16 Speedsters seek national titles
Sophie Yantko broke her foot at basketball camp, two days before the Three Rivers Association Championship.
Wearing a boot, the Belle Vernon Area sophomore threw the javelin without the benefit of a run-up and qualified for the regional championships.
By the regional championships, as her foot began to heal, she was able to take a few running steps before releasing the javelin. Her fourth-place finish earned Yantko a spot at the nationals.
Yantko is one of a club record 16 Valley Speedsters Track Club athletes who qualified for the National Championships beginning Monday in Greensboro, N.C., The event runs through Sunday.
Athletes that qualified for the national meet are
• Paige Pallotta, 8, Belle Vernon, long jump.
• Corinn Brewer, 9, Rostraver Township, high jump.
• Patrick Brewer, 11, Rostraver Township, pentathlon and high jump.
• Isaiah Melvin, 11, Uniontown, 80 meter hurdles and long jump.
• Ryan Marek, 12, Rostraver Township, 80 meter hurdles.
• Aiden Brewer, 13, Rostraver Township, pole vault.
• Brenna Cavanaugh, 13, Bentleyville, pentathlon and long jump.
• A.J. Cumer, 13, Jefferson, 3000 meter race walk.
• Olivia Zambruno, 14, Mt. Pleasant, triple jump and high jump.
• Brenden Small, 14, Donora, 100 meter dash.
• Hunter Basista, 14, Lynnwood, high jump.
• Sophie Yantko, 14, Rostraver Township, javelin.
• Michelle Karabin, 15, Ruffsdale, pole vault.
• Gianna Gaul, 16, Rostraver Township, discus.
• Matt Brown, 16, Perryopolis, javelin.
• Helen Karabin, 17, Ruffsdale, high jump.
The Valley Speedsters Track Club consists of athletes primarily from the Mon Valley, but includes athletes from as far away as Washington, Uniontown, and Ligonier.
The team is coached by Mike and Judy Brewer.
Mike Brewer grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and ran in high school and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
His wife, Judy, ran in high school, but turned down a scholarship offer to Brown University in order to attend the University of Pittsburgh. She ran the 400 and 800 meters and competed in the high jump.
The team practices three times a week at Charleroi Area High School. Members do one hour of conditioning and one hour of field events.
“The number of people qualifying for nationals validates all of the hard work and training these kids put into it,” Mike Brewer said.
The Valley Speedsters have doubled in size each year, from 30 members in 2009, to 60 by 2011, to 100 athletes this year.
The athletes compete in the following age categories: 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18.
“This season, we really had an extremely balanced team,” Mike Brewer said. “We had an equal number of people qualify in running and field events.”
The regular season involves six meets around the Pittsburgh region, such as Penn Hills, Bethel Park and Hempfield Township. That's followed by three championship series meets.
Three Rivers Association Championship involves a region that stretches from Erie to West Virginia to central Pennsylvania.
The top six qualify for regionals. Thirty-three athletes qualified and participated in the Region 2 Championships from July 11 to July 14 in Jamestown, N.Y., which was more than any other track club in the Three Rivers Association of Western Pennsylvania. That meet involved athletes from New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
The top five move on to the nationals.
The season extends from mid-April until the USATF Junior Olympics Nationals Championships at the end of July.
All five of the Brewers' children are old enough to compete.
The Valley Speedsters became like family as well.
“The kids developed some real close friendships, which helped out with trying times,” Mike Brewer said. “They pushed each other and helped each other and when someone would fall, they picked them back up.”
For more information about joining the Valley Speedsters Track Club in 2014, contact head coach Mike Brewer at email@example.com.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Trial to begin Monday in Rostraver home invasion
- Man with Donora roots promoted to Air Force colonel
- California, Pa. native John Messana hit high notes in opera, culinary roles
- Ringgold students earn Westinghouse science honor
- Carroll woman accused of prescription drug scheme
- Many in Mon Valley made news as area prepared for past holidays
- Monessen break-ins under investigation
- It’s time to take a serious look at investments
- River traffic resumes on Mon
- Donora man shot Sunday in Monessen