Small numbers help Penn Hills track put emphasis on training, improving

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Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Low numbers was never something Penn Hills track and field coach Lee Zelkowitz wanted to experience.

But for this season, having fewer kids on the roster actually has been a help in terms of bringing an inexperienced group up to speed.

Competing at the West Mifflin Last Chance meet gave Zelkowitz’s kids an opportunity to see where the Indians have made progress.

The boys 400-meter relay team finished first with a time of 45.81 seconds, and Angelo Allen earned victories with a season-best throw of 144 feet, 8 feet in the discus a throw of 49-7 ½ in the shot put.

“They’ve grown leaps and bounds,” Zelkowitz said. “What helped us was since our numbers are down, we’re able to get to know these kids well and have more individualized training for them. They’ve bought into everything we’re trying to teach them.”

The best times and distances were supposed to be turned into the WPIAL for the Class AAA championship last Thursday. Seeding times and distances for the WPIAL meet were released too late for this edition.

At the West Mifflin meet, Kali Booker recorded two top-five finishes, placing fourth in the 100 dash and fifth in the 200.

Supreme Saunders also recorded a third-place time in the 300 hurdles (45.89 seconds) and finished sixth in the 110 hurdles (19.64).

Others placing in the top five for Penn Hills were: Cameron Thomas, third, 100, 12.29; Shamarr Holmes, fourth, 100, 12.32; Roland Glenn, fifth, 300 hurdles, 48.53.

Penn Hills’ girls 1,600 relay team — consisting of Caroline McDevitt, Maliah Powell, Larissa Lockridge and Mylah Faulk — finished third at West Mifflin.

Zelkowitz believes all of the Indians’ relay teams have potential to make WPIALs and do well once they are there.

“I think they mesh well together,” Zelkowitz said. “They really want to do well for each other. The way we have them put together, they complement each other. They are buying into it and loving the relays.”

Penn Hills hopes the camaraderie, coupled with the progress throughout the season, will lead to several athletes making a trip to the PIAA finals.

As a group, Zelkowitz has been thrilled with the progress the program has made.

“They’ve been a pleasure to coach,” Zelkowitz said. “We don’t have anyone complaining or trying to duck out of workouts or anything. They are smart kids and pick up on things fast.”

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