Pine-Richland notebook: Junior among top 1,600 runners in WPIAL

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Sunday, May 1, 2022 | 10:01 AM


The Butler Invitational is the largest regular season track meet in the district and is often a good judge of who will be a threat at the WPIAL championships.

Pine-Richland junior Natalie McLean certainly made her presence known at this year’s meet, which was held April 22-23.

McLean won the 1,600-meter final with a time of 5:03.55, nearly two seconds ahead of Hampton’s Ava Vitiello.

She also finished third in the 3,200.

Other highlights for the Rams girls included a runner-­up finish in the 3,200 and a fifth-place result in the 1,600 for Meredith Price, a sixth-place finish in the shot put by Delaney Allen and a 10th-place finish in the 800 for Angelina Hunkele.

For the boys, the 400 relay team of Brad Gelly, Nick Hartwick, Joey Dudkowski and Alex Gochis led the way with a runner-up finish. Connor Lenz (third, shot put), Nick Hartwick (fourth, 200), Dudkowski (fourth, high jump), Nate Skirpac (fifth, javelin), Jack Mill (seventh, pole vault), Ben McLean (eighth, 800) and Brad Gelly (eighth, 300 hurdles) recorded top 10 finishes in individual events.

Tennis team makes playoffs

The WPIAL released the boys tennis brackets April 27 and Pine-Richland received the No. 13 seed and was matched up against No. 4 Shady Side Academy in the first round.

A duo of Pine-Richland seniors, Braiden Smalley and Ethan Silipo, qualified for the WPIAL doubles tournament, which was held April 27. Smalley and Silipo fell to twin brothers Jack and Luke Wilke of Mt. Lebanon, 10-3, in the first round.

Pine-Richland represented on ice

A pair of Pine-Richland students are participating in the inaugural PIHL girls hockey league.

Abigail Dille, a sophomore, and Sophia Scatena, a freshman, are rostered on the Central team. Dille is listed as a defender and Scatena is a forward. They had one assist each in three games. Dille’s assist came on the game-winning goal of a 5-3 win over the East team in the first game of the season.

The Central team was off to a 1-2 start.

Each team in the league plays 10 regular season games. The regular season runs through the end of May.

Johnson walks it off

Pine-Richland grad Josh Johnson provided a clutch hit for Kent State, lining a walk-off RBI single in a 10-9 win in 10 innings over Miami (Ohio) on April 23.

Johnson, a sophomore, has been an anchor in the Golden Flashes lineup in his first season as a starter. He carried a .337 batting average with four homers, a pair of doubles and had 24 RBIs through 35 games.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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