Five Defend Gold Medals at WPIAL Boys’ Track & Field Individual Championships

Friday, May 19, 2023

Slippery Rock, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) hosted its Boys’ Track & Field Individual Championships in the 2A and 3A classifications on Wednesday at William C. Lennox Track on the campus of Slippery Rock University. There were three repeat champions in the 3A classification, and two successful championship defenses in 2A.

In 3A, Moon senior Jacob Puhalla captured a third gold medal in the 800-meter run, while Hempfield Area junior Peyton Murray won for the second consecutive year in the discus. In the 4×400-meter relay, Butler took home the crown for the second straight year.

The 2A classification saw Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Antonio Votour defend his 110-meter high hurdle title and Waynesburg Central senior Andrew Layton claim a second straight gold in the pole vault.

There were three records broken on the day, as Votour bested a 23-year mark in the 110-meter high hurdles, Butler senior Drew Griffith topped a former teammate in the 1,600-meter run, and Canon-McMillan senior Austyn Winkleblech bested the 100-meter dash record in the preliminary heats.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Boys’ Track & Field Championships will be held on May 26-27 at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University.

3A RECAP [Results]
The 3A classification had a new three-time champion, a multi-event winner, and three successful title defenses.

Moon senior Jacob Puhalla is the newest three-time WPIAL champion, doing so in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:53.38. Puhalla, the 31st student-athlete since 1980 to win three times in an event, bested Central Catholic senior John Paul Byrnes (1:55.45) and Pine-Richland sophomore Ben McLean (1:55.71) to win the gold.

Butler senior Drew Griffith swept the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run, setting a new 3A record in the former. Griffith’s time of 4:09.53 in the 1,600-meter was just 0.42 seconds quicker than former teammate CJ Singleton of last year, as he edged out Ringgold junior Ryan Pajak (4:13.16) and Hampton junior Dale Hall (4:15.97) for the win. In the 3,200-meter, Griffith crossed the line in 9:04.80 to top Pajak (9:05.65) again, with North Allegheny sophomore Jack Bertram (9:24.44) finishing third.

Hempfield Area junior Peyton Murray is now a two-time champion in the discus, defending his crown with a toss of 169 feet, five inches. Penn-Trafford junior Matthew Sarnowski (166-01.00) finished second and Mt. Lebanon senior Andrew Freedy (142-10.00) took third.

In the 4×400-meter relay, the Butler team of sophomore Aaron Stebick, and juniors Drew Knight, Jacob Fallecker, and Landon Lacey finished with a time of 3:25.53 to narrow beat out Mt. Lebanon (3:25.92) and Canon-McMillan (3:26.76) for the school’s second straight gold in the event.

In the 100-meter dash, Canon-McMillan senior Austyn Winkleblech finished his prelim heat with a time of 10.62 seconds – 0.03 seconds faster than the record of 10.65 seconds set by West Mifflin’s Montel Williamson in 2005. New Castle senior Kaevon Gardner edged him at the line in the finals however, as he clocked in at 10.70 seconds to Winkleblech’s 10.73 mark, with Woodland Hills freshman William Smith (10.76) finishing third.

Canon-McMillan sophomore Colton Dean was the winner of the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 21.68 seconds to best Mt. Lebanon seniors Tim Calvetti (21.79) and Connor Rychcik (21.84).

In the 400-meter dash, Mars senior Jacob Thompson crossed the line in 49.76 seconds to take the gold. West Allegheny senior Brennan McClafferty (49.85) finished second and Butler junior Landon Lacey (49.94) took third.

North Allegheny senior Owen Curran won the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 15.07 seconds. Seneca Valley senior Jonathan Price trailed him with a mark of 15.22 seconds, while North Hills sophomore Gamaliel Mogire (15.32) placed third.

Mogire did two spots better in the 300-meter hurdles, winning the gold with a time of 39.52 seconds. Canon-McMillan sophomore Colton Dean (39.55) and Gateway senior Derrick Jones (40.08) finished second and third, respectively.

In the 4×100-meter relay, Mt. Lebanon’s quartet of seniors Tim Calvetti, Rocky Fennell, and Connor Rychcik, and junior Matt Nguyen brought home the gold with a time of 42.14 seconds, besting New Castle (42.53) and Pine-Richland (42.65).

South Fayette’s group of seniors Roman Galioto and Jake Borgesi and juniors Alaa-Eddine Guetari and Tim Danziger were victorious in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 7:57.22. North Allegheny (8:00.87) finished second and Hampton (8:05.64) placed third.

In the long jump, Butler senior Luke Campbell’s leap of 21 feet, 10.5 inches was enough to take the crown. Seneca Valley sophomore Jayden Price (21-09.50) and Canon-McMillan sophomore Colton Dean (21-09.25) took second and third, respectively.

Central Catholic sophomore Xxavier Thomas claimed the triple jump title with a mark of 45 feet, 11 inches, besting Mt. Lebanon junior Luke Cramer (45-09.00) and Seneca Valley senior Jonathan Price (44-11.00).

Mars junior Evan Kurpakus was one of nine student-athletes to clear six feet, one inch in the high jump, winning the event over Butler junior Orein McBridge-Cager and West Allegheny junior Cody Mankowski.

Indiana junior Charles Weber cleared 14 feet, six inches to capture the pole vault title, edging out Norwin sophomore Nicholas Puskar (14-00.00) and North Allegheny senior Ryan Handron (13-06.00).

