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Hempfield track standouts Adams, Guy sign national letters of intent

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 6:51 p.m.

They won't be joining LeBron James in South Beach, but a pair of Hempfield High School track and field athletes will be taking their talents a good bit south of Westmoreland County next fall.

Max Adams is headed to Wake Forest University, and Bridget Guy will attend the University of Virginia. They signed their respective letters of intent last week.

Having been friends for a long time, it was fitting that Adams and Guy were able to share their signing day experience.

“It was really special,” Guy said. “I go way back with (Max). We're good friends.

“I wouldn't have wanted to share signing day with anybody else.”

But before Adams and Guy depart for their ACC destinations, they have some unfinished WPIAL and PIAA business to address in the spring.

Adams is one of the top throwers in the state, but he fell short of PIAA gold in both the discus and the shot put last season. He owns the Hempfield school record in the discus at just over 191 feet, but he's got his sights set on breaking the school mark in the shot put this season.

“I want to win the state title in both events,” Adams said. “I want to throw 200 feet in discus and break the school shot put record.”

Adams — the defending WPIAL Class AAA discus champion — is working toward his goals by improving his strength in the weight room and refining his technique with the help of throwing coach Dave Murray.

“He works very hard,” Murray said. “He has a great combination of strength and speed.”

Adams is benching close to 400 pounds and squatting more than 550, but his ability to throw at an elite level is as much about technique as it is about brute strength, according to Murray.

“We spend a lot of time working on his technique,” Murray said. “We throw first for technique, then we'll do some long throws at the end of practice.”

As a junior, Guy was a key member of the Spartan squad that captured both the WPIAL and PIAA team titles in Class AAA last season. She finished third in both the pole vault and long jump at the WPIAL individual championships in 2013.

This year, Guy is hoping for another taste of team success while also stepping up her individual performance.

“Last year, we had a pretty big season,” Guy said. “Hopefully, we can come out on top as state champions again and end on a big note.”

Guy's primary goal for the spring is to clear 13 feet in the pole vault, a height that she's been able to eclipse in practice but has yet to clear in a meet.

“I just have to relax and be confident,” Guy said. “You have to treat it like any other jump.

“You can't try to change things or speed things up. That's when things start going wrong.”

In addition to the pole vault, Guy will compete in the long jump and run sprint relays for the Spartans again this season.

She also can run hurdles if needed, though she primarily does that during the indoor season.

Guy believes her ability to focus on one event at a time — despite being involved in so many different events during the course of a meet — is what makes her so successful.

“I can handle the pressure of going from one event to the next,” Guy said. “I can have a bad meet in one event and still come out on top in other events.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

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