Young athletes finding success for Highlands track and field

Monday, April 25, 2022 | 12:25 PM

Brooke Signorella had just earned a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at the annual Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational, but her sprint wasn’t quite over.

The Highlands sophomore quickly returned to the starting line because as soon as the hurdles were cleared from the track it was time for her next race, the 100-meter dash.

Signorella’s quick recovery is one her many special talents on the track and one she shares with several other Highlands underclassmen who have made impressive contributions this season.

“Things are coming along,” coach Chad Walsh said. “We have a lot of young kids contributing. Each week they seem to get a little better. That’s a positive for us. Our numbers are up this year. We have a lot more participation. Some of these young kids have been surprising.”

After her fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles in 17.91 seconds, Signorella placed eighth in 13.60 in the 100-meter dash at the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational on April 8 at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.

“I’m expecting some big things out of her,” Walsh said of Signorella, who also competes in the long jump and high jump. “It seems each day, each week she picks it up a little more. The technique gets better. The next few weeks leading up to WPIALs, she’ll have a chance to see where we stand with her.”

Junior Cassidy Davis also had an impressive performance at Latrobe, finishing third in long jump with a mark of 16 feet, 514 inches. Norwin’s Nataiah Robertson-Dutrieuille took first (17-234).

“She’s just powerful,” Walsh said of Davis. “She’s either first or second in the dual meets. She just seems like she gets stronger each week.

“She will get more technique each week. She’s starting to catch it, hit the board really hard and rappel herself out into the pit and refining the technique.”

Davis also tied for ninth in the high jump after clearing 4-6 and has cleared 5 feet during practice sessions. Sophomore Cadence Chambers also has made an impact in the high jump.

Freshman Tyarah Woody is another promising sprinter for Highlands. She placed 11th in the 100 (13.73) and competed in the 200 and long jump. Sophomore Elizabeth Ransom has competed in the 200 and long jump. Junior Eve Johnson and senior Rebekah Young are top middle distance and distance runners.

Senior Ahmonti Ondo has returned in the hurdles after finishing 22nd in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles at WPIALs last season.

Senior Lilly Johnson is another one of the team’s more experienced athletes. The returning WPIAL qualifier finished 16th in the shot put at WPIALs last season and has continued to post high marks. She was 13th in the shot put with a mark of 28-112.

“She works really hard,” Walsh said. “She spends extra time after practice video taping herself, critiques her technique. She seems to click.”

Senior Fatama Shareef has added depth to the throwing events.

On the boys’ side, sophomore Kyan Chambers tied for seventh in the high jump at Latrobe after clearing 5-6. He also took fifth in the long jump with a leap of 19-8. Walsh said he has surpassed 5-10 in the high jump and 20 feet in the long jump this season. Junior Ashton Hatajik also has come through in the high jump, clearing 5-4 at Latrobe. Senior Kalle Lammert has been the leader in the triple jump.

Junior twins Logan and Noah Leslie have been key point scorers in shot put and discus. They were 18th (104-9) and 28th (100-2), respectively, in the javelin at Latrobe. Roman Vivirito also has been a contributor in the throwing events. Freshman Trevor Grant and Tyler Bender also have added to the javelin field.

Junior Zach Dunlap and freshmen Darius Cherry and Nygel Jack have contributed in the sprint events. Sophomore Eliott Bannister and senior Justin Do have led the way in the middle distance and distance events.

Highlands has gone winless in four dual meets in Section 4-3A, but Walsh is confident the athletes will continue to improve as the postseason meets approach. The Golden Rams will compete in the Pine-Richland Invitational May 6 to prepare for the WPIAL meet, which is set for May 18 at Slippery Rock.

“Just keep getting better. Start reaching their PRs,” he said. “The kids we’ve got now who are showing they’re in the mix, we just want them to keep getting better, hone their skills and get technique better each week and put the work in. Hopefully, in the end it pays off for us.”

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.


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