Penn-Trafford’s Whipkey sets new goals after winning county title

Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Joe Whipkey has already reached his main goal of his senior season.

Now the Penn-Trafford athlete set some new goals.

After winning the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association 800-meter title in 2 minutes, 3.94 seconds May 1, he turned his focus to success at the WPIAL Class AAA meet and earning a trip to the PIAA championship May 29 at Shippensburg.

Whipkey competed in the West Mifflin Last Chance meet May 11. Though he already had clinched a spot in the WPIAL championship meet May 19, but he was trying to improve his position and was attempting to break the two- minute mark.

He finished second to Allderdice junior Holden Eagle. He ran a 2:01.45, while Eagle ran a 2:01.43.

“I was trying to get under 2:00,” Whipkey said. “But it was too windy. I was trying to raise a couple spots if I did well. I’m still satisfied with my time. I know I have to get to 1:57 if I want qualify for states.”

Whipkey said he was eager to compete against some of the top runners in the WPIAL. That’s why his coach, Eric Reger, choose to run the Last Chance meet at West Mifflin instead of Norwin.

He felt the competition was a little better at West Mifflin.

“To qualify for states, I assume I’ll need 1:57,” Whipkey said.

Reger said Whipkey is close to breaking the two-minute mark.

“He’s come right up to two minutes a couple times,” Reger said May 11. “We just haven’t had the right conditions.

“The conditions (weren’t) good (May 11). We’d like to get under two and then run a little faster at WPIALs.”

Whipkey did achieve his lifelong dream of winning the county title.

“It’s my biggest track accomplishment ever in high school,” Whipkey said. “It was the biggest goal for me and the season and to get it was amazing. It’s my proudest moment of the season so far. It felt awesome.”

Reger added: “We had last year off and as a 10th-grader winning the county title wasn’t on his radar. So to go from OK to the best in the county was a big surprise for him. We knew that could happen.

“Joe is an incredible finisher, and he has a great kick at the end of his race and he did that to win the county race.”

The next big accomplishment would be qualifying for states.

Winning the counties was something he knew he could do.

“It was definitely something I felt I could do,” Whipkey said. “It was my biggest goal of the season because I knew I could be close. I’d be around it at the start of the year. To finally go there and do it was awesome.”

Whipkey is pleased how the season has gone despite the coronavirus interrupting some things.

“The season has gone great,” said Whipkey, who will run at Grove City next year. “Track and field has been always my favorite time of the year. The bond the team has and we’re with friends. We have a good time.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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