Hempfield's Orie sets sights on PIAA gold
Samantha Orie didn't compete for the Hempfield track and field team in 2015.
The then-sophomore was one of the stars of the lacrosse team, and practice schedules and games conflicted.
But Hempfield throwing coach Dave Murray insisted she could compete in both sports in the spring, and Orie is glad she did.
Now a senior, Orie will be competing at the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University, and there is a good chance she returns home with a medal, possibly gold.
Orie has the second-best throw in the state in the shot put, a personal best mark of 43 feet, 6 inches. Berwick junior Payden Montana has the top throw at 44-9. Orie, the WPIAL champion, placed fifth at last year's state meet with a throw of 39-6 1⁄2.
“The practice schedules and games conflicted my sophomore year, but they didn't the past two seasons,” Orie said. “Coach Murray got me out for indoor season during my junior year, and I did well. I knew I could do both.”
Orie also qualified for the state meet in the discus with a throw of 122-0, but her focus is on the shot.
“Competing for the track team helped me get into school,” said Orie, who has an appointment to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. “I always wanted to go to the Naval Academy in middle school, but it wasn't until I started throwing that became reality.”
Orie also had offers the U.S. Military Academy, Dartmouth, Akron and Hillsdale. Her sophomore sister, McKenna, also throws, creating a fun family competition.
At last week's WPIAL championships, Orie's winning throw of 43-6 came on her fifth attempt after watching Penn Hills sophomore Lillia Allen hit a throw of 43-1.
It was a similar way Orie lost the title in 2016, when Shaler's Julia Bernesser edged on her final throw.
“Lillia's throw motivated me,” Orie said. “I'd never thrown more than 43 feet before. This gives me confidence to throw further. I never expected to be this good.”
Other Hempfield athletes looking for medals this weekend include seniors Hayden Fox, Alex Murray and Gabby Holmberg; juniors Molly DeBone, Bailey Traczynski and Eudel Moreta; and sophomore Zach Sattiaux.
Fox is seeded first in the javelin, with a throw of 202-10 from a meet at Shippensburg last month. Fox, also headed to the U.S. Naval Academy, was third in the pole vault (15-9) and fourth in the javelin (197-7) in 2016.
“I really like throwing off the runway at Shippensburg,” Fox said. “I'm hoping to throw further.”
Fox also is getting his groove back in the pole vault. Cramps in his left calf last week prevented him from going higher. He cleared 14-3 to finish fourth and qualify for the state meet.
Holmberg (300 hurdles, triple jump), DeBone (high jump, pole vault), Moreta (100, 400) and Murray (shot put, discus) each are competing in two events.
The meet starts at 9 a.m. Friday with preliminary races on the track and finals in some field events. The meet concludes Saturday with finals in the track events and the remaining field competitions.
The seeded athletes from the WPIAL and District 6 competing at the PIAA championships:
Boys: Greensburg Salem: 3,200 relay (Dylan Binda, Cameron Binda, Mark Brown, Frankie King), seeded third; Norwin: Nicholas Coleman (400), fourth, and 1,600 relay (Coleman, Logan Huss, Gianni Rizzo, Kyle Turcovsky), second; Latrobe: Austin Butler (javelin), third; Penn-Trafford: Nick Wagner (800), third; Knoch: Jordan Geist (shot put, discus), first; North Allegheny: Ayden Owens (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump), first.
Girls: Greensburg Salem: Mila Anderson (800), sixth; Connellsville: Madison Wiltrout (javelin), second; Avonworth: Hunter Robinson (400), first, (100), second, (200), third; West Allegheny: Maddie Salek (800), first; Laurel Highlands: Cassandra Phelan (pole vault), first; Oakland Catholic: Jayla Ellis (long jump), second.
Boys: Winchester Thurston: Tristan Forsythe (1,600), first; Aliquippa 400 relay (Antwan Brooks, Brenden Carter, Marlin Devonshire, Daevon Harris), second; Riverside: Calvin Wetzel (300 hurdles), second; Quaker Valley: Zach Skolnekovich (3,200), first; Avonworth (1,600 relay), second; Valley: Darius Johnson (high jump), second; Hopewell: Dantae Ranieri (long jump), second and Noah Drudy (javelin), second; New Brighton: Anthony Milliner (triple jump), first; Washington: Isaiah Robinson (triple jump), second.
Girls: Bentworth: Brenna Cavanaugh (100 hurdles), first, (long jump), second; Greensburg Central Catholic: Moira O'Shea (1,600), second; Burrell: Nicole Scherer (200 and 400), second, Elizabeth Weimer (shot put), second, (discus), third; Shady Side Academy: Lindsey Grune (high jump), second; Vincentian: Marianne Abdalah (3,200), third; Derry: Kara McDonald (javelin), fourth; Ligonier Valley: Rachel Horrell (triple jump), first.