Sewickley Academy's Thorpe adjusting to college racing
Sewickley Academy graduate Summer Thorpe has had her ups and downs as a freshman on the Notre Dame women's track team.
Irish coach Alan Turner said Thorpe has shown glimpses of putting up fast times, but lacks consistency.
Thorpe, 18, of Ohio Township, was in the 1,600-meter relay that came in eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference indoor championship meet (3 minutes, 40.91 seconds). She placed 26th in the 60 hurdles (8.74) and also saw action indoors in the 200 dash.
Outdoors, Thorpe has raced in the 100 hurdles and 1,600 and 400 relays. She set a personal best in the 100 hurdles (13.86) in early April in the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State.
Thorpe is reigning WPIAL and PIAA Class AA champion in the girls 100 hurdles and set the WPIAL record in the girls 300 hurdles last season.
Turner said Thorpe has stepped up to replace an injured runner in the two relays.
“Summer is a talented, young hurdler, who still has a few technical areas of her sprinting and hurdling that can certainly be improved on,” Turner said, adding work is being done on her start, lead arm and trail leg and in the weight room. “She, like the other freshman hurdlers I have this season, have been thrown in the fire, so to speak.
“Our competition schedule and the depth in the 60 (meter) and 100 (hurdles) in the ACC (are) very tough.”
Thorpe, who is 5-foot-6, said her biggest adjustment has been the 60 hurdles.
“In (high school), I never ran indoor track, so it was my first season ever running them,” she said. “The 60-meter hurdles were more difficult than the 100-meter hurdles because the race really highlighted one of my biggest struggles — getting a good start out (of) the blocks.
“With a much shorter race, I have no time to make up for it later in the race.”
Thorpe trusts Turner to take her to the next level.
“I am extremely blessed to have my amazing teammates and such a skilled coach,” she said.
Thorpe hopes to make it to the NCAA East Preliminary meet May 25-27 at Kentucky.
“Summer has all the tools to be a very good D1 hurdler,” said Turner, referring to her size, agility and speed.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.