Penn-Trafford track and field uses county championships as WPIAL tune-up

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Thursday, May 9, 2019 | 8:54 PM


The Penn-Trafford track and field team isn’t much of an invitational team.

Outside of Latrobe’s Wildcat/Spartan Invitational in early April, the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association track and field championships are the only other big invite the Warriors compete in heading into the WPIAL track and field championships.

“(The WCCA’s is) one of our biggest meets of the year,” Penn-Trafford coach Eric Reeger said. “It’s the first invitational that we go for, and it’s our biggest meet other than WPIALs that we go to.”

So, how did the Warriors do? Well, let’s just say there were a few surprises. The girls team finished 11th out of the 14 schools with 16 points.

“We have such a small roster on the girls team, and we don’t have girls in all the events,” he said. “We didn’t have terribly high expectations for them because of how small the roster is.”

Reeger thought sophomore Lizzie Cermak would take home the county title in the 200-meter-dash but the speedster came in second behind Norwin’s Jessica Kolesar with a time of 27.02 seconds. Cermak, who competes in two sports during the spring, finished third (12.91) in the 100 meters, as well.

“She spends about half her time at softball practice,” Reeger said. “That’s another bummer. We have a couple kids that play a number of different sports. She did really well last year, and her times are about the same as they were last year.”

Cermak will compete in both events at this Thursday’s WPIAL Class AAA track championships at Slippery Rock.

Marissa Anderson picked up an eighth-place finish in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 33.77 seconds). Julia Hauck came in ninth in the shot put with a distance of 31 feet, 6 inches. Chloe Bronson finished fifth in the 3200 meters with a time of 12:17.68.

Things went slightly better than average on the boys side. The boys tallied 30 points to finish eighth out of 17 teams.

The boys team, like the girls, didn’t bring any county champions home but they did have some pretty decent performances and top-five finishes. Senior Jake Cardiff finished third in the 300-meter hurdles (41.67), an event he will compete in at the WPIAL championships.

Senior Chris Colligan took second in the high jump with a height of 6-1. It wasn’t Colligan’s best performance.

“It was pretty windy at the county meet,” Reeger said. “(Colligan) had hoped and expected to come in with a first- (place finish), but it didn’t happen that day.”

Colligan will also make the trip to Slippery Rock to compete in the event.

Junior jumper Evan Painter came in fourth in the long jump (20-4.5), and triple jumper Gabe Dunlap finished seventh with a distance of 39-10. Painter also has a seat on the team bus heading to Slippery Rock this Thursday.

“(Painter) is jumping almost 2 feet more than he did last year,” Reeger said.

Sophomore distance runner Joseph Whipkey opened a few eyes at the county meet. He finished seventh in the 800 meters (2:07.24) and fourth in the 1600 (4:42.18). He also secured a lane in both events at the WPIAL championships.

Ian Demri finished eighth in the 100 meters (11.58), and Patrick Driscoll came in eighth in the 3,200 meters (10:58). Mason Miklos finished fifth (11-2) in the pole vault.

Senior Evan McAllister finished third in the discus (131-4.5), an event he won last year, and 10th in the shot put (41-3). McAllister will compete in the discus and javelin at the WPIAL championships.

“We thought that we would have a couple of county champs, but we ended up with a quite a few second places,” Reeger said. “That’s about what I expected in the middle of the pack (for the boys) there.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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