West Mifflin’s Dontae Lewis celebrates 300 hurdles title on future college track

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Saturday, May 29, 2021 | 7:11 PM


SHIPPENSBURG — While his competitors endured the cold rain and wind inside Seth Grove Stadium, West Mifflin hurdler Dontae Lewis found a way to escape.

“I kind of sat in my coach’s car all day with the heat all the way up,” Lewis said with a laugh, “and wasted a lot of gas to make sure I didn’t injury myself, because it’s freezing.”

When time came to run, Lewis did more than idle.

The senior won the 300-meter hurdles, took second in the 110 hurdles and posted personal bests in both Saturday at the PIAA Class AAA track and field championship. He outraced many of the best in the state despite a frigid temperature in the 40s.

“This is the coldest I’ve ever run in,” he said.

Yet, Lewis won the 300 hurdles in 38.32 seconds, or nearly one-tenth faster than Danville senior Brandon Zimmerman, despite clipping the second-to-last hurdle.

And in the 110 finals, Lewis finished in 14.26 seconds but was beaten by Williamsport senior Allen Taylor, who crossed the finish line in 14.15 seconds.

Lewis, a Shippensburg recruit, was running on his future home track.

WPIAL athletes claimed five gold medals led by Moon runner Mia Cochran, who won two individual events (1,600, 3,200). Also winning gold in the Class AAA meet were Hempfield’s Dan Norris (discus) and the South Fayette girls 400-meter relay.

In Lewis’ mind, his winning performance made amends for two years ago, when he failed to reach the 300-meter finals after bumping legs with another hurdler.

“We were both exhausted going onto the last stretch,” Lewis said, thinking back to 2019. “We hit on one hurdle, I stumbled and I missed finals.”

Lewis waited two years for a do-over.

“As a sophomore, I kind of tripped,” he said. “It wasn’t really my fault. It was the person next to me. But I knew today … I was not going to lose on this track again.”

Yet he did renew his rivalry with that second-to-last hurdle, the one that tripped him up in 2019. It caused him to stumble again, but this time he stayed on his feet and won.

“I was running down the straightaway, just psyching myself to keep going,” he said. “I wanted to finish strong. I kind of did, I guess, because I stumbled and kept going.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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