Riverview’s Bauer hopes to build on school-record time in 800 at WPIAL meet

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Sunday, May 15, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Amberson Bauer qualified, along with several of his Riverview track and field teammates, for the WPIAL Class 2A championships at Slippery Rock University.

The junior middle distance and distance specialist built up a great deal of momentum leading up to the meet with times that put him in contention for medals and championship gold.

Bauer finished second overall in the 800-meter run at the Mars Invitational on April 29. He set a school record with a time of 1:58.31, surpassing the previous top mark set by Tom Favo in 1980.

“It feels great to have that (800) record,” Bauer said. “I was thinking about it a little bit before the race. My goal was to break two (minutes), but when I crossed the finish line, I was like, ‘I have it, I have it.’”

The next day, he won the 800 at the Hermitage Invitational at District 10’s Hickory High School.

Bauer went into WPIALs seeded third in the 800 behind Deer Lakes senior Carson McCoy (1:53.20) and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart’s Maxwell Hamilton (1:57.13). He also checked in ninth in the 1,600 (4:38.81).

The top 16 in each Class 2A individual and relay event from regular season meets and invitationals earned berths to the WPIAL championships.

Bauer said leading up to WPIALs was the best he felt all season.

“I finished the basketball season with a little bit of an injury, so I didn’t really run through those two weeks before track,” he said.

“The season was full of a lot of surprises and good moments, and I just felt better and better each week and in all of our competitions.”

Bauer said that in addition to his accomplishments individually and in the relays –- he helped the boys 3,200 relay, with seniors Ty Laughlin and Parker Steele and freshman Chris Barnes, earn the fifth seed for WPIALs -– it was a great feeling to be a part of another Section 4-2A team title.

Both the boys and girls teams showed their depth in capturing team section gold for the third year in a row. Senior members of both teams never lost a section meet in three years. The 2020 season was lost to the covid pandemic.

“After all the work we put in as a group, it was special to see us able to keep winning,” Bauer said.

“The goal each year is to be section champions, and that takes a lot of dedication and focus to be ready for each meet week after week. I am really proud of everyone who came together to make this happen.”

Veteran Riverview coach Dave Illnicki echoed those sentiments as he looked back on another unblemished section slate for both teams.

“We have some really talented kids who were able to consistently earn first-place finishes, and we also took advantage of our depth on both sides,” Illnicki said. “The seniors showed great leadership in all of the meets. They led by example. We also had a number of freshmen come in and earn points. It all came together like we hoped it would.”

Section individual and relay honors were on the line April 28 as the teams met at Shady Side Academy, and several Riverview athletes brought home titles.

Taking home gold on the girls’ side were sophomore Lola Abraham in the 400 dash and long jump, Audrey Myers in the 100 hurdles, Madeline Entwistle in the pole vault, Alex Bibza in the discus, Julia Franciscus in the javelin, and the girls 1,600 relay of Abraham, Myers, Maci Orbin and Katerina Tsambis.

Winners from the Raiders boys’ team were Laughlin in the 1,600 run; John Patsey in the 110 and 300 hurdles and the high jump; Patrick Harvey in the pole vault; the 1,600 relay of Micah Black, Lucas Wilton, Cohen Hoolahan, and Jack Betler; and the 3,200 relay of Wilton, Christian Palochik, Barnes, and Holden Deasy.

Several Riverview athletes took part in a last chance meet at Pine-Richland on May 10 with the hopes of grabbing a WPIAL berth or improving times in events for which they’d already qualified.

Joining Bauer as a No. 3 seed at WPIALs was Patsey in the 300 hurdles (41.97). Steele was seventh in the 3,200 run (10:28.82).

The full list of WPIAL qualifiers was released at WPIAL.org last Friday, past the deadline for this week’s edition.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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