North Hills track athletes prepare for individual competition

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Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 5:37 PM


The WPIAL track and field season is entering its home stretch, as athletes begin to make preparations for postseason competition.

North Hills is no different, except the Indians may begin tweaking their training regimens a little earlier in the season with the hope that the jump-start may help them turn some of their qualifiers into champions.

“We start that process around probably about the second or third week into the season. That’s when we really start identifying the kids that have a great chance of qualifying for the WPIAL championships,” North Hills coach Mark Timko said.

“Then, we start to build workouts from there all the way up to the week of the championship meet. We spend the first block of time evaluating, and then as soon as the invite meets start, you start to shift the focus toward figuring out which individuals are going to qualify.”

One athlete who has sewn up a qualifying spot at WPIALs is Elaina Longjohn, who will return to the title meet to defend her crown in the Class AAA triple jump. As a sophomore last season, Longjohn leaped 37 feet, 3 ½ inches to take first. She will also compete in the long jump.

On the boys side, Tom McDonough represented well for the Indians at least year’s WPIAL championship meet, taking silver in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the 200, running times of 10.93 seconds and 22.09, respectively. This season, he will return for both events.

“Tommy has picked up in the 100 and the 200 right from where he left off last season, so his times are pretty darn close to where they were last year,” Timko said.

“I believe he finished sixth and eighth in the 100 and 200 last year at the state championships. He’s still just a junior so he really has a lot of promise.”

Other Indians who will be punching a repeat ticket to the WPIAL meet include Sydney Kirsch in the high jump, Joey Buehner in the 1,600 and Jeremy Macpherson in the pole vault.

Former Indians’ football players Lirion Murtezi and Keegan Bryant also are ramping up in the hopes of qualifying in the shot put and the 100 and 200, respectively.

Junior and first-year student at North Hills, Denaisha Watson is also aiming for a busy WPIAL meet, as she looks to qualify in three events: the high jump, the 100 and the 200.

The WPIAL championships will be held May 16 at Slippery Rock University.

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