Penn Hills athletes look to get jump start with indoor track season

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Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 5:31 PM


The journey for the Penn Hills track program starts now as the group will utilize the indoor season to prepare for outdoor season in the spring.

Seniors Eliza Brennan and Kemi Balogun, junior Faith Crawford and sophomore Miniya Pinnix headline the Indians’ team this season. Pinnix hopes to rebound from an injury-­filled outdoor season.

“There is talent here,” coach Lee Zelkowitz said. “We’ve had talent before, but we have desire from them to really get better. The combination of that is really strong this year.”

Pinnix started her high school track career on the right foot when she finished 10th in the 800-meter run (2:17.64) at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association indoor championship at State College last season.

“She’s gone through some really good training in the fall. We’re upping the training to make sure she takes care of her stretching and warm-up. We’re really working this indoor season to get her strong,” Zelkowitz said. “That’s going to help her get through the indoor season and really stay strong for the outdoor season. We’re looking to do a lot of speed with her so we can get her as strong as she can be.”

Brennan, who is the team captain, will look to build off her eighth-place finish in the 200 (26.46) at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last season. Brennan will compete in the 400, as well.

Balogun finished 15th in the triple jump (33-10) last season at WPIALs.

Brennan, Crawford and Pinnix will factor in as part of the 800 and 1,600 relays, which had top-three finishes at WPIALs last season. Crawford is coming back from a sprained ankle.

Zelkowitz will look for continued success from senior Kiera Ward in the hurdles and junior Jonah Silverman in the 800.

“I really like the positive attitude on both the boys and girls teams. They are both really working hard. There is great participation. We’ve put them through some really tough workouts and it’s looking really really good. We have a lot of young kids on the team so it’s really exciting to see how they progress,” Zelkowitz said.

Zelkowitz has hopes for sophomores Josh Lee (400) and Angelo Allen (shot put) to make a splash this season. Allen finished seventh at WPIALs in the shot put with a mark of 47-10.25.

“(Allen) has gotten big over the summer,” Zelkowitz said. “His strength is getting better and his quickness is just phenomenal. He’s working really hard,”

Zelkowitz continues to have the same approach to the indoor season with the long-term vision in mind.

“Our focus really is on getting there in May and have as many people get up there to states. But we do treat indoor as a competitive season. We want to get kids up to the state meet at Penn State, as many as we can,” Zelkowitz said.

“We want to have a really good showing at the Tri-State championship at the end of February. The main goal is to get people ready for outdoor.”

The Indians indoor season starts with a Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet at Edinboro on Jan. 4.

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