against Norwin.

Coach Spencer Stefko has guided teams to the WPIAL finals in 11 of the past 12 seasons.

Wrestlers qualify for WPIALs

North Allegheny freshman Evan Schomburg captured the Class 3A Northern Sectional title at 107 pounds Feb. 24 at Kiski Area.

Schomburg defeated Shaler’s Anthony Jones, 8-1, in the championship match.

He was among 11 Tigers wrestlers to qualify for the WPIAL championships, held March 1-2, at Canon-McMillan.

Earning runner-up finishes were Gus Stedeford (121), Casey Walker (127), Aidan Buggey (215) and Bradyn McConneha (285).

Will Bentrim (133) and Mason Hartung (189) took third. Charlie LaQuatra (114) and Kellen Buggey (172) were fourth. Griffen Reid (139) and Gabriel Hernandez (145) each placed sixth.

Owens to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Ayden Owens, a former North Allegheny track and field standout, will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Track and Field Hall of Fame during the state championships in May in Shippensburg.

The 2018 grad won five PIAA hurdles titles in addition to having success at Junior Olympic and National Scholastic meets, both indoor and outdoor.

He was a Gatorade Pennsylvania men’s track and field athlete of the year and Track and Field News All-American in 2018.

He went on to star in college at Southern Cal, Michigan and Arkansas, where he won the 2022 NCAA championship in decathlon and was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Year.

He was a nine-time NCAA Division I All-American and three-time NCAA champion.

As a representative of Puerto Rico, he competed at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in the decathlon, placing third in the 100 meters, shot put and long jump. He finished fourth overall. He also took part in the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, where he finished 16th.

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