Penn Hills notebook: Indoor track team looks to build speed, stamina

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Sunday, February 19, 2023 | 11:01 AM


While Penn Hills indoor track coach Lee Zelkowitz like to use the winter season as a program builder for the fall outdoor season, the Indians would like to build some momentum by sending a few athletes to the state meet.

But first, the Indians had to have athletes qualify for that meet during the TSTCA Championships on Feb. 18, the results of which were too late for this edition. Entering the meet, Penn Hills hadn’t had any athletes hit the qualifying standard.

Penn Hills is hoping that the 4×400 relay team — consisting of Jadyn Golden, Maliah Powell, Larissa Lockridge and Mylah Faulk — can lead the way. What makes things tough for relays, Zelkowitz said, is the number of spots available.

“It’s hard because they set a limit on the number of teams that can make each relay,” Zelkowitz said. “So even if you hit the qualifying time, you have to be in the top 20. The girls are going to have to keep running faster to leapfrog teams and make that mark.”

At the most recent TSTCA meet at Edinboro, the girls’ 4×400 relay team finished in second place with a time of 4:12.76.

Janaya Coleman was the top individual finisher on the girls side. Coleman placed ninth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.74. Paris Bey led the boys team by placing ninth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.32 seconds and 13th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.05.

Zelkowitz said he hopes to continue getting good work in before the season ends.

“We work out three days a week to not burn the kids out,” Zelkowitz said. “We want everyone to be able to keep building strength, stamina and speed.”

Penn Hills seeded second

Despite a strong push for the top seed, the Indians were seeded second in the Class 5A bracket for the WPIAL boys basketball playoffs. Penn Hills finished the regular season with a 16-3 overall record and won the section with a 9-1 mark.

Indians senior Daemar Kelly, a Quinnipiac commit, reached a personal milestone by hitting the 1,000-point mark.

The Indians were scheduled to face Trinity in a first-round matchup to open the playoffs Feb. 17.

Penn Hills coach Chris Giles didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Girls wrestling hits threshold

Penn Hills sanctioned a girls wrestling team for the school late in 2022 despite not having any athletes out for the team. However, the Indians’ efforts to add the program helped in the drive to get the sport sanctioned by the PIAA.

Last Tuesday, Pennridge became the 100th Pennsylvania high school to sponsor girls wrestling. That will allow the PIAA to set up a postseason tournament in future seasons.

Should the Indians be able to get athletes interested in competing, that will provide another opportunity for athletes to compete at the state level for championships.

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