Hempfield’s Liz Tapper collects 2 more titles, 4 others from Westmoreland County win WPIAL gold

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 8:30 PM


When you’re ranked No. 1 in the state, anything less than your best could be considered unacceptable.

Hempfield senior Elizabeth Tapper walked away from the WPIAL Class 3A track and field championships Wednesday at Slippery Rock happy that she repeated her titles in the discus and shot put but disappointed she came up short of her goals of setting meet records.

Cool, windy conditions were not favorable to having a record day, and Tapper accepted that.

Still, Tapper achieved her main goal by defending her titles, and now she heads to the PIAA championship May 26-27 at Shippensburg, where she plans on defending her Class 3A titles.

“The main goal was to win,” Tapper said. “I also wanted the record in the discus of 167 (feet). I was little bit off that one. It didn’t work out today, but it’s coming. I still have another meet to get it. If it doesn’t happen, that’s OK, too.”

Tapper has been battling a Lisfranc injury. She said the healing process was eight weeks, and this was the fifth week.

“I’m getting better every week,” Tapper said. “At first, the injury bothered me. But I’m over it now.”

Hempfield junior Peyton Murray also was looking for two victories, but he settled for one after not having his best day in the shot put. He lost to Connellsville senior Nathan Reese by 4 inches. Murray thought he had thrown a winning toss on his final attempt, but an official ruled he fouled.

“They marked it first and then ruled I scratched,” Murray said. “Usually they don’t mark fouls, but people around the circle thought I fouled, and I probably did. I’ll just have to throw better at states. It wasn’t my best day.”

Murray did bounce back to win the discus with a throw of 169 feet, 5 inches. He has the best throw in the state of 182-1.

“I want to win a state title in discus and throw my best in the shot,” Murray said. “I want to at least medal in the shot put. I can’t complain about the discus.”

Other Westmoreland County athletes to win WPIAL titles were Norwin senior Bella Brozeski in the Class 3A 300 hurdles, Kiski Area junior Eliza Miller in the Class 3A 800, Ligonier Valley sophomore John Jablunovsky in Class 2A high jump and Derry Area sophomore Sophia Mazzoni is the Class 2A javelin.

Brozeski’s winning time was 45.56. Her teammate, Casey Rose Colcombe, was fourth.

“I didn’t expect to win it with a jump of 6-1,” Jablunovsky said. “I’ve jumped in the wind before. You just had to get used to it.”

Miller outkicked Bethel Park junior Jenna Lang in the 800, and Mazzoni unleashed a throw of 140-5 in th javelin.

Franklin Regional freshman Monroe Law had a great day in the sprints. She finished second to Upper St. Clair senior Dani Prunzik in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in Class 3A. Law smashed her personal record and school record in both races. She ran a 24.54 and Prunzik a 24.53.

“It was a tiring run, and I almost beat her,” Law said. “Hopefully, I’ll get her at states.”

Norwin sophomore Nicholas Puskar finished second in the Class 3A pole vault, Penn-Trafford junior Matt Sarnowski placed second in the 3A discus, Mt. Pleasant senior Tiffany Zelmore was second in the Class 2A discus and Greensburg Salem senior Cody Rubrecht was second in the Class 2A pole vault.

Rubrecht just started pole vaulting this season. His jump of 14-6 broke the school record. He also placed fourth in the 100.

“I’m really happy with my effort,” Rubrecht said. “It was a good day. I still have a lot to learn about the pole vault. Maybe I can run track and play football at Seton Hill.”

The Norwin girls’ 3,200-meter relay team of Bella Furno, Rose Mary Gaydos, Ana Defazio and Annie Czajkowski placed second in Class 3A.

Other PIAA qualifiers

To qualify for the PIAA championship, athletes had to finish in a certain place or place in the top eight and meet the state qualifying standards. In Class 2A girls, the top six automatically qualified, and, in the Class 2A boys, the top five. In Class 3A boys and girls, the top four were the automatic qualifiers. Here is a list of the Westmoreland County athletes to qualify.

Third place: Savannah Schneck, Norwin (shot put, 3A); Cydney Blahovec, Hempfield (800, 3A); Sasha Hoffman, Greensburg Central Catholic (110 hurdles, Class 2A); Eva Denis, Greensburg Central Catholic (100, 2A); Da’sjon Craggette, Greensburg Central Catholic (100, 2A); James Brewer, Greensburg Central Catholic (300 hurdles and pole vault, 2A);

Fourth place: Latrobe 400-meter relay Team (Jake Pittman, Adam Piper, Vinny Gaskey and Chris Cochran); Amelia Barilla, Penn-Trafford (800, 3A); Casey Colcombe, Norwin (300 hurdles, 3A); Abigail Paterline, Franklin Regional (110 hurdles, 3A); Gunner Perez, Franklin Regional (high jump, 3A); Tiffany Zelmore, Mt. Pleasant (shot put, Class 2A); Lexi Ohler, Southmoreland (3,200, 2A); Cody Rubrecht, Greensburg Salem (100, 2A); Lizzy Boone, Southmoreland (high jump, 2A); Penn-Trafford girls 1.600-meter relay team of Katie Schall, Hannah Weishaar, Amelia Barilla and Vienna Kearns; Greensburg Central Catholic boys 1,600-meter relay team of James Brewer, Nick Dlugos, Jake Havrilesko and Samir Crosby.

Fifth place: Adam Piper, Latrobe (100, 3A); Hannah Shaw, Norwin (pole vault, 3A); Sierra Todero, Franklin Regional (triple, 3A); Liz Dlugos, Greensburg Central Catholic (shot put, 2A); Samir, Greensburg Central Catholic (long jump, 2A); Nick Szekely, Greensburg Central Catholic (1,600, 2A); Garrett Eicher, Mt. Pleasant (pole vault, 2A)

Sixth place: Hoffman (300 hurdles, 2A); GCC 400-meter relay team (Hoffman, Denis, Baterson and Blahovec, 2A); Caleb Prola, Hempfield (200, 3A).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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