Quaker Valley girls put on show at WPIAL track championships

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 | 11:01 AM


After their run to the WPIAL Class 2A team championship May 12, the Quaker Valley girls track and field team had the opportunity to compete at the individual championship on May 19.

They put on quite the show.

Four individuals qualified for the PIAA state track meet at Shippensburg on Friday and Saturday, as did the 4×400 meter relay team.

“They all did fantastic, and they came out and really exceeded where they were supposed to be, most of them, which is pretty impressive across the board,” Quaker Valley coach Jared Jones said.

Sophomore Nora Johns led the way for the Quakers and captured the 300-meter hurdles title with a clocking of 45.01, winning the event by over a second and setting her new personal best by over a second and a half.

Johns also qualified for the state meet in the 110-meter hurdles after placing third with a time of 16.57, which was just over a second behind the first-place finisher.

“Her expectations have just risen as the season has gone on, and she’s really just progressed,” Jones said. “She hurdled in middle school and everything, but I don’t think she ever expected to be placing in both hurdles as a sophomore during her first real year in high school. I told her earlier in the week, though, that she had a chance to be a WPIAL champion in the 300 hurdles and continue onto states from there, so her expectations are really high now.”

Johns and California’s Makayla Boda were the top two seeds heading into the finals, and Jones said he knew it was going to be a battle between the two. Johns ran one of her best races of the year and cut almost a second off of her seeding time to earn the victory.

“Not only did she win, but she really improved significantly. Cutting off that much time in a 300-meter race is a lot of time to take off,” Jones said. “She ran nearly a perfect race.”

Johns also reaped the rewards of Quaker Valley’s other WPIAL championship victory as the 4×400 meter relay team won a WPIAL title with a time of 4:06.99, which was just under seven seconds faster than the second-place team from Mohawk.

Jones said around mid-April he decided to put Francesca Courtney, Ellie Cain, Anna Cohen and Johns on the same relay team, and during their first meet, they ran a 4:14, which is only six seconds off the state qualifying standard.

“At that point, they knew that they’d be running it some more,” Jones said. “Since then, they’ve been able to take off some time, and they were seeded first as well.”

The team ended up cutting two seconds off their seeding time to take the WPIAL title and qualify for the state meet.

Claire Kuzma, Ainsley Commens and Cohen also qualified individually for the PIAA meet.

Kuzma placed second in the discus after Burgettstown’s Miranda Schram bested her seeding throw by 3 feet and unleashed a toss of 135-03 to earn the WPIAL title. Kuzma came in just over 4 feet short of her seeding throw. She also placed fourth in the shot put.

Cohen came in fifth in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 1,600 to qualify for states.

Ainsley Commens was the final qualifier for Quaker Valley, as she finished tied for fourth in the pole vault after clearing 9 feet. She had a seeding clearing of 9 feet, 7 inches.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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