Plum’s Parker ready to compete for WPIAL shot put title

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Friday, May 10, 2019 | 8:10 PM


Logan Parker knows Slippery Rock well.

The Plum sophomore and team leader in the shot put, threw at a camp there last summer. He returned to the campus April 20 for the Rock Relays and threw a career-best 51 feet, 5½ inches.

“At the beginning of the meet, I felt I could hit something in the 49s,” Parker said. “But my coach helped me get a little more height. As soon as I let it go, I knew it was good.”

The throw was the second-best in Class AAA this season and sets Parker up to compete for the WPIAL title Thursday back at Slippery Rock.

Only Bailey O’Malley (54-1112), a senior from Baldwin, has thrown further this season.

“With a little more practice and coaching, I think I can do even better at WPIALs,” said Parker, who is seeded 12th in the discus (135-4).

Parker made his WPIAL debut last spring and finished 12th in the shot and 13th in the discus.

“Logan is very familiar with the facilities at Slippery Rock, so he’s feeling great about how he will be able to compete,” Plum coach Adam Molinaro said.

Parker is one of more than a dozen Plum athletes set for WPIALs.

“Class AAA is pretty competitive in each event, so we’re happy we have 15 kids who will be able to compete,” Molinaro said. “Just to qualify is an accomplishment.”

Molinaro said the biggest thing for him going into WPIALs is seeing how the group grew throughout the season.

“To be able to watch them better themselves is special, and it’s something the other coaches and I take a lot of pride in,” Molinaro said. “Hopefully, all the preparation will pay off at WPIALs, no matter how each one finishes.”

Senior Hunter Linhart still is chasing the school record in the discus and hopes to return to states in the event. Last year at WPIALs, he placed fourth and recorded a career-best 147-7 at the PIAA meet.

He’s seeded fifth in the discus (146-9) and 11th in the javelin (147-05).

“Whenever I see the seeds, I see a lot of potential,” Linhart said. “There are a lot of guys (in the discus) who are close right now. Winning WPIALs might come down to one throw and who can catch it.”

The top four in each Class AAA event automatically earn trips to states.

Senior Emmie Lawton also makes a return to WPIALs, and she hopes to improve on her 21st in the discus from last year. She is seeded 10th with a school-record throw of 113-7.

Senior Maddie Monick (100- and 300-meter hurdles) and junior Angela Valotta (800 and 1,600 runs) join the three throwers as returning WPIAL performers.

Monick will run at WPIALs for the fourth year in a row. She medaled in the 100 hurdles (seventh) last year and is seeded ninth (15.66) Thursday.

Valotta is seeded ninth in the 1,600 run (5:16.28).

“I’ve had a lot of good races this year, and I am aiming for a medal,” said Valotta, who was 16th in the 1,600 at WPIALs last year.

The jumps will have a pair of newcomers in sophomore Jamie Seneca (girls long jump) and junior Joel Tarzaho (boys triple jump).

First-year jumps coach Samantha Taylor said she hopes both can build on career-bests set this season — 17-4½ for Seneca and 41-11¼ for Tarzaho.

“I am excited for them,” said Taylor “I hope the energy at WPIALs brings out their best and they have great first experiences.”

Valotta and Monick will join junior Abby Muoio and freshman Maura Opina on the girls 3,200 relay, and Muoio and Opina also will run the 1,600 relay with freshmen Sydney Anderson and Livia Paoletti.

The boys 1,600 relay of juniors Miles Tush and Robert Hankinson and sophomores Will Brewer and Luke Gildea also will compete.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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