Westmoreland County throwers shine at WPIAL track championships

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 | 10:23 PM

They might not be able to compete against each other in events, but that doesn’t stop Hempfield throwers Liz Tapper and Peyton Murray from battling at practice.

The top WPIAL Class 3A discus throwers brought home gold medals at the WPIAL track and field championships Wednesday at Slippery Rock University.

Tapper’s best throw was 147 feet, 7 inches, and Murray’s best was 162-6.

Both qualify for the PIAA championships May 27-28 at Shippensburg University.

“We push each other all the time,” Murray said. “We’re always trying to get better.”

Tapper also won the shot put was a throw of 45-10½ and placed second in the pole vault, clearing 11-6.

She said the weather didn’t bother her as much as running back and forth between events.

“I’m very pleased,” Tapper said. “No personal records, but I came here waiting to qualify in all three events and I did that.

“There have been a couple meets where we’re trying to figure out a couple things like today, I was a little off. So we’ll go back to practice Thursday and clean it up for states.”

Murray’s season started with a hip injury that kept him sidelined. Now he’s starting to find his form.

“This is a dream come true,” Murray said. “I’m feeling really good, and I’m excited about the states and happy about today.”

The Hempfield girls 3,200-meter relay of Cydney Blahovec, Lily Murphy, Julia Snider and Alicia Weimer placed third with a season-best time of 9 minutes, 37.51 seconds, and sophomore Grace Iwig earned a trip with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault.

Ligonier Valley senior Miles Higgins won his second consecutive Class 2A javelin title with a throw of 182-4. Teammate James Pleskovich, a junior, also qualified for states by finishing fifth with a throw of 150-1.

“I’m pleased with my performance considering the weather,” Higgins said “Now I get a chance to win a state title.”

The meet was run in cool, rainy conditions, which was great for the runners but made things slick for the field events.

Joining the javelin duo in Shippensburg is Chris Saversky in the pole vault. He placed fifth, clearing 12 feet.

Seniors Cody Scherle and Aaron Schmook took the top two spots in the Class 3A javelin.

Scherle’s winning throw was 174-4, and Schmook, the top seed, had a throw of 167-1.

It was the second consecutive season the Schmook was seeded No. 1 in the event. Last year, he failed to qualify.

“This was a big surprise for me,” Scherle said. “I managed to pull it off with really high consistency.”

It was quite a day for the Greensburg Central Catholic track team.

The Centurions had two individual champions, James and Corinn Brewer, and the 400 relay took first.

James Brewer, a sophomore, won the 300 hurdles. His older sister, Corinn, a senior, won the pole vault and placed second in the 300 hurdles, third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the high jump.

“Winning gives me more confidence after not performing to standards in my other two events,” James Brewer said. “I think I just wanted to win more than the others.”

Corinn Brewer had a busy day bouncing from event to event. She’s happy but wants more at Shippensburg.

“I was hoping to win the 300 hurdles,” she said. “At least my brother did. That was awesome. I know I have more to give. I haven’t practiced a lot because of my shins. I’ll do more this week to prepare for states.”

The relay team consisted of Eva Denis, Sara Felder, Sasha Hoffman and Ella Zambruno.

Joe Blahovec earned a trip to the state championship by placing fourth in the 200. Denis, a freshman, placed second in the 100 and third in the long jump, and Lizzie Dlugos finished fourth in the shot put.

Southmoreland junior Olivia Cernuto overcame a slow start to win the Class 2A triple jump with a leap of 36 feet, 4¾ inches. She placed seventh in the long jump but did not meet the qualifying standards.

“It wasn’t my best day jumping,” Cernuto said. “I had some issues, but I hit a good jump at the end of the first round and it pulled me ahead. Winning this is awesome, a great achievement, but I’m not done yet. I have states.”

Joining Cernuto at the state meet are senior Alexis Jacobs, who was second in the shot put with a throw of 39-1½, senior J.J. Bloom, who placed third in the 200, and senior Isaac Trout, who placed third in the long jump and triple jump.

Here’s a list of other athletes from Westmoreland County who qualified for PIAAs.

Greensburg Salem: Dwight Sarver took third in Class 3A shot put.

Latrobe: Brennan Campbell placed second in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.

Penn-Trafford: Nathan Schlessinger placed fourth in the discus, and Kate Schall placed third in the 400, setting a school record with a time of 58.75.

Norwin: Bernadette Zukina finished second in the 400 for the second consecutive season, and the 1,600 relay team of Zukina, Bella Brozeski, Alexandra Walton and Layla Robertson placed second. Ashley Laukus tied for second in the high jump.

Yough: Nick Gunther placed third in the discus and javelin.

Derry: Jane Huss placed fifth in the 3,200 and Sophia Mazzoni placed third in the javelin.

Mt. Pleasant: Rylin Bugosh, a freshman, placed fifth in the 200 and junior Tiffany Zelmore, fourth in the discus.

Belle Vernon: Gianna Anderson was fourth in the triple jump.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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