Just as robins are a harbinger of spring, the South Fayette Invitational serves as a barometer for the WPIAL track and field championships, which are to be held May 16 at Slippery Rock University.
“The SF Invite is a great event with top-notch competition,” said Chartiers Valley head coach Lori Poe. “We went into it focused on improving some individual performances and fine-tuning for the team playoffs and WPIAL championships. It was a great stepping stone for postseason action.”
While the CV boys were unable to carry momentum into the team playoffs – they failed to advance to May 6’s championships to be held at Peters Township, falling short against Seneca Valley while beating Mars and New Castle – they hope to parlay their title into the district finals.
The Colts won the team title during the SF Invite, in part because of standout performances from Caleb Nelson, Martiese Davis and Marcello Legister. They were multiple medal winners.
Nelson won the triple jump with a mark of 44-01.25. He added fourth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the long jump.
Davis collected bronze medals in the triple jump and intermediate hurdles. He also added seventh in the long jump.
Legister won silver in the intermediates and bronze in the high hurdles.
Additionally, Elias Zajicek dominated the 1,600-meter run, winning with a 4:33.63 time well ahead of third-place winner Barak Asher of Mt. Lebanon and eight-place finisher Antonio Burkhart from Bethel Park.
High jumpers Thad Adams (sixth) and Dammion Bundridge (eighth) each placed. Connor Barrett took sixth in the long jump. Shore Kohli’s seventh place in the 3,200-meter run, Doug Brady’s fourth in the discus and Socrates Boulis’ fifth in the high hurdles helped seal CV’s victory.
“Our team had some really great individual performances,” Poe said. “That contributed to the overall team win. We rested a few individuals, had others just focus on one or two events and gave others a chance to step up and contribute to the team win and they all did a great job.
“This team win was a great confidence boost going into the WPIAL championship meet. It gave us insight into what we need to do to continue to improve times and distances to get the most individuals into that meet.”
Mason Ventrone, Ryan Tischler and Mike Conaboy won gold medals during the SF Invite.
A Mt. Lebanon junior, Ventrone won long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 3.5 inches. Charles Morrow of Keystone Oaks followed in third place.
A Bethel Park senior, Tischler won the pole vault. His winning vault measured 12 feet, 4 inches. His teammates Christopher Garland and Scott Orzechowski finished in fifth and eighth places while SF’s Josh Miteer took third.
Orzechowski added fifth in the javelin while Luke Surunis, also from BP, was sixth. SF’s Jeffrey Martineck ended up in eighth place.
Also a BP senior, Conaboy won the shot put with a throw of 48-02. KO”s Vincent Pellarin and SF’s Byrce Spolnik finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
Other top male performers included:
- Nate Kirk from Lebo, third and fifth in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
- Angel Feliciano of BP, sixth, 200-meter dash
- Joseph Henry, SF, fourth, 400-meter dash
- Duncan LaDuke of Lebo, sixth, 800-meter run
- Peter Cosentino and Joe Chaves of Lebo, second and fifth, 3,200-meter run
- Aaron Skerbetz of SF, eighth, 3,200-meter run
- Brenden Ridge of BP, eighth, high hurdles
- Mitch Howard of SF, sixth, intermediates
- Jameson Bogdan of KO, fifth, triple jump
Carter goes distance
Emily Carter was a double winner during the SF Invite.
The Bethel Park sophomore dominated the distance races, earning gold in the 1,600-meter run with a 5:00.78 time and finishing first in the 3,200-meter run in 10:55.40.
CV’s Kiki Thornton followed Carter in third place during the mile event while SF’s Hailey Poe and Delaney Parisi trailed Carter in fourth and eighth places in the two-mile race.
Patrice Smith and Rebecca Libell were the other local female winners during the SF Invite.
Smith won the 800-meter run in 2:18.86 while her Lebo teammates Alison Hodgson followed in second with a 2:20.03 time. SF’s Emma Fleck finished fourth. CV’s Alyssa Dunn was fifth and BP’s Kristen Gross was seventh.
Libell won the pole vault with a mark of 9 feet, 10 inches. Her BP teammate added sixth place.
Other top female finishers included:
- Sydney Ponikvar of SF, sixth, 100-meter run
- Kristen Gross of BP, seventh, 400-meter dash
- Natalie Wolf of Lebo, eighth, intermediates
- Hailey Bair of SF, second, long jump
- Isabella Bogdan of KO third, high jump; fifth long jump
- Melana Schumaker of SF, seventh long jump; eighth triple jump; seventh, pole vault
- Baylee Carpenter of SF, eighth long jump
- Alicia Lehman of KO, third discus and fourth shot put
- Ariana Guerra of BP, seventh discus and javelin
- Gabbi Bolus of CV, eighth shot put.
- Mariah Mastro of SF, fourth discus
- Mara Marrese of SF, eighth discus
- Alexa Psotka of BP, third javelin
- Claire Previte of SF, sixth javelin