Riverview’s distance relay looks forward to PIAA meet

Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Mason Ochs knew he had another long race ahead of him — the individual 3,200-meter run — at Wednesday’s WPIAL Class AA championships when he anchored the 3,200 relay in the morning’s heated temperatures under sunny skies.

But the Riverview senior didn’t take it easy and rolled through his 800 split to close out a gold-medal team performance alongside juniors Ty Laughlin and Parker Steele and sophomore Amberson Bauer.

Ochs crossed the finish line at 8 minutes, 17.09 seconds, three seconds ahead of the anchor runner from Shenango.

“Our first run of the year, we came in sub 9 (minutes), and it was the first time any Riverview (boys) 4-by-800 team had done that in the first race of a year,” Ochs said.

“Things were shaping up nicely and we started to go lower and lower as the season progressed.”

Bauer was a midseason addition as junior Lucas Wilton, Ochs said, focused more with the 1,600 relay.

“Amberson, Ty and Parker ran great,” Ochs said. “They did all the work. All I had to do was run like I always do to finish it up. They carried the team and set me up for a good finish. It was really cool.

“This was kind of redemption for us after not being able to go to states in cross country.”

Riverview placed second at the Class A boys cross country finals in October, but at the time, the PIAA only accepted district champions to its state tournaments and meets.

The Raiders distance relay also qualified for the PIAA championships, set for Friday at Shippensburg, for the first time since 2009.

The top five finishers in each Class AA boys and girls event earned automatic qualification to states. Those who landed in the top eight also earned spots on the medals podium.

Ochs also will run at states after a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 (10:11.93). He credited the top three finishers, including champion Patrick Malone, a senior from Winchester Thurston who won with a time of 9:53.45.

“I expected a very strong race from everybody,” Ochs said. “I wanted to be able to get to states and see what I can do there.

“We’re going to taper a little more so we can peak at states. We kind of trained through WPIALs.”

Steele just missed a trip to states in the 3,200, but he earned a sixth-place medal in a time of 10:19.05.

The Riverview girls 1,600 relay of seniors Victoria Dietrich and Alexis Sykes, sophomore Maci Orbin and freshman Lola Abraham placed eighth with a time of 4:18.30.

Abraham earned an additional medal with a top leap of 33 feet, 1.25 inches for seventh in the triple jump.

Parker leads Plum contingent

Throughout the season, Plum senior Logan Parker consistently was among a top group of throwers in the shot put for Class AAA.

That group, which also included Hempfield senior Dan Norris, Knoch senior Josh Rohland and Penn Hills junior Angelo Allen, found themselves in a battle for the top spot at WPIALs on May 19.

When the dust settled, Norris was at the top with a throw of 60-2.75, and Parker was second with a season-best attempt of 57-1.25.

Rohland and Allen finished third and fourth, respectively, with throws better than 50 feet.

All four now will represent the WPIAL at the PIAA championships Saturday in Shippensburg.

The top four finishers in each Class AAA boys and girls event punched tickets to states.

Parker improved nearly six feet from his third-place, state-qualifying finish in the shot at WPIALs in 2019.

He just missed a berth to states in the discus, but he picked up a fifth-place medal with a distance of 149-8.

Parker wasn’t alone on the medals podium for Plum as senior Max Matolcsy earned a top-eight finish in the triple jump.

Matolcsy came close to hitting his season-best in the event — a 42-3.5. He recorded a top leap of 42-2 at WPIALs, good for seventh overall.

He also took 12th in the long jump (19-10.25).

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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