Derry's McDonald turns table on last year's WPIAL track and field near-miss
Derry senior Kara McDonald was within an inch of qualifying for the PIAA track and field championships last year.
She made sure Thursday at the WPIAL championships at Baldwin that she wouldn't head home unhappy this time.
McDonald, who has an appointment to the United States Military Academy, not only won the Class AA javelin, she placed third in the high jump and discus. She will compete in those events at the state meet on May 26-27 at Shippensburg.
“I was happy with the way things turned out,” she said. “Last year, I was disappointed.”
McDonald's winning throw was 137 feet, 9 inches, her best of the season by three inches. South Park sophomore Maura Huwalt was second at 124-4.
McDonald's best throw in the discus was 113-3 and her best high jump was 5-0.
“It was definitely a surprise that I qualified in three events,” McDonald said. “Hopefully, I'll get on the podium at states next week.”
Hempfield senior Hayden Fox captured the WPIAL AAA javelin with a throw of 202-10. Latrobe senior Austin Butler was second with a throw of 197-5 and Uniontown senior John Guseman was third at 192-2.
“It was good to have good competition,” Fox said. “Austin and John threw great. I actually scratched on a 208 throw. All my throws were pretty consistent. I'm hoping for a better performance at states.”
Fox's best throw came at Shippensburg last month.
He also qualified for the states in the pole vault with a height of 14-3, which placed his fourth. A cramp in his left calf on a 14-6 attempt forced him to call it a day.
His teammate, sophomore Zach Sattiaux, finished third with his personal best of 14-6. Baldwin junior Nick Lachut and senior Dave Johnston placed 1-2 in the event. It was the first time since 1992 that Baldwin vaulters finished 1-2.
Hempfield senior Samantha Orie won the Class AAA shot put in a similar fashion that saw her finish second a year ago. Last year, a girl beat Orie on her final throw. Orie returned the favor by defeating Penn Hills sophomore Lillia Allen this year.
Orie's winning toss was 43-6, besting Allen's 41-6. Her throw is the third best in Hempfield history. Orie also qualified for the discus by placing fourth.
McDonald wasn't the only Derry athletes to qualify for the states. Junior Shawn Broadway placed fourth in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles. Teammate Zach Baum placed second in the javelin.
The Derry 1,600-meter relay team qualified with a third-place finish.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior Moira O'Shea and junior Lauren Ritenour captured WPIAL titles. O'Shea won the 1,600 and placed fifth in the 3,200. Ritenour, who placed second last year behind teammate Michelle Karabin, won the pole vault.
Senior Mikayla Bisignani qualified for states in two events: high jump and discus.
“I was pleased with my performance in the 1,600,” O'Shea said. “Things didn't work out well in the 3,200. I was beat after the first lap.”
Penn-Trafford senior Nick Wagner earned medals in the 2015 and '16 WPIAL championship, but he didn't place high enough to reach states.
Wagner left no doubt this season by winning the 800 in a time of 1 minute, 53.69 seconds.
“I changed my training,” Wagner said. “I lifted more and then we did speed work that past couple weeks. My goal at states now is to get on the podium. I'm going to Penn State, and I figure if I'm going there I'm good enough to get on the podium.”
Connellsville senior Madison Wiltrout captured her fourth WPIAL Class AAA javelin title on one throw (154-10). Wiltrout is bothered by irritation in her right elbow. She's working through the pain and hopes to claim her fourth PIAA Class AAA title.
Knoch senior Jordan Geist set a record in the discus with a throw of 208-7. Laurel Highlands senior Cassandra Phelan broke the pole vault record of 12-9, held by Hempfield's Larissa Debich, by a half-inch.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.