Riverview track athletes shift focus from team to individual goals
By: Michael Love
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 6:40 PM
It was a successful dual-meet season for the Riverview track and field teams.
The Raiders boys and girls captured section championships with undefeated records. It was the boys team’s second section crown in a row, and the girls won a section title for the first time.
Both teams fell short at the WPIAL team semifinals in their quest to make the championship meets, but coach Dave Ilnicki said the athletes are taking the momentum gained and using it to fuel themselves toward next week’s WPIAL individual championships.
“The kids have really done a good job of transitioning into their individual events,” Ilnicki said. “During the team season, some kids did up to four events and jumped in wherever they were needed. We won because of team depth and unselfishness. But now, kids are able to focus on their best event or events.”
Senior Devin Binz sprinted onto the WPIAL performance lists this spring with a time of 11.24 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
After last-chance meets over the past couple of days, he is the 10th seed in the event for WPIALs.
Binz said he is working on some little things with his race.
“I am feeling pretty good with where I am, but I am not satisfied,” he said. “I know my coach is going to prepare me for WPIALs, and I feel I will come out and perform well.
“I am working on my start right now. I need to get that perfect because that could meet tenths-of-a-second difference. That is big in the 100 dash.”
Binz is seeded 15th in the 200 (23.45). He is no stranger to WPIALs as he ran with the 400 relay as a sophomore and finished 12th.
The final Class AA performance lists — the top 16 in each event qualify to compete at WPIALs — were released Wednesday afternoon, and the deadline for athletes to determine if they will opt out of any event in favor of another was 7:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The lists are locked, and WPIAL officials are beginning to formulate the heat sheets for the track events and the flight sheets for the field events. The WPIAL championships are May 16 at Slippery Rock.
Riverview athletes and others in Class AA are hoping to finish in the top five of their event at WPIALs. A top-five finish translates into an automatic berth to the PIAA championships May 24-25 at Shippensburg.
Also, those finishing sixth through eight in an event who meet the pre-set state qualifying standard also earns a trip to states.
“The mood of the teams is pretty upbeat right now,” Binz said. “It pretty exciting to think what we could do in our events at WPIALs.”
Sophomore Gideon Deasy was one of more than a dozen Riverview athletes to compete at Pine-Richland’s last-chance meet Tuesday. He benefited from his run in the 800, and his time of 2 minutes, 3.88 seconds has him seeded eighth.
“(The last-chance meets) are a final opportunity for a lot of the kids to go out and maybe grab a spot in the top 16 or improve a time and distance to help themselves for WPIALs,” Ilnicki said. “It makes for a lot of competitive races.”
Deasy is seeded 11th in the 1,600 (4:41.14).
Mason Ochs, a sophomore, is sixth in the boys 3,200 (9:58.39) and seventh in the 1,600 (4:36.52). He said he would talk strategy with his coaches about which events to run at WPIALs. He has also qualified as part of the boys 3,200 relay.
Last year, in his WPIAL debut, Ochs placed 10th in the 3,200.
“It feels pretty good to be where I am right now with my seeding,” Ochs said.
Senior Luke Spinola is tied for sixth in the pole vault (11 feet, 9 inches), the boys 3,200 relay is 12th (8:53.10) and junior Jacob Sullivan is 16th in the 3,200 run (10:35.84).
On the girls side, junior Francesca Lio is seeded 12th in the pole vault (8-8). She just missed a top-eight medal at WPIALs last year as she took ninth (8-6).
The Riverview girls 3,200 relay is 12th (10:56.25), sophomore Ally Johnson is 12th in the 3,200 run (12:40.30), and the girls 1,600 relay checks in at 16th (4:34.63).
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .