Ringgold’s Pajak, South Fayette’s Schumaker have big days at TSTCA meet

Thursday, April 14, 2022 | 10:56 PM

It was a big day for Ringgold sophomore Ryan Pajak and South Fayette senior Melana Schumaker at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association Invitational on Thursday at West Mifflin.

Pajak shined in the distance races, winning the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, while Schumaker was part of three first-place finishes. She won the pole vault and long jump and ran the second leg of the winning 400-meter relay team. She also tied for third in the 200.

The meet was originally scheduled for April 9 but moved because of inclement weather.

North Catholic sprinter Trevor Paschall and Upper St. Clair sprinter Dani Prunzik also had a good day. Parshall won the 100 and 200 and placed second in the 400, while Prunzik won the 100 and 200.

Shenango senior Emma Callahan won the shot put and discus, and Butler’s Presley Ornelas won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.

Pajak breezed to wins in the 1,600 and 3,200. He said they were good tests for him has he prepares for the rest of the season and next week’s Butler Invitational.

He was pushed for three laps in the 1,600 before pulling away in the final lap to defeat Grove City’s Joshua Jones. Pajak ran a 4:18.88.

“I felt amazing for the first two laps,” Pajak said. “I heard him breathing down my neck. I held it together in the third lap and then I pulled away in the final lap.

“Other than two wins, I’m not expecting much in the 3,200. I was just trying to get a decent time. The winning time in the 1,600 sets me up for WPIALs and the state. That’s what I really wanted to do.”

In the 3,200, his win came even easier as no one threatened him. He ran a 9:26.59. Allderdice’s Jack Barnhisel was second, running a 9:37.69.

“It was a good workout for me,” Pajak said. “I’m looking forward to next week.”

Schumaker seemed to be in every event. She cleared 11-9 to win the pole vault and jumped 18-3½ to win the long jump.

“I was a little worried about the weather early,” Schumaker said. “But it cleared up and things got a lot better. I was excited when the sun came out.”

Schumaker attempted 12-3, but missed on her three attempts. Her personal record is 12 feet.

“I’m close,” Schumaker said. “I probably need to go to a bigger pole.”

Schumaker was a big reason why the South Fayette girls ran away with the team title. The Lions had 152.5 points and Butler was second with 76.5.

The Butler boys won with 134 points. Grove City was second with 73.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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