QV’s Daniel Ford leads Sewickley-area athletes into PIAA track and field championships

Friday, May 24, 2019 | 7:01 PM

Quaker Valley junior Daniel Ford had a spring in his step after the WPIAL Class AA track and field championship May 16 at Slippery Rock.

Ford won the boys 1,600-meter run in a personal-best 4 minutes, 26.83 seconds. As a top-five finisher, he advanced to the PIAA championship May 24-25 at Shippensburg. Results were not available before this edition’s deadline.

“Winning the race definitely gives me confidence going into the state meet,” Ford said. “Since I PR’d, I now know that I am faster than I was last year, which gives me more confidence in placing higher (than) my seventh-place finish (last season).”

Quaker Valley coach Jerry Veshio said Ford was peaking at the right time and had a great opportunity for a state medal.

Ford was surprised by his victory at the WPIAL meet, although he was among favorites.

“I have been racing in the WPIAL since my freshman year, and just being able to win is an incredible feeling,” said Ford, Quaker Valley’s first WPIAL distance champion since Zach Skolnekovich, a William & Mary redshirt freshman, won the 3,200 in 2017. “I’ll never forget it.”

Ford was one of two state qualifiers for the Quakers. Senior Dom Lagnese placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 144 feet, 6 inches.

Veshio expected Lagnese, the school record holder in the event, to earn a state medal.

On the girls side, junior Annie Wicker hoped to atone for a disappointing performance at the WPIAL championships.

Wicker placed third in the 1,600 (5:10.81) and second in the 800 (2:19.55).

“I wasn’t super excited about my 1,600, but I tried to move on and focus on getting prepared for a good race at states,” said Wicker, who placed fifth in the PIAA in the 1,600 the past two seasons.

Veshio said: “She will have stiff competition in the 1,600, but I have no doubt she will come home with a state medal.”

Also advancing were freshman Anna Cohen, third, 3,200 (11:48.50) and sophomore Claire Kuzma, fifth, discus (118-1).

“(Kuzma) has had personal bests this year and is flirting with breaking our school’s discus record,” Veshio said. “Her positive nature and confidence, I’m sure, has her standing on the podium.

“I’m sure (Cohen’s) energy level will be high, and her fearlessness will propel her to performing well against some of the best distance runners in the state.”

Veshio said Quaker Valley has had at least one athlete in the state championships for 48 consecutive years.

For Sewickley Academy, senior Alex Gordon qualified for states by placing fourth in the WPIAL in the boys 400 (51.60). Panthers coach Derek Chimner said, though, Gordon did not plan to compete because of a prior commitment.

“We were not expecting an opportunity for Alex to make states,” Chimner said. “He was, for sure, excited about his time and finish.”

Gordon broke the school record set last season by Sam Casale, a Chicago freshman.

Senior Nella Tsudis placed seventh in the girls 200 (26.77), missing the qualifying time.

“(Tsudis) had a great career,” Chimner said. “(She) helped lay (a) foundation for our other girls to work towards.”


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