DAVIDSVILLE – There were plenty of upsets among the finishers in many of the events on Wednesday at the WestPAC Track and Field Championships at Conemaugh Township, but it was no big surprise when the final team points were tabulated that the regular-season champion Shade girls and the Portage boys took home the trophies.
It was the first time that either team has ever won a team title.
The Panthers, who set three meet records and won nine events in all, finished with 136 points while 2018 champ Berlin Brothersvalley was second with 121. Meyersdale was third with 88.5 points with Conemaugh Township (68) and Windber (64.5) rounding out the top five.
The Mustangs had 117 points while defending two-time conference champ Windber was second with 93. Conemaugh Township (87), Berlin Brothersvalley (82) and Meyersdale (71) were third through fifth, respectively.
Shade Lorna Speigle was a part of all three of the Panthers records. The senior, who also won the 200 in 27.07, outraced Portage freshman Lauren Shaffer to the line in the 400 in a time of 57.87. Shaffer’s time of 58.18 also bettered the 2017 record of 59.73 held by Speigle.
“This season, my times have not been what I wanted them to be,” Speigle said.
“This meet was really encouraging for me. The time in the 400 was a personal best. I am feeling a lot better now about districts than I was on Tuesday.”
Speigle joined teammates Mary Hostetter, Emily Coddington and Morgan Maurer for a record-setting 400 relay win in 50.34, lowering the time of 51.22 by Shade’s Coddington, Grace Leiford, Maurer and Speigle set at last year’s meet.
The Panthers other record was in the 1600 relay and bettered a 2007 time set by another set of Panthers runners, Marie Buffy, Chloe Mapes, Aimee Thompson and Shanna Topka.
The 2019 Panthers foursome of Hostetter, Steph Emert, Coddington and Speigle ran a 4:14.69 to top the 4:14.9 time of the other Shade squad.
Other Shade winners included Maurer in the 100 (12.94) and high jump (4-10) and Coddington in the 800 (2:28) and 1600 (5:34.45). The Panthers also won the 3200 relay with Rachel Hartman, Emert, Kaylee Sarver and Leiford finishing in 11:00.
Portage’s Tyler Spaid had a hand in all three of the Mustangs wins, sweeping both hurdles races and running the first leg on the victorious 1600 relay. Spaid won the 110 hurdles in 16.59 and the 300’s in 42.87.
“This is definitely something to be proud of because I’ve been working every day trying to get better running the hurdles,” Spaid said. “I felt that the 110’s were a better race for me because I had better technique.”
Spaid joined Preston Rainey, Blake Oravecz and Scott Berardinelli for a winning run of 3:43.25.
On the girls side, Berlin Brothersvalley’s Kara McKenzie swept both hurdles races, running 16.30 in the 100’s and 47.40 in the 300’s.
Mountaineers teammate, senior Seneca Wagner, was an unexpected victor in the discus with a winning toss of 87 feet, 4 inches.
“I never thought that I would win at WestPACs and I got a pr,” said Wagner, who was seeded fourth. “It was a combination of the competition pushing me and it coming from inside myself.”
Conemaugh Township got girls’ victories in the 3200, the long jump and the pole vault.
Jenna Pavlosky had a school record leap of 16-1 in the long jump, Jenny Durica cleared 8-0 in the pole vault and Olivia Roman finished with a time of 13:04.63 in the 3200.
Windber’s Makaela Cominsky won the triple jump (32-9.75), Amber Hixson of Rockwood was the shot put champion (30-6) and Meyersdale’s Lindsey Robertson threw 99-9 for the javelin title.
On the boys side, Windber’s two victories came in the 3200 with Tyler Napora finishing in 10:39.41 and Nick Vasas winning the pole vault, clearing 11-0.
Ethan Williams won a pair of races for Conemaugh Township in the 800 (2:07.42) and the 1600 (4:39). Williams also anchored the Indians 3200 relay joining teammates A.J. Smolen, Brogan Berkey and Evan Brennaman for a winning run of 8:56.
The Indians’ Logan Walerysiak won the high jump (5-8).
Berlin’s Josh Bonadio was a double winner in the long jump (19-0) and the triple jump (41-6.25).
“My triple jump was just a quarter of an inch from my pr (personal record),” Bonadio said. “Long jump was 2 inches short of my pr so I could probably do better.”
Other Mountaineers boys’ winners were Gideon Snyder in the discus (118-5) and Isaac Bittner in the javelin (144-9).
Brandon Frank was a double winner for Blacklick Valley, victorious in both the 100 (11.26) and the 200 (23.25). Frank also ran the first leg of the Vikings winning 400 relay joining Cody Williams, Ethan McCallay and Jude Gdula for a run of 45.21.
Shade’s Braden Adams won the 400 (53.21) and Riley Whitfield of Meyersdale claimed the shot put victory (41-8).