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Latrobe runner competes at indoor national meet

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Submitted

Every year, the best high school indoor track athletes from the U.S. and Canada gather to compete against each other in a season-ending national contest.

Last weekend, Latrobe junior Maddie Mueseler was among the elite few to participate in the 2014 New Balance Nationals Indoor championships held at the Armory in New York City.

Mueseler made the trip to New York to show off her skills in the 60-meter dash. Her time of 8.03 seconds in the event was good for 32nd overall in the exclusive competition.

Despite being a little disappointed that she did not run her best time, Mueseler was excited and humbled by the opportunity to compete against the best that her sport has to offer.

“It was really fun,” Mueseler said. “It was nerve-wracking, just knowing that you are competing against the best competition in the nation. But it was definitely a great experience.”

Although she is clearly among the cream of the crop when it comes to the 60-meter dash, Latrobe coach Tony Mehalic said the sprinting event was not even on her radar coming into this season.

“This year she wasn't even trying to qualify for the 60-meter dash. There are other events that we know she is really great at, but because of the weather and heating issues, a lot of our scheduled indoor events were cancelled this winter. So with a shortened season and with less events, we decided for her to give the 60-meter dash a try,” Mehalic said.

“The first time she ran it this season, she qualified for states. Then she ran a 7.92 at states, her career best, and qualified for nationals.”

The multi-talented Latrobe junior, who was a member of last year's WPIAL outdoor gold medal 1,600-meter relay team and placed third in the 300-meter hurdles, also stars on the soccer field for the Wildcats. She believes that her training as a soccer player improves her abilities and endurance as a track and field athlete.

“Her soccer background helps her out,” Mehalic said. “She has a lot of strength and explosiveness, and soccer really helps bring out her endurance.”

Still, qualifying for the indoor track and field national event was not enough to quench Mueseler's thirst for competition. For next season, Mueseler has her sights set on reaching nationals again, focusing on the 400-meter dash, the 60-meter dash, the 60-meter hurdles and possibly even the indoor pentathlon.

“The first thing she said when her event was over is that she wants to come back for multiple events next year,” Mehalic said. “Without a doubt, I think she is capable of it.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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