Pole vaulter Huczko leads Franklin Regional track and field athletes into WPIALs

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Friday, May 10, 2019 | 8:10 PM


In her first season of track and field, Franklin Regional junior Jo-Michelle “JoJo” Huczko is a favorite at the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet Thursday at Slippery Rock.

Huczko ranked first in the girls pole vault (11 feet, 2 inches) on the WPIAL performance list as of May 5.

Huczko was looking for something to do after participating in gymnastics and Parkour. She tried hurdles before focusing on pole vault.

“I think she’s caught on so quick because she is an overall good athlete and seems to be fearless,” Franklin Regional coach Bob Ralston said. “Both qualities are needed to be a good pole vaulter.”

Huczko, who hopes to move up to 13 feet, said she is a little nervous about the WPIAL championship.

“I kind of feel pressure but from myself,” she said. “I want to do well because I know I can.”

Ralston said Huczko and senior Shelby Cooper have excellent chances of advancing to the PIAA championship May 24-25 at Shippensburg.

Cooper ranked fifth in the pole vault (10-2).

Among other Panthers ranked are sophomore Rayna Todero, third, triple jump (37-3) and 12th, long jump (16-11); sophomore Aly Kindelberger, third, high jump (5-4); senior Tiffany Jolayemi, eighth, discus (116-11); and junior Alexandra Coker, seventh, shot put (37).

Ralston said all four girls hold school records.

For the boys, senior Jacob Hnath, who ranks seventh in the 800-meter run (1 minute, 59.19 seconds), is a standout.

“He has a great shot at the 800, has competed at states before for the (3,200) relay and is part of the school record-holding (3,200) squad,” Ralston said.

Junior David Franco, sixth, javelin (155-5) and senior Jaden Seman, seventh, pole vault (13-2) are other high-ranked Panthers.

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