Westmoreland athletes of the week: Hempfield’s Jared Bannon, Franklin Regional’s Jo-Michelle Huczko

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | 9:12 PM


Jared Bannon

School: Hempfield

Sport: Track and field

Year: Senior

Claim to fame: Bannon captured the 110-meter hurdles title in 14.11 seconds at the WPIAL Class AAA championships at Slippery Rock on May 16. Bannon qualified for the this week’s PIAA meet in the 200 by finishing fourth and will be part of Hempfield’s 400-meter relay team.

“I was really excited about my time in the hurdles. It was a huge PR,” he said. “I put everything together finally. My performance was everything I wanted, and I’m hoping to put some icing on the cake at states. I look to finish the season strong, especially with the hurdles.”

What are your college plans?

I’m not 100 percent decided on a school yet. I’m still talking to a few schools right now. I will probably make a decision in the next week or so.

What’s your mindset heading into states?

In the hurdles, I know what I’m capable of doing. It’s going to take a 13 something to win. I know I can do that. There is tough competition coming up to Shippensburg. I will rise to the occasion. The competition will bring the best out of me.

What does it mean to you to break the school record in the 110 hurdles at WPIALs?

The school record was a goal of mine going into the season. It really makes us look back to how far I’ve come in my development of running hurdles. I started to run the hurdles my sophomore year. Now, doing it at the WPIAL meet is big since my parents were there, and there were a lot of people watching.

What will it feel like to compete one final time in your high school career?

I’m going to leave everything I have left on the track with Hempfield Area on my chest. I want to do it for my coaches, teammates and myself. I’m looking to really get out there, have fun, compete at a high level and hopefully come out on top.

What’s your favorite picnic food?

Ribs at my family’s picnic. We setup a smoker, and I love to have it with some potato salad on the side.

Jo-Michelle “JoJo” Huczko

School: Franklin Regional

Sport: Track and field

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Huczko captured the pole vault title after clearing 11 feet at the WPIAL Class AAA championships at Slippery Rock on May 16. Huczko will compete at the PIAA championships at Shippensburg on Friday and Saturday.

“It was really incredible. I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “It was my first year competing and my 10th week. I just wanted to go out, compete and set a new PR. I’m so excited I won.”

What does it mean to you have the type of performance you had in your first year?

It’s a sign my hard work is paying off, and I’m doing something that I truly enjoy doing.

What is your mindset heading into states?

I don’t think I’m going to do too well with my muscle injury in my stomach. It’s going to be an incredible experience to see so many good vaulters compete.

What’s your favorite thing about track and field?

It’s my teammates. They are the best part of the experience. To have all these teammates rooting for me is the best part.

Why did you pick the pole vault?

It was kind of on a whim. I was planning doing the long jump, but then I thought the pole vault could be fun. I started to work out with that group of kids and here I am now.

What adjective best describes you?

Determined. I’m a pretty hard-working kid. When I set my mind on something, I work until it’s completed.

— Andrew John

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