Area athletes compete in Hershey state track championships
Eight area athletes and one relay foursome capped a successful summer by participating in the Hershey Track and Field state championships held at Penn State University. The group, representing Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair, earned their berths in the Pennsylvania finals by competing well during the District 1 qualifier held in Somerset.
Lebo’s Holden and Bryce Brandenstein were among the top participants. In the 11-12 age group, Holden finished fourth in the 400 dash. In the 13-14 division, Bryce secured sixth in the 1,600-meter run and fifth in the long jump.
During the qualifier, Holden won the 400. He also finished first in the standing long jump and took third in 200. Meanwhile, Bryce won the 1,600 as well as the standing long jump. He added fourth in the 100-meter dash.
The top finishers in the state were Lebo’s Cortland Peer and Joshua Mammarelli. Peer picked up third in the 50-meter run for boys’ 9-10 while Mammarelli took third in the 200. Peer was the district champion while Mammarelli was a runner-up in their respective races.
Lauren Leckenby of USC finished fifth in the 100 and 200 dashes for girls 13-14. The rising freshman won both those events at the district level.
Ashton Maslanka from Bethel Park followed Leckenby’s lead and also finished in fifth place in the 50 at the state finals but in the boys’ division. He was the district runner-up in that race.
BP’s Ashley Burford collected third in the softball throw and sixth in the 100 for girls’ 13-14 at the state finals. She anchored the 4-by-100 relay team of Rachel Gilliam, Morgan Heller and Geana Scott to a seventh-place showing. That foursome was the district runner-up.
At the district level, Burford was runner-up to Leckenby in the 100 but the champion in the softball toss.
After winning at the district level, BP’s Grace Lejack secured sixth places in 50- and 100-meter dashes for girls’ 9-10 during the state finals.
Finally at the state championships, Anthony Watson of BP sealed seventh place in the 400 run. He was the 9-10 district champion.
Several other area athletes were crowned champions at the district level.
Nora Conaway, Courtney Alexander, Jessica Pecore, Ava Prezioso and Lana Rice combined for first place in the 400 relay. Individually, Prezioso was third in the long jump and Conaway finished fifth in the 200
The Lebo foursome posted a 1.07.50 time. Lebo’s foursome of Joe Gibbons, Blaine Gartley, John Sramac and Jack Sullivan also finished first in the 400 with a 1.0.42 time.
Individually, Eli Heidenrich and Mac Stout earned titles. The Lebo duo competed in the 9-10 age group. Heidenrich, who took second in the softball toss, finished first in the 100 meters while Stout won the long jump.
Aidan Moncavage finished fourth in the long jump and third in the softball toss while Julia LaLama took third in the 800 and fourth in the 100.
Top local finishers in the long jump included: Alex Guarino of BP, sixth; Katrina Koenig of BP, sixth; Katie Kulikowski, sixth while Megan Batdorf of Lebo, fourth; Alexander Brokaw of Lebo, fourth and Grant Kradel, second were tops in the 800.
Lebo’s Robert Winschel and Sophia Zundel each took third in their respective divisions in the 400 run. Zundel added fourth in the 100 while Joe Gibbons of Lebo and Elsie Eason of BP captured third and sixth places in that race.
The top 200-meter runners included: Mihaela Toader of Lebo, sixth; Rachel Gilliam of BP, fourth; Charlie Gordon of Lebo fourth and Katie Gunzenhauser of Lebo, fourth, in their age groups.
Among the top throws were: Alex Remington, fourth; Lawrence Winschel, fourth and Christopher Kahl, fifth.
Other participants included: Sadie Borandi, Isaiah Turner, Kelly Prunzik, Patra Hsu, Jacob Manzina, Ashley Lewis, Reese Gadsby, Waverly Shiff, Sam Organist, Paige Lewis, from Bethel as well as Lana Rice and Elizabeth Warschel of Lebo.