Penn Hills indoor track, basketball teams rolling with covid-related schedule changes

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Sunday, January 9, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Amidst another winter of uncertainty, the Penn Hills athletic department has found itself no stranger to altering schedules due to the pandemic.

Because of a surge of cases at Edinboro University, the Tri-State Track Coaches Association’s first indoor track meet, set to take place last Saturday, was canceled. The second meet, which was set for Jan. 14, is still set to take place.

Penn Hills coach Lee Zelko­witz was disappointed by the decision but understood the change given the reasoning.

“They decided because they had a lot of positive tests with their winter athletes they didn’t think it was a good idea to bring 700-some kids up at the time,” Zelkowitz said.

The girls and boys basketball teams were also both impacted as well. The Penn Hills girls team had several players out of practice, and they returned the night before a 47-33 loss to Franklin Regional on Jan. 4.

For the boys, Penn Hills’ game against McKeesport on Jan. 7 was scheduled to be played with a limited number of spectators. The Indians players and cheerleaders were allowed a maximum of two guests per player.

Penn Hills coach Chris Giles said he wasn’t worried about a shutdown. The Indians are off to a 7-1 start this season.

“Our kids have been doing a good job of wearing masks and using hand sanitizer,” Giles said. “The issue is these kids work hard and not everybody will be able to see it. Hopefully, it’s just a one-week or two-week thing. These kids work hard, and we want everybody to see it.”

Zelkowitz has been encouraged with the turnout for the indoor track team this season. The Indians have 30 athletes on the roster from a mix of disciplines within track and field.

“It’s a nice mix,” Zelko­witz said. “I only have one thrower, but I have a good mix of sprinters and middle-distance people. It’s good. We’re really happy with this group of kids so far. We’ve had a good month-plus of practice. They were disappointed that the meet got canceled.”

Penn Hills indoor track returns its entire 4×400 relay team of Larissa Lockridge, Mylah Faulk, Caroline McDevitt and Maliah Powell. Supreme Sanders, Roland Glenn and Cameron Thomas will also be contributions when the Indians get back to competing.

“We can’t wait to get competition and get on the track,” Zelkowitz said. “Hopefully, there will be four more meets plus the championships. Also, we are going to go to Youngstown State and compete. They have a nice track at YSU.”

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