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Gateway squads compete at Red, White and Blue Invitational

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Weather conditions were nearly ideal for the annual running of the big Red, White and Blue Invitational on Saturday morning at Pittsburgh's Schenley Park.

Gateway runners found themselves in several races, as there were races at two varsity levels, as well as events for junior varsity and freshmen competitors.

The Gateway girls entered the varsity A race, designated for the larger schools and advanced teams from smaller schools, and placed 23rd in the team standings.

Sophomore Maria Reynolds led the way for the Gators by placing 106th overall in a time of 21:41.

Senior Tameka Williams (114th), sophomore Katie Heasley (115th), senior Tamisha Williams (132nd) and junior Ricki Kapp (164th) rounded out the Gateway varsity contingent.

“The girls got out too slow in the first half mile and couldn't really get going on the tight course because they were jammed in behind the masses,” Gateway head coach Tom LaBuff said.

“They ran fairly well but probably a minute slower than I anticipated. They understand the tactical mistake they made, and hopefully, they will learn from it.”

Gators runner Laura Trozzo ran in the freshman girls race, and she placed 31st with a time of 23:22.

The Gateway boys squad — youthful with three sophomores and three freshmen — ran the JV and freshman races and had positive results.

Sophomore Liam Connolly placed first overall in the JV race with a time of 17:06.

He was 12 seconds better than Norman Stark, a junior from Erie Cathedral Prep.

North Allegheny placed seven runners in the top 11, but the Gators had three in the top 12.

Sophomore Jose Figueroa followed Connolly for Gateway, and he placed eighth with a time of 17:52, while sophomore Trey Kubic took 11th in a time of 17:57.

“I felt that they would get very good competition (in the JV race) and have an opportunity to build their confidence, rather than be swallowed up in the 500-body field of the varsity race where they might have run well but felt that they had not,” LaBuff said.

Runners for Gateway also entered the freshman race, and Jackson Perry paced the Gators with a 35th-place finish in a time of 19:24.

Freshman Cole D'Alicandro also competed, and he took 61st (20:22), while Samuel Rivera came in 147th (25:56).

In between the Aug. 31 Gateway Invitational and Saturday's Red, White and Blue event, the Gators squads hosted Altoona and Latrobe in a tri-meet at Boyce Park.

Tamisha and Tameka Williams finished second and third, respectively, as Gateway swept Altoona, 28-29, and Latrobe, 24-33.

Tamisha ran to a time of 23:46, three seconds behind the race winner, while Tameka ran the course in a time of 24:03.

Also in the top 10 for Gateway was Reynolds (sixth) and Heasley (seventh).

The Gators boys lost to Altoona, 16-43, and Latrobe, 26-31.

Altoona had the top three finishers, as well as the fifth-place finisher.

Connolly fronted the Gateway pack in seventh (19:05), while Kubic took ninth (19:08), and Figueroa was 10th (19:36).

Gateway will be in action Saturday at the Spartan Invitational in Boardman, Ohio.

The races are slated to begin at noon.

A nonsection dual meet with Franklin Regional at Shields Field in Delmont was slated for Tuesday, and the meet ended past the deadline for this week's edition.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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