Hempfield girls, NA boys maintain reign as WPIAL track and field champions
When you talk WPIAL track and field dominance over the past five years, you'll see Hempfield and North Allegheny at the top of the list.
As the Hempfield girls were accepting their fifth consecutive Class AAA team title Monday at Baldwin, the members held up their hands signifying the five titles and sixth in school history.
North Allegheny's boys must wait a year to add “one for the thumb.”
The teams won because of balance and getting points from unusual sources.
Seniors Rianna Miedel and Gina Cuneo and juniors Sam Orie and Gabby Holmberg were just some of the girls to help Hempfield defeat Butler (85-65), Mt. Lebanon (92-58) and Seneca Valley (98-52). Butler finished as the runner-up.
Hempfield coach Ron Colland said it has been a remarkable run for both the boys and girls. The boys ended up in third place behind NA and Seneca Valley.
“We're very proud of the track and field program at the school,” Colland said. “We've been very blessed. We have some dedicated athletes and some of the best coaches in the state.
“The girls have sacrificed a lot over the years. It's a team thing.”
Hempfield's field events were a big reason the team won. Miedel had a personal record in the 400 meters, Orie won the shot put and discus, Cuneo had a personal record in the jumps and Holmberg scored points in the field and sprints.
“We're like a family,” Miedel said. “We're always pulling for each other, and it's a team effort.”
Hempfield tied the North Allegheny girls (2000-04) for mostconsecutive titles.
The NA boys breezed to their fourth straight title by defeating Seneca Valley (91-59), Hempfield (82-68) and Norwin (125-25). Seneca Valley edged Hempfield (78-72) for second.
North Allegheny has won 12 boys titles, and this is the second time it has won four consecutive.
“I'm so proud of this group,” NA coach John Neff said. “You have to win as a team, and we got points from some unexpected spots. Everyone pitched in.
“We have guys who wait their turn. They buy into the program and are ready to contribute after someone graduates.”
Neff cited Ayden Owens for winning three events (300 hurdles, 100 and 200), Andrew Manz for winning the javelin and Nick Vuono for scoring unexpected points in the shot put.
Senior Jake Stupak said NA has great coaches who prepare the team.
“Being on four WPIAL championship teams is amazing,” Stupak said. “It took a lot of hard work.”
The Class AA girls title went to Beaver for the second consecutive year. Beaver defeated South Park (89-61), Freeport (90-60), Greensburg Central Catholic (90-60), Shenango (86.5-63.5) and Burrell (104-46). Shenango was the runner-up.
“It was a little tougher this year,” Beaver coach Jim Gallagher said. “We had a lot of newcomers step up and fill holes. They are ready to come back next year and go after another title.”
Seniors Rachel O'Neil in the distance races and Emily Ledbetter in the sprints helped carry to the Bobcats to the win.
The Class AA boys title went to Freeport, which defeated Freedom (89-61), Washington (94-56) and South Park (92-58). Washington edged Freedom (77-73) and South Park (78-72) for second place.