Scott Litwinovich loves to discuss the members of his South Fayette track and field team.

“I could sing the accolades of the kids all day,” said the Lions’ head coach.

That’s because the athletes are winners.

The girls team completed an undefeated regular season and claimed its first section title since making the move to Class AAA seven years ago.

The Lions also reached the semifinals in the WPIAL team competition but they failed to earn the berth in the finals. After beating rival Mt. Lebanon 99-51 and Hempfield 94-56 they lost to North Allegheny, 81-69.

The boys team, meanwhile, advanced to the WPIAL Class 3A team championships to be held May 12 at West Mifflin. The Lions defeated Hampton 91-55, Mt. Lebanon 78-72 and Hempfield 80-70 in their semifinal meet held May 4 at South Fayette.

The Lions finished runner-up in their section with a 5-1 record. Their lone loss was to Canon-McMillan, which also advanced to the team finals by virtue of wins against Norwin 107-43, Franklin Regional 98-52 and Connellsville, 98-51.

South Fayette has also enjoyed success in several invitationals this spring.

The Lions won the South Hills Classic held at Gateway and took runner-up honors at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association’s outdoor championships held at West Mifflin.

South Fayette also won the boys and girls team titles at the South Fayette Invitational held May 1.

“As teams, we have had a very successful year,” Litwinovich said. “I also thought we had a particularly great day at our own meet.”

Under perfect racing conditions, several Lions posted personal records.

Amy Allen set a new school record in winning the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 44.94 currently ranks fourth best in the state. Allen also edged Upper St. Clair’s Dani Prunzik, who won the 100-meter dash, for first in the 200.

Allen also anchored SF’s 4x100 relay team of Amanda Marquis, Melana Schumaker and Olivia Renk to victory. The unit also set a new school standard. The group’s time of 48.98 ranks third in the state.

The Lions girls team also won the 4x400 with Marquis, Evabella Cox, Emma Fleck and Allen as well as the 4x800 with Baylee Carpenter, Lauren Iagnemma, Zoe Poe and Fleck.

Schumaker tied her pole vault record. Her winning mark measured 11 feet, 9 inches, which is also seventh best in the state.

Additionally, Sydney Bair finished first and Marquis second in the high jump.

Allen, who is committed to Duquesne University, Fleck and Carpenter have been SF’s senior leaders.

Litwinovich dubbed Schumaker and Marquis the team’s “two Swiss army knives” and cited them as well as fellow juniors, including Iagnemma and Gabby Baiano, as contributing at a very high level.

In addition to the pole vault, Schumaker competes in the long and triple jumps as well as the sprints. She took the bronze in the 200 dash at the SF Invitational.

Marquis is tied for the area lead in the high jump at 5 feet, 3 inches. She is a key component in the sprint relays and has developed into one of the best 300 hurdlers as well, Litwinovich said.

Sophomore Erica King has performed well for the Lions in the throwing events and freshman Olivia Renk has added depth to the sprinting group. King was third in the javelin and Renk, third in the 100 dash at the SF Invitational.

Despite their lack of numbers — there are 35 girls on the team — Litwinovich described his female athletes as “all high-quality athletes.”

Meanwhile, the SF boys team is senior heavy with Haiden Litwinovich, Adam Helbling, Joey Audia, Joe Henry, Bryce Spolnik and Ryan O’Hair among the leaders.

“We have a really good balance of athletes,” Litwinovich said.

Haiden Litwinovich has become one of the area’s best hurdlers and pole vaulters. He won the pole vault at the SF Invite and took eighth in the 300 hurdles. Helbling leads the Lions in the jumps. He claimed silver in the triple and medaled in the high and long jump at the SF Invitational.

Audia and Henry are sprinters while Spolnik and O’Hair dominate the throwing events. With third-place showings, Audia and Henry both produced personal records of 51.27 and 23.06 in their respective races, the 400 and 200 meter runs, during the SF Invitational. Spolnick won the shot put and secured second in the discus, while O’Hair medaled in both events.

Sophomores Jake Borgesi and Roman Galioto provide the Lions with a strong distance presence.

“These two love to compete and have really bright futures,” Litwinovich said. “They are fun to watch.”

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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