Penn Hills trio caps career at PIAA meet

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 7:06 PM

An era at Penn Hills came to a close for the “Dynasty trio” as they competed in their final meet at the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships on May 25-26 at Shippensburg.

Seniors Alex Trower, Jaden Rouse and Emmanuel Mitchell had a mixed bag of results.

Mitchell, a Notre Dame (Ohio) recruit, earned his third state medal after finishing fifth in the high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 6 inches. LaSalle College's Jonathon Squadrito won the event after clearing 6-8.

“I wasn't expecting three or four people to jump 6-8 or 6-7. Even though I jumped a 6-6, I wasn't satisfied with my performance. I wish I could've done better and placed higher,” Mitchell said.

At WPIALs, Mitchell finished second (6-5) to McKeesport's Terron Taylor (6-7).

“He jumped higher than he did last year, but I think it was better competition than last year. It was just some competition there. He just missed the first one, and I think it threw him off a little bit,” coach Lee Zelkowitz said.

“I'm very proud of him. That was three years that he went up there and medaled. Not many people can say they did that.”

Rouse, a Bucknell recruit, finished 13th in the triple jump with a mark of 44-4.5, which was a personal best.

Rouse's experience at states was unique since he went to Penn Hills' prom Thursday night and drove to the state meet at 3:45 a.m. Friday to be ready for his event at 9 a.m.

Rouse was upset he scratched on his first jump, which was around 45 feet. However, Rouse said he has to continue to look forward and not worry about the past.

“I PRed by a quarter of an inch. It's better than nothing at the end of the day. I'm going to Bucknell and that's all I can look forward to now,” Rouse said.

Rouse qualified for states after finishing second in the triple jump (44-1.25) at the WPIAL meet. Franklin Regional's Jacob Shedd captured the WPIAL Class AAA triple jump title (44-6.75).

Heading into states, Trower had expectations of being in the conversation for the 100- and 200-meter dash titles. However, Trower was fighting through a hamstring injury, which he suffered during the WPIAL 200-meter race.

Trower was unable to qualify for the finals after taking 12th in the 100 semifinals with a time of 11.09 seconds.

Due to the hamstring injury, Trower was unable to participate in the 200.

“States was heartbreaking. I'm not going to lie. At the end of the day, I was hurt. I knew I was going to win it 100 percent,” Trower said.

“I'm not trying to be cocky, but I knew the work I put in the whole season that it was my time, but I just got hurt at the wrong time. I know my season isn't over, and I'm just going to get back to work.”

At WPIALs, Trower won the 100 (10.69) title. He broke a school record set by Jeffrey Austin (10.74) at the state meet in 1980.

Trower followed up his 100-meter performance by finishing second in the 200 (21.90). Hempfield's Eudel Moreta outran Trower by finishing in 21.81.

Trower will look to avenge his performance at states by competing at New Balance nationals in a couple of weeks.

“One bad meet doesn't define a season,” he said. “I was hurt. I was happy with my season. I told my coaches and parents that I want to dominate. I wanted to be the best. I felt it was my time.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.


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