Senior Spotlight: Latrobe’s Wetzel grits teeth through shutdown

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | 9:35 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadie Wetzel wasn’t in a good mood Tuesday.

The Latrobe senior just wasn’t feeling it until she went and did a track workout for college.

Having a stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus can sometimes get you down.

Wetzel was a standout track athlete for the Wildcats and a three-time PIAA qualifier in the high jump. She owns the school record of 5 feet, 6½ inches in the high jump, which she set in 2019.

She will concentrate on the high jump at Duquesne, where she received a scholarship so she can study forensic science and law.

Wetzel is a two-sport athlete at Latrobe. She also competed as a right-side hitter on the volleyball team.

She also was going to compete in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and — for a change of pace — the 300 hurdles.

“She worked very hard this offseason,” Latrobe assistant track coach Rob Palko said. “She was stronger and quicker and was ready to cap off her high school track career with more success.

“I’m sure she would have posted new personal records in all her jumping events. One of the most talented jumpers I ever had the pleasure to coach.”

Latrobe assistant coach Michelle Butler said: “We were hoping to see her medal at the outdoor PIAA meet this year and felt confident she had a great chance to do that.”

Your track season and school year ended early. How has that affected you?

It was upsetting when they pulled the plug on school and the season. I was looking forward to the season. I gave myself a day and a half to clear my mind.

Do you miss your friends?

Early on, we’d meet at the school parking lot in our cars and socialize. I miss my friends, but it’s important to stay safe.

You picked Duquesne over Bowling Green and the United States Military Academy. How tough was that decision?

I wanted to go to West Point and received a nomination, but things didn’t quite work out. It came down to Duquesne and Bowling Green, and I originally picked Bowling Green. The night before my announcement, I was going to Bowling Green. But I didn’t sleep well and decided to switch, mainly because it felt right, and it allowed my parents to come and watch me.

What appealed to you in volleyball?

I was a setter in middle school, but I learned if I wanted to play in high school, I had to switch positions. I became a right-side hitter, and I loved it. I loved volleyball because it was such a team game.

You earned a state medal during the indoor season, but you weren’t happy. Why?

I just didn’t have a good season. I qualified for states by jumping 5-3, but I only jumped 5-2 at states.

What’s something special you do since the pandemic started?

I go to my grandmother’s (Carol Wetzel) and have tea with her on her porch. She sits on one end and me on the other. I took her Chick-fil-A dinner on Tuesday. She loves Chick-fil-A and hadn’t had it for a while.

What’s your plan for the rest of the spring?

No track season or prom, but at least we’re still scheduled to have graduation. We just don’t know when but something this summer.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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