Quaker Valley track shows depth with large crop of WPIAL qualifiers

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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | 11:01 AM


As the reigning WPIAL Class 2A team champion, the Quaker Valley track and field program was well-represented at the WPIAL individual championships.

“I’m very proud of the number of boys and girls we qualified for WPIALs,” QV coach Jared Jones said. “We had 29 total athletes competing in 34 individual events and on six different relay teams. We also had two athletes that finished 17th, just one spot out of qualifying.

“Our coaching staff does such a great job in every discipline at helping find the right events for athletes and preparing them for the different aspects of the season. We are very proud to have qualified all three boys and girls relay teams and have athletes in 13 out the 15 individual events. I think this is a testament to our coaching staff of John Doucette, Ron Graf, Kari Miller, Laura Jones and Paul Szuba. They have put in countless hours behind the scenes working with all the athletes that chose to participate in Quaker Valley track and field this season.”

QV’s veteran coach also lauded the effort of another “behind the scenes” person.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our athletic trainer, Derek Clark,” Jones said. “Injuries are difficult to deal with in track and field and Derek has done an amazing job helping us with injury prevention and quickly getting athletes back on the track, runway or circle.”

All three of the QV girls relay squads qualified for WPIALs.

The following athletes were listed on the WPIAL heat sheets: juniors Cecilia Montagnese and Emily Bablak and seniors Kate Hines and Ellie Cain in the 3,200; juniors Vanessa Pickett, Kwilai Karto and Jay Olawaiye and sophomore Zora Washington in the 400; and Pickett, Karto, sophomore Emma Currier and Cain in the 1,600.

Karto also advanced to the WPIAL finals in the 100-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash. Montagnese advanced in the 800 and 1,600 as did Cain in the 800.

Freshman Rose Pocasangre qualified in both hurdles events and freshman Maggie Doz qualified in the 3,200.

In the field, Olawaiye advanced in the long jump and triple jump events, along with junior Olivia Jordan in the long jump and Currier in the triple jump. Sophomores Mia Gartley and Oumou “Mimi” Thiero were qualifiers in the high jump. Junior Sarah Minard and freshman Evie Rosselli also qualified in the pole vault.

The Quaker Valley boys relayers matched the girls by having runners in all three WPIAL events.

The following were named on the heat sheets: sophomore River Capek, freshman Jonah Montagnese and juniors Jackson Pethel and Clark LaLomia in the 3,200; juniors Thomas Debelak, Winston Clifford and Davin “Mackey” Gartley and senior Izzy Emerson in the 400; and Gartley, freshman James Irwin, sophomore Jayden Juliano and LaLomia in the 1,600.

Gartley qualified in both hurdles events and LaLomia advanced in the 800 and 1,600.

Other WPIAL qualifiers were Montagnese in the 1,600 and 3,200, sophomore Tyler Bell in the 1,600 and 3,200, Juliano and Irwin in the 400, Pethel and Capek in the 800 and Enerson in the 200.

Sophomores Aiden Dywer (high jump, triple jump) and Reese Fatur (discus), Clifford (high jump) and Debelak (triple jump) advanced in the field competition.

The Quakers had three qualifiers in both the 800 — Pethel, LaLomia and Capek — and 1,600 — LaLomia, Montagnese and Bell.

Quaker Valley became just the second school to win both the WPIAL boys and girls team championships in Class 2A in the same season.

“We had so many impressive performances across the board,” Jones said. “A major highlight of the WPIAL (team) meet was a new school record in the 300-meter hurdles set by Macky Gartley with a time of 38.99. Macky was also the anchor of the 4-by-100 relay team with Ronnie Berry, Winston Clifford and Izzy Emerson. Their time of 43.58 is now second all-time in Quaker Valley school history.”

The Quakers won the 1,600 relay behind Gartley, Capek, Irwin and Clark.

On the girls side, QV received top five all-time performances by Gartley, who climbed into third place in the high jump by clearing 5-4, and Jordan, who moved into fifth all-time in the long jump by leaping 16-10.

Both the 400 relay team, consisting of Pickett, Karto, Washington and Olawaiye, and 3,200 team, Montagnese, Doz, Hines and Cain, finished first at the team meet.

“That played a major role in the girls’ victory over Fort Cherry,” Jones said. “We also had several other amazing performances and personal bests.”

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