Norwin track teams celebrate 4th straight outright section titles

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Saturday, April 30, 2022 | 10:01 AM


Unbeaten in five Section 1-3A meets, the Norwin boys and girls track and field teams pulled off a four-peat: four outright section titles in as many years — the run includes co-titles in 2017.

But coach Tim Van Horn thinks the Knights could be in line for larger goals.

“I would really like to see our teams make the WPIAL championship,” Van Horn said. “There are a lot of great teams in the WPIAL, and both teams realize that we have a tremendous amount of work to do. Our athletes are competing hard in practice and working to bring the best out in each other. They are up for the challenge.”

Norwin’s girls won the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational, and the Knights had several strong individual showings.

The momentum carried over to a big section meet against Hempfield, which Norwin swept.

Junior Trey Huha had a 20-point effort against the Spartans, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the long and triple jumps.

Junior Nataiah Robertson was a three-event winner (100, 200, long jump) for the Knights. She also anchored the winning 400-meter relay.

Senior Bernadette Zukina won the 400, anchored the winning 1,600 relay and placed second in two other events, while senior Layla Robertson won the 300 hurdles, took second in the 100 hurdles and was a member on the winning 400 and 1,600 relays.

Senior Aaron Schmook won javelin and broke his own school record with a throw of 189 feet, 3 inches.

Schmook has been pushed all season by senior Cody Scherle, who was second in the meet, and also finished runner-up to Schmook at the Wildcat meet.

It sure looks like Norwin has a potential WPIAL javelin champion on its hands.

“Aaron is an absolute competitor who puts everything he has into every rep, and that carries over to every throw,” Van Horn said. “He is dedicated in the weight room and dedicated to learning more about his craft. He came into this season with a chip on his shoulder, and we believe that he still hasn’t reached his full potential.”

Knights shine at Butler

Schmook shined as the Butler Invitational, winning the javelin title with a throw of 198 feet, 3 inches.

The mark was the No. 1 toss in the state.

Scherle again was nipping at Schmook’s heels, throwing 175-7 for second place.

Freshman Ryan Schiller took fifth in the 110-meter hurdles, despite suffering an ankle injury, with a time of 16.17 seconds.

The Norwin girls finished second overall at Butler, with an individual win by the 1,600-meter relay of Bella Brozeski, Alexandra Walton, Robertson and Zukina, whose time of 4:02.16 was 10 seconds ahead of Mt. Lebanon.

Robertson also won the 300 hurdles in 45.10 seconds.

Van Horn said Schiller is done for the season. He said the freshman clipped a hurdle and, while trying to correct himself in mid-air, fell awkwardly and fractured his ankle.

“Ryan is an awesome kid who works his tail off every workout,” Van Horn said. “He competes in every rep and loves facing the top dogs. He is like a silent assassin: He doesn’t say much, but when he lines up, you know he is going after everyone else on that line. He will be a huge loss for us, but I know he will battle back and will be a force the rest of his career. We are all hoping for a speedy and full recovery.”

Norwin’s senior girls are 15-0 in the program, while the boys are 14-1.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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