In the shot put, Connellsville senior Nathan Reese took home the title with a toss of 52 feet, 5.5 inches. Hempfield Area junior Peyton Murray (52-00.50) placed second and Central Valley sophomore Tyler Ondrusek (50-11.00) came in third.

Chartiers Valley senior Derek Armfield was the javelin champion with a throw of 178 feet, eight inches. Pine-Richland sophomore Ryan Beam (173-05.00) finished second and Canon-McMillan junior Louis Liberatore (163-09.00) placed third.

2A RECAP  [Results]
There were two repeat champions, a new championship meet record, and three multi-event winners in the 2A classification.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Antonio Votour claimed his second consecutive 110-meter high hurdles title. Votour did it in style this year, as his time of 14.30 seconds set a new 2A record – breaking the mark of 14.44 seconds set by Center’s Mike Heiser in 2000. Freeport senior Isaac Wetzel (14.72) placed second and Burgettstown senior Sondre Lunde (15.23) took third.

Waynesburg Central senior Andrew Layton won his second straight pole vault title after clearing 14 feet, nine inches. Greensburg Salem senior Cody Rubrecht (14-06.00) finished second, while Greensburg Central junior James Brewer (12-06.00) took third.

Washington junior Dane Asbury was victorious in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Asbury clocked in at 10.75 seconds for the 100-meter, edging classmate Ruben Gordon (10.94) and Greensburg Central Catholic junior Da’sjon Craggette (11.06) In the 200-meter, he crossed the line in 21.86 seconds to best Beaver Falls junior Michael Blackshear (22.62) and Apollo-Ridge senior Jacob Mull (22.76).

Riverview senior Amberson Bauer claimed gold medals in the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run. Bauer ran the 800-meter in 1:57.33 to edge Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Maxwell Hamilton (1:57.79) and Deer Lakes senior Aidan Herman (1:59.08). In the 1,600-meter, Bauer finished in 4:21.43 to top Eden Christian Academy senior Sean Aiken (4:22.30) and Mohawk sophomore Jackson Schoedel (4:26.33).

Carlynton took gold in the 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay. The 4×100-meter team of sophomore Ryan Lewis and seniors Keyshawn McCaskill, Kilian Hoefels, and Lesae Lacks crossed the line in 43.41 seconds – 0.01 quicker than runner-up Beaver Falls. Washington finished in 43.70 seconds to place third. In the 4×400-meter relay, the quartet of junior Jacob Stiffler, sophomore Matthew Mickle, and Lacks and McCaskill posted a time of 3:29.54 to best South Park (3:30.04) and Beaver Falls (3:30.78).

North Catholic junior Alex Brown met the state qualifying standards in the wheelchair 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and shot put. Brown finished the 100-meter in 19.72 seconds, the 200-meter in 37.34 seconds, and posted a toss of 14 feet, eight inches in the shot put – all marks that were better than his marks in last year’s championships.

It was a Beaver Falls one-two finish in the 400-meter dash, with senior Demeitris Taylor’s time of 50.97 seconds narrowly beating out freshman DKarri Williams’ mark of 51.34 seconds. West Mifflin junior Tyrelle Ogletree clocked in at 51.56 seconds to finish third.

Freeport sophomore Michael Braun was the 3,200-meter champion after crossing the line in 9:23.64. Mohawk sophomore Jackson Schoedel (9:24.87) placed second and Hopewell senior Dominic Flitcraft (9:27.15) took third.

In the 300-meter hurdles, Freeport senior Isaac Wetzel claimed the title with a time of 38.90 seconds. Burgettstown senior Sondre Lunde (40.22) finished second and Greensburg Central Catholic junior James Brewer (40.32) took third.

Quaker Valley won the 4×800-meter relay as the team of senior Luke Hotchkiss, freshman River Capek, and sophomores Jackson Pethel and Clark LaLomia clocked in at 8:08.63. Winchester Thurston (8:10.56) finished second and Trinity Christian (8:24.23) placed third.

In the long jump, Hopewell senior Matthew Essey was the champion with a leap of 22 feet, 0.5 inches. Carlynton sophomore Ryan Lewis (21-04.50) placed second and Washington junior Ruben Gordon (21-04.50) took third.

East Allegheny junior Lorenzo Fancher registered a mark of 43 feet, 6.5 inches in the triple jump to claim the gold medal, besting Quaker Valley sophomore Thomas Debelak (42-08.25) and Aliquippa senior Donovan Walker (42-07.00).

Ligonier Valley sophomore John Jablunovsky won the high jump gold medal with a leap of six feet, one inch. South Park junior Jack Ozimek (6-01.00) took second, while Beaver Falls junior Demeitris Taylor, Eden Christian Academy senior Ryan Merrick, and Burgettstown junior Zack Schrockman all tied for third at five feet, 11 inches.

In the shot put, California senior Tanner Pierce was the champion with a toss of 50 feet even, edging out Shenango senior Andrew Demko (49-00.00) and Mohawk senior Tristan Mort (48-05.00).

Laurel senior Brady Cooper claimed the championship in the discus with a throw of 160 feet, 11 inches. Quaker Valley senior Alex MacDonald (159-07.00) took second and Shenango senior Michael Othites (157-05.00) finished third.

Riverside senior Joe Reed earned gold in the javelin after hitting a mark of 180 feet, eight inches. Laurel senior Ryan DiMuccio (154-04.00) and South Allegheny senior Eric Wehrer (153-04.00) finished second and third, respectively.

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