Smith shatters WPIAL record
USC senior out of state meet
If James Smith appears to be in pain when he runs, it's because he is. The Upper St. Clair senior has struggled with plantar fasciitis all spring. Despite the discomfort in his heel and the strain on the ligaments that support his arch, Smith manages to muddle through.
Of the injury, Smith said, “it's very painful. I just grit my teeth and run through it.”
During the WPIAL championships, Smith did exactly that. With a clenched jaw, he circled the Baldwin track twice. Before he collapsed, grabbing his left foot, Smith had shattered the record for the 800-meter run. He clocked in at 1:53.23. The time eclipsed the mark of 1:53.50 set in 2002 by Matt Evans from Hempfield.
“After six months [of training], I wasn't going to let this [plantar fasciitis] stop me. Even though I felt it pop, I powered through it.
“My goal was to win,” Smith explained. “The record was icing on the cake. I'm excited about that.”
After plenty of Advil and ice, Smith says he's holding his breath regarding expectations for the PIAA competition. The top four finishers along with those district five through eight finishers meeting the qualifying times will battle for medals at the state championships set for May 23-24 at Shippensburg University.
Smith, however, will not be among the field of competitors. After trying to running on the foot in practice on May 21, Smith determined he would not attend the state meet.
USC track coach Petrick called the decision “smart.” Smith will be running at Lehigh University next fall and “is going to continue healing.”
Petrick added that Smith is “pretty bummed out.”
“Jimmy is a fantastic kid. It's been a great ride watching him this season. “Watching him win the WPIAL and set a record was pretty amazing but not surprising,” Petrick said. “We will miss him next year.”
Smith was not the only area champion earning a top seed in the state. Troy Apke earned the title as fastest male in the WPIAL.
The senior, who will play football at Penn State next season, won the 100-meter dash in 10.81. His teammate, Jacob Rolfsen, secured sixth place.
The Lebo 4-by-100 relay team featuring Apke, Julian Carapellotti, Joe Ferari and Shane Lefever, grabbed the bronze medal in 43.82. The team also consisted of Rolfsen and Sam Schmidt.
Lebo's 1,600 relay team of Evan Cohen, Billy Dougherty, Bryant and Davis Hanberry secured the silver. Alex Rice and Mitch Titchworth also played a part in the showing.
Individually, Lefever scored seventh and eighth in high and long jump. Dougherty finished fifth in the 800. Ferari was second in the pole vault.
Jon Heagy finished second in the high jump with a personal best mark of 6-3.
While Todd Gunzenhauser secured sixth in 1,600, Patrick Kimball finished in a similar spot in the high hurdles. Kimball added fourth in the intermediates.
The Lebo ladies coasted to victory in the 3,200 relay. Claire Dougherty, Audrey Gordon, Callie Gunzenhauser and Kelsey Potts combined for the win in 9:21.10. Lebo outdistanced runner-up Bethel Park and bronze-medalist Peters Township by 15 and 17 seconds.
Pots and Gordon finished third and fifth respectively in the 1,600 run. Brianna Schwartz of Shaler won the race in a meet-record time of 4:45.19. Potts clocked in at 4:56.70 and Gordon, 5:01.68.
Dougherty, who was second in the 800, anchored the 4-by-400 relay to a silver medal. The team also consisted of Ellie Meinzer, Aleighsha Gibson and Natalie Corrado.
Individually, Corrado finished third in the intermediate hurdles with a 45.57 time. She took seventh in the discus, an event she just picked up this spring.
Meinzer placed eighth in the 400 dash in 59.91.
While Jillian Linkowski finished fifth in the long jump, Jillian Hunsberger secured second in the 3,200.
Canon-McMillan took third in the 3,200 relay with Michael Strosko, Bill Kohler, Ethan Linderman and Meier. Cody Shock and Jeremy Soyring also were listed on the relay.
Individually, Meier was sixth in the 400 free while Linderman scored eighth in 3,200.
Alec Rideout finished second in the discus to Max Adams of Hempfield. Rideout threw 159-8 but Adams measured 186.11 with his best toss. Earlier this spring, Rideout has reached that distance for a school record during the Washington-Greene County championships. Adams also won the shot put. Rideout finished fourth in that event with a 54-foot toss.
Other top places
From South Fayette
• Ryan Lerda, eighth, 1,600.
• Mitch Walko, third, high hurdles (14.2).
From Peters Township
• Jonah Controy, seventh, discus.
From Keystone Oaks
• Christopher Grecek, eighth, shot put.
In Class AA
Josh Wright from Seton-La Salle secured seventh place in the discus.
Other top finishers among the girls' in Class AAA included:
• Dejalynn Peterson from Chartiers Valley, second to Jasmine Jones of Hempfield in the 400. The separation between gold and silver was .02 seconds with Jones winning in 57.93.
• Chloe Grzyb of PT, seventh, 1,600.
• Laura Ehrenberger, seventh, Peters, 800
• Tatiana Ruzzini, seventh, high hurdles.
• Chyna Beck of CM, sixth, triple jump.
• Hannah Falcione of PT, eighth, triple jump.
• Alexandra Stevenson collected bronze medals in the shot put and discus. The Bethel Park student's marks were 37-6.25; and 120-6.
Top finishes in Class AA included:
• Amanda Oliver of SF, seventh 100-meter dash.
• Tori Walachovic of SF, fourth, high hurdles.
• Nicole Egan of SF, eighth high hurdles; third in high jump, tied with 5 foot leap.
• Kasey Buchholz of KO, third in triple jump.
• Chartiers-Houston's Addy Knetzer finished as runner-up in the shot put with a toss of 42 feet, 10 inches. She added fourth in the discus. Teammate Deja Wormsley was sixth in the shot put.
• Emily Kalnish of KO, seventh, discus.
• Sydney Lerda of SF, eighth, 800 run.
• Caroline DeFrank of Canevin, sixth, 3,200.
• South Fayette 1,600 relay, fourth; third, 3,200 relay. Canevin, fourth and KO sixth in the 3,200 relay.