Pair of North Hills track and field athletes headed for PIAAs

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Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 9:02 PM


The North Hills track and field team received stellar performances from two of its athletes at the WPIAL Class AAA championships May 16 at Slippery Rock, with both punching their tickets to the PIAA championships.

For the boys, Tommy McDonough accumulated top-10 finishes in three events at the WPIAL meet.

McDonough earned placed fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.89 seconds, good enough to qualify for the race at states. The junior narrowly missed PIAA qualification with his sixth-place finish in the 200, finishing with a 22.59, just one-tenth of a second behind the fifth-place finisher.

However, his best race was the 400, where he ran a blazing time of 50.04 to grab WPIAL bronze. Ironically, it’s an event North Hills track and field coach Mark Timko said McDonough wasn’t even interested in running just a few weeks ago.

“With Tommy, we’ve been telling him for years that as he gets bigger and stronger, his 100 time may not be coming down any further because he’s getting so big. We kept telling him that he’s strong enough for the 400, but that’s a tough race and no one really wants to do it,” Timko said.

“So we ran him twice in the 4-by-400 relay. He thought it was just a workout. He ran it in 53 seconds the first time, then 51 seconds the second time. At the last-chance meet, he asked us to enter him in the 400, and he ended up running a 50.32. He’s never even practiced running it, but we worked on strategy for a good week-and-a-half before WPIALs and he went out there and did great.”

On the girls side, Elaina Longjohn starred for North Hills at the WPIAL title event, recording a mark of 36 feet, 3.5 inches in the triple jump — good for fourth place and a berth at the PIAAs that were to take place May 24-25 at Shippensburg. Results were too late for this edition.

Timko said he has high hopes for Longjohn at states and believes she is fully capable of a repeat performance in the field event.

“She had a top-five jump in the state already this year, so I think if she comes in with fresh legs, she’s going to do very well,” Timko said.

“She plays soccer, too. She’s just an excellent overall athlete. If anything, it’s hard to convince her to give her body a break every once in a while. I know she’ll come to PIAAs ready, and I don’t see why she can’t put together a top-five performance again or maybe even better.”

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