There will be 29 individual athletes and 11 relay teams representing Greater Latrobe, Derry Area and Ligonier Valley at the WPIAL Class 2A and 3A Track and Field Championships, scheduled for Wednesday at Slippery Rock University.
Derry Area has 13 athletes and two relay teams, while Ligonier Valley features nine athletes and three relays, as Class 2A competition is scheduled to begin around 9:30 a.m. Greater Latrobe features seven athletes and six relay teams in Class 3A action, which is set to kick-off around 3:15 p.m.
The area athletes and relay teams seek to qualify for the PIAA Class 2A and 3A State Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University on May 28-29.
Tara Perry, Leah Perry, Caitlyn Crook, Serena Slusarcyk, Sara Bungard, and Mara Lewis will compete for the Lady Trojans. Ashley Baker also qualified in pole vault, but she is unable to compete because of an injury.
“Making it to WPIAL finals gave me a sense of accomplishment of my journey throughout high school, especially after losing out on my junior season last year,” Crook said.
Tara Perry is ranked No. 3 in the 100 hurdles and No. 4 in the high jump, while Leah Perry is No. 8 in the 300 hurdles and No. 9 in the long jump. Crook is No. 6 in the shot and ranked No. 11 in the discus, while Slusarcyk is No. 7 in the 100. Lewis is No. 12 in the discus and Bungard 14th in the shot.
Derry Area also qualified athletes in the 400 relay and 3200 relay. Member of the 400 relay, which is ranked No. 4 with a seeded time of :52.18, include Tara Perry, Leah Perry, Slusarcyk and Sydney Williams. The 3200 relay, which includes Williams, Charity Peterman, Emilee Steffey and Emma Huber, is ranked No. 13.
“Getting this opportunity is something that many people don’t get to experience,” said Tara Perry, who made it to Shippensburg as a sophomore. “Making it this far is something I will cherish.”
The Derry Area boys are sending Connor Quinlisk and Keith Rager.
Quinlisk is ranked No. 4 in the long jump, No. 9 in the 200 and 14th overall in the 100. Rager is ranked No. 10 in the discus and No. 11 in the shot.
Mile Higgins leads the Ligonier Valley boys, as he’s seeded No. 1 in the WPIAL. He won the annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association (WCCA) Track and Field Championships with a 180-4, as the Rams are hopeful he can repeat this performance and advance to the state meet.
Wesley Smykal is tied for seventh in the high jump, while Isaac Piper (110 hurdles), Tucker Klotz (3200) and James Pleskovich (javelin) also qualified for the district meet. Jonathan Manges qualified in the pole vault, but he is unable to compete because of an injury.
Tatum Hoffman leads the Ligonier Valley girls, as she qualified in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. Hoffman is a top seed in the high jump, she’s ranked No. 6 in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump.
“Tatum has the ability and we are confident that she will move onto the state meet,” Ligonier Valley assistant Trish Majhan said. “She also has a very good chance to make it in both the long and triple jump.”
Maddie Smith is also a multiple-event qualifier for the Lady Rams, making it to the district meet in the 1600 and 3200. Mara Myers is also headed to the WPIAL Class 2A championships in the 1600.
Ligonier Valley qualified three relay teams, as Klotz, Smykal, Ryan Zimmerman and Aiden Brisendine will compete in the 3200 relay on the boys’ side. Sarah Sheeder, Hollie Queer, Carol Woods and Abby Painter qualified on the girls’ end in the 1600 relay, while Myers, Clara Wallace, Queer and Smith reached in the 3200 relay.
“Our 3200 relay team, consisting of two freshmen, a sophomore and one senior is seeded fifth and has a great opportunity to move onto the state meet as well,” Majhan said.
Brennan Campbell and Ryan Sickenberger lead the Greater Latrobe boys at the district championship meet. Campbell will compete in the 110 and 300 hurdles, while Sickenberger takes part in the 100 and long jump.
Campbell placed fourth in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles at the recent Baldwin Invitational. He also captured the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles at the Greater Latrobe/Hempfield Area Invitational and WCCA meet. Sickenberger won the 100 and the long jump at the WCCA meet. Sickenberger was the combined track and field highest-point award-winner at the WCCA meet, while Campbell took the highest-point award on the track side at the same meet.
Campbell is the No. 7 seed in the 110 hurdles and the No. 11 seed in the 300 hurdles. Sickenberger is seeded No. 6 in the 100 and ninth in the long jump.
“Both Brennan and Ryan have very good lane assignments,” Greater Latrobe coach Andy Wnek said. “Ryan has improved all season in the long jump and has been consistently in the upper 20-21-foot mark the last couple of meets.”
Daylan Yeager will also compete in the pole vault, while Connor Burkey takes part in the javelin during the WPIAL Class 3A championships.
Anna Rafferty is ranked No. 3 in the shot on the girls’ side, and she also qualified in the discus.
“(Rafferty) has been consistent in the shot all season with 36-to-38-foot attempts,” Wnek said. “She is in a good position with the third seed.”
Lauren Davis will compete in the 400 and Ella Bulava in the 800 for the Lady Wildcats. Bulava recently led the Lady Wildcats at the Baldwin Invitational. Bulava is seeded No. 9 in the 800.
“(Bulava) has greatly improved the last two meets (Baldwin Invitational and West Mifflin Last Chance Meet), and as a ninth-grader, this will be a great experience for her,” Wnek said.
Greater Latrobe also qualified all three relays – the 400, 1600 and 3200 – on the boys and girls side.
Greater Latrobe’s 1600 relay team on the boys side is seeded sixth and features Campbell, Nick Rauco, Augie Mucci and Sickenberger, with Nathan Stemmerich and James Hill as alternates. The group won at both the Wildcat Invitational and WCCA meet.
“The boys’ (1600) are in the fast heat and will be challenged to improve their time,” Wnek said.
Nathan Stemmerich, Rauco, Ray Henderson and Sickenberger are seeded No. 16 with Josh Brown and Jacob Pittman as alternates. The 3200 relay team is comprised of Dante Frescura, Joseph Hill, Drew Kozuch and James Hill, with Luke Robinson and Noah Pittman, and they’re seeded No. 23.
The girls’ 1600 relay team is seeded No. 18 and consists of Jenna Mucci, Regan Reilly, Bulava and Davis with Courtney Schmauch as an alternate. The 400 relay team is seeded No. 19 and features Schmauch, Mucci, Davis and Allyson Horner with Ramiya Henderson as an alternate. The 3200 relay team is seeded No. 23 and is made up of Lexie Planinsek, Regan Reilly, Clara Herr and Bulava with Morgan Reilly and Davis as alternates.