South Park’s Maura Huwalt leads multiple winners at WPIAL championships with 3 gold medals

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Thursday, May 16, 2019 | 9:39 PM


As a six-time WPIAL champion, South Park’s Maura Huwalt now ranks among the most accomplished throwers in WPIAL history.

But the senior doesn’t consider herself your prototypical thrower.

“A lot of people that I’ve met, they always want to be the best thrower, the best thrower, the best thrower — and that’s great,” Huwalt said. “But something I’ve always lived by is, I’m not trying to be the best thrower. I’m trying to be the best athlete I can possibly be.

“That’s what makes me successful in all three.”

Her athleticism and versatility were evident Thursday as Huwalt swept the girls Class AA shot put, discus and javelin titles at the WPIAL track and field championships at Slippery Rock University. It was the second consecutive year that Huwalt won all three events.

Remarkably, Huwalt wasn’t the only athlete to win three individual events Thursday. Baldwin’s Brenden O’Malley won the 200, 400 and long jump in boys Class AAA.

In all, there were a dozen athletes who won multiple individual titles, including Waynesburg senior Daniel Layton, who defended his title in the Class AA boys 110 hurdles after the PIAA allowed him to run. Layton also won the pole vault.

Also winning two individual events were Bethel Park’s Emily Carter (1,600, 3,200), Oakland Catholic’s Jayla Ellis (100 hurdles, high jump), Avonworth/Northgate’s Hayden Robinson (100, 200) and Hempfield’s Mackenna Orie (discus, shot put) in Class AAA girls.

Shady Side Academy’s Melissa Riggins (800, 1,600), South Park’s Maddie Raymond (100, 200) and East Allegheny’s C-Keiyah Marshall (400, long jump) won two Class AA girls events. Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire won the 100 and 200 in Class AA boys, and also added a 400 relay gold.

Huwalt’s only serious competition came in the shot put. Shenango freshman Emma Callahan (41-5¼) came within three feet of Huwalt’s winning toss of 44-3.

But Huwalt said her most exciting event “by far” was the javelin because the crowd began to clap in unison, boosting her adrenaline before she threw.

“It was so exciting,” Huwalt said. “I’ve never been so happy in my life. I got a little too excited but that’s OK. … It was a bad throw but it was still cool. I’d never had that done for me before.”

She won the javelin by 22 feet with a throw of 144-11. She won the discus (143-1) by nearly 18 feet. All three winning distances bettered last year’s WPIAL championship marks.

Huwalt now heads to Shippensburg eager to defend her state discus title. A year ago, she placed first in the discus, seventh in the javelin and third in the shot put.

“For the next week the (thought) is: ‘Physically strong, mentally tough.’ I’ve got to get myself mentally prepared,” Huwalt said. “It’s going to be the hardest competition of my life.”

Check out highlights from the WPIAL track and field championships on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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