Promising performances highlight start of season for Plum track and field

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Saturday, April 9, 2022 | 8:01 AM


Plum boys and girls track and field coach Stephanie Kennedy witnessed a plethora of promising performances from the more than two dozen athletes who competed at the early-season Altoona Igloo Invitational on April 2 at Altoona’s Mansion Park.

“It was awesome,” said Kennedy, who saw three individuals and four relays bring home ribbons for top-eight finishes.

“Our kids gained a lot of confidence. There were a lot of schools we hadn’t run against or don’t typically run against.

“That was a positive because they went out and competed without any judgments in their head about who is supposed to be good as opposed to meets and invitationals closer to home. They went in with a fresh mindset. That helped them to run their best races, throw their best throws and jump their farthest jumps. The weather was great, too, and the kids were just rallying and supporting each other all day.”

Kennedy said she hoped to see momentum from the invitational and also the home opener against Franklin Regional on March 30, carry over to competition which included the Latrobe Wildcat and Lady Spartan invitationals last Friday at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.

A trio of Plum athletes are back after competing at WPIALs last year.

Senior Jake George placed 19th overall in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.23 seconds, while fellow senior Logan Brooks was a part of the boys 400 relay which took 17th.

“It was a good experience, definitely seeing the level of skill there as compared to your average meet,” George said.

“Seeing everyone run, even after I had finished my race, really fueled me to come back this year and do even better. I have big goals for myself, and I am also excited to see what everyone else on the teams can accomplish.”

On the girls side, junior Sam Glatz threw the shot 28 feet, 4 inches at WPIALs and placed 23rd.

George, who joined a number of his teammates in getting work in during the indoor track season, just missed a top-eight finish in the 300 hurdles at the Igloo Invite.

He placed ninth overall with a time of 44.45 seconds.

“Jake is a natural leader for us,” Kennedy said. “We have a younger team across the board, and he is helping with routines and technique with those younger kids who understand that he has put in a lot of hard work to get to where he is. He put in a lot of time during the indoor workouts, and he is now thriving now and gaining more confidence as he continues to race.”

Junior Connor Domke earned a sixth-place finish in the 110 hurdles (16.23) at Altoona, while freshman Danica Jones raced to seventh in the girls 400 (1:03.43).

Junior Connor Pivirotto added a sixth in the 3,200 run (personal best 10:26.38) at Altoona, following up on a personal best in the 1,600 from the meet against Franklin Regional a few days earlier.

He just missed earning a spot in the field for the 1,600 at the indoor Tri-State Track Coaches Association championship meet Feb. 19.

Plum relays which earned ribbons at the Igloo Invite were the girls 400 (freshman Camryn Rogers, freshman Lilliana Dubois, senior Julia Gildea and freshman Gabby Layne) in fifth, the girls 1,600 (Jones, Rogers, junior Emily Berrott and sophomore Hailey Depkon) in sixth, the girls 3,200 (Berrott, Depkon, junior Maggie Messina and senior Sydney Anderson) in sixth, and the boys 400 (Brooks, PJ McNeal, junior Andrew Thompson and freshman Nick Odom) in eighth.

“The workouts a number of the kids did during the winter were a good foundation to build off of for the outdoor season,” Kennedy said. “They were able to have that base to work from. Now they are really crushing it in workouts and in races.”

Kennedy said it is mostly a fresh start for the throwing group and that Glatz should help them make progress over the next couple of weeks.

Brooks is back in the 400 relay and also is expected to be a factor in the sprints and the long jump (12th at Altoona, 19-10½).

Kennedy said 6-foot-4 senior newcomer Samo Pitts, a transfer from Clairton, hopes to make his mark in the jumps.

“He been doing really well for his first-ever track season,” Kennedy said. “He is very athletic.”

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

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