Downey breaks 83-year-old Derry long jump record
On a day the Hempfield boys and girls track teams shined again, one of the longest-standing Westmoreland County high school records was broken.
Derry junior Andrew Downey broke his school's long jump mark with a winning leap of 22 4 1⁄2 at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association track and field championships at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium.
The record of 22-4 1⁄8 was set by Harry “Stick” Johnson in 1930. Downey had two jumps of 22-4 1⁄2.
Downey has been building toward this record since his freshman year.
He was in the 20-feet range in 2011 and increased his jump to 21 feet in 2012.
“Latrobe is a fabulous place to jump,” Downey said. “I always get my personal best here.
“My offseason training prepared me for this. I just went after it. I knew I could; it was a matter of doing it.”
Downey had to be at his best to hold off Mt. Pleasant's Cody Monroe, who jumped 22-2, and Hempfield's De'Lorian Day, who leaped 22-1.
Downey also placed third in the high jump and fifth in the triple jump.
“My goal now is to make it to states in one of my events,” Downey said.
Mt. Pleasant freshman Kady Donitzon was a surprise winner in the high jump with a meet-tying record leap of 5-5, which also is a school record.
She edged Southmoreland senior Emily Lessman, who had a school-record leap of 5-3, and Hempfield senior Natalie Shiffler, whose record she tied.
Shiffler, who cleared 5-1, won the javelin (139-8), edging Belle Vernon senior Jessica Slugas by a foot. Shiffler was second in the 110 hurdles.
Donitzon said winning and clearing 5-5 hasn't hit her yet. Her effort was five inches higher than she's gone all season.
“My coach changed my approach,” Donitzon said. “My nerves didn't get to me, and I made a good jump. I started jumping in eighth grade, because I thought it was interesting.”
Runners and throwers expected to put on good performances did so.
Latrobe senior Hanna Green, who has a sore left quad, set a record in the 400 meters (57.05) and anchored the winning 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.
“It wasn't my best day,” Green said. “I've had better times. I didn't do what I needed to do. My goal was to break the record.”
Hempfield junior Max Adams broke out of his slump by winning the shot put and discus. His throw of 186-4 in the discus set a school and meet record.
“I've been waiting for a day like this,” Adams said.
“The weather was nice, and my technique was on. Coach (Dave) Murray has been on me all week, because my marks weren't where they should be. He helped a lot.”
Adams came close to reaching the 200-foot mark, but the discus sailed out of the sector.
De'Lorian Day, who left to play baseball, also had a good day. He won the high jump and triple jump. He was the field MVP, and teammate Chandler Crusan was the track MVP.
Crusan won the 400, finished second in the 200, was fourth in the 100 and was on the winning 1,600 relay team.
The combined MVP was Yough's Aaron Morgan, who finished second in the 400 and high jump.
Hempfield sophomore Maddie Holmberg earned combined MVP honors by winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the long jump.
She also was part of the winning 400-meter relay team with Jasmine Jones, Lauren George and Bridget Guy.
Holmberg set a record in the 300 hurdles.
“I'm excited about my 300 hurdle record,” Holmberg said. “I didn't know I broke a record of a girl (Norwin's Megan Duncan) who got a scholarship to Penn State. I wasn't aware until I was on the podium.”
Jones also won the 100 and 200 by setting new records. She shared track MVP honors with Latrobe's Maddie Mueseler.
“I feel like I was able to get things done,” said Jones, who has been nursing a sore hamstring. “It feels good to be able to run and set records, especially how my leg was. I'm glad the weather was nice and hot.”
Hempfield's Bridget Guy was the field MVP. She won the pole vault and placed second in the long jump.
Other records were set by the Kiski Area's Brent Kennedy (3,200), the Kiski 3,200 relay team and the Hempfield girls 400 relay team.
Hempfield's boys and girls were the team champions, and the Class AA team winners were the Ligonier Valley boys and the Valley girls.