Top performers for Penn Hills track team aim to peak at right time

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Saturday, May 11, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Strategy was at the forefront of the last-chance meet for Penn Hills track and field.

Entering the race, coach Lee Zelkowitz said the Indians were not only hoping to qualify more athletes. Zelkowitz said he wanted to see his top performers improve their seed time to get into faster heats as well.

“I’m not going to run Achan (Green) in the high hurdles,” Zelkowitz said. “He already had a good time there. They run prelims there, so it doesn’t matter where he’s seeded. I want to run Achan and Paris Bey in the 300 to see them get a better lean. You want to make sure they are in the fastest heat.”

Green has been steadily gathering momentum as the schedule has inched closer to the postseason. He won the 110 hurdles at the South Fayette Invitational and nearly repeated the feat at Baldwin the following week. Green ran a time of 14.84 seconds in the prelims and was the top seed going into the finals.

Green finished with a time of 14.98 seconds in the finals and finished second.

“He hit a hurdle late in the finals and finished second,” Zelkowitz said. “He was winning that race until he hit the hurdle. His confidence is good.”

On the girls side, the Penn Hills 400 relay team turned in a strong performance at Baldwin. Mackenzie McIntyre, Jadyn Golden, Kali Booker and Maliah Powell ran a time of 49.41 seconds to place second.

Zelkowitz said Booker coming out for track this spring helped finalize what the Penn Hills relay team needed to be explosive. She runs the third leg and has utilized her quickness from soccer.

“She has a ton of speed,” Zelkowitz said. “She is very competitive. She gets it from the soccer side. She wants to win. She wants to win and do her best when she’s on the track.”

Booker picked up a pair of top-five finishes in individual events. She placed fourth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200 meters.

Powell finished in fifth place in the 400 dash. Darrin Hayes was the only other Penn Hills athlete on the boys side to crack the top 20.

Hayes ran 43.91 seconds in the 300 hurdles to place 18th. Zelkowitz is confident that Penn Hills will have a healthy contingent of athletes at the WPIAL Class 3A championships.

“There are a few more kids who may qualify at the last-chance meet,” Zelkowitz said. “We’re hoping to sneak a few more in there.”

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