Shaler athletes find their niche on track team

Sunday, May 19, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Hannah Sahr and Liam Kelley started track and field with an idea of what events they thought they may like. But the Shaler juniors both adjusted once they got some hands-on experience.

Hannah Sahr wanted to be a distance runner like her cousin, Cheyenne. Kelley wasn’t sure what events he could do.

Sahr qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A championship meet in the 400 run and as a member of the 400 relay. Finding out she was built for speed and agility also served Sahr well during her time as a receiver on the Titans’ flag football team.

“I wanted to do something else,” Sahr said. “I didn’t know anyone on the team. I heard about the powder puff game and thought it would be good to try. I tried basketball my freshman year; it wasn’t for me. I tried volleyball in middle school; it wasn’t for me. I wanted to find something that would make me happy.”

Balancing flag football and track gave Sahr the balance she sought. During the indoor track season, Sahr set the school record in the 400 run. Gabby Alcalde, Octavia Dixon and Victoria Peterson are on the WPIAL qualifying relay team with Sahr.

During the offseason, Sahr became heavily involved in weight training, which she attributes to her increased agility to.

“I love weight training,” Sahr said. “It’s a lot of fun to do with my friends. It gets me strong and the workouts are great and prepare me to play.”

Titans track coach Shawn Ryan said he has worked closely with the flag football coach to make sure that Sahr is able to participate in both practices.

“We are able to make sure she isn’t overworked and gets the right recovery,” Ryan said. “It’s beneficial to have a clear line of communication between coaches.”

Kelley qualified for the triple jump early this season by leaping 21 feet, 2 inches at the TSTCA Invite. When Kelly, who started jumping as a sophomore, found out he could succeed at the long jump, he asked Ryan if he could try the triple jump.

“I said, ‘Do you know how to do the triple jump?’” Ryan said. “He told me he had a general idea. There are some movements that are similar, and I didn’t have any reservations about him trying.”

Kelley was a little surprised when he saw his second jump go over 41 feet. When Kelley told a former teammate about it, the teammate told Kelley his personal record was 39 feet.

For Kelley, he said he feels like the skills he picked up from the long jump helped him out.

“I do a lot of bounding for the long jump and getting my knees up,” Kelley said. “I adjusted to the triple jump really fast.”

Kelley, who would like to run track in college, has been working on gathering as much information as possible. Grabbing a medal or a bid to the PIAA meet would be a good start for Kelley.

He just needs to continue to work on the nuances of his events.

“I try to talk about it with those who did it before,” Kelley said. “I want to get a lot of knowledge and do the right training for it.”


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