Preview: Bishop Canevin, Carlynton form co-op for track and field; Char Valley boys look to defend section title
The big change for high school track and field in the Carnegie area is Carlynton and Bishop Canevin forming a co-op. It’s the first time the neighboring schools have combined for track and field, though they are no strangers to joining forces.
“We had talked about it for year,” Carlynton coach and athletic director Nate Milsom said. “… We co-op with them in tennis, swimming and wrestling. We have a pretty good relationship with them even though they are one of our big rivals.”
The co-op will be under the Carlynton banner, and Milsom said he has 93 athletes (55 girls and 38 boys). With many new competitors from his school plus the addition of the Bishop Canevin athletes, Milsom said it might take a couple of meets before he knows where everyone fits.
There are a few known commodities, however.
On the girls side, Crusaders Danielle Deazy, Sarah Barron and Lizzy Volz add depth in the distance and middle distance events. They will complement Carlynton sprinters Katie Kozy and Annie Colantonio.
The Cougars also got an infusion of athleticism from Lexi Jones, a hockey player in her first year of track and field who is expected to compete in sprints, as well as basketball players Jada Lee and Angelicah Diallo. In the field, thrower Maddie Samangy and jumper Savannah Sevacko lead the way.
For the boys, Desmond Corrado will be one of the top athletes. A distance runner, he was a PIAA qualifier in cross country after placing eighth in the WPIAL Class A meet. He will have an able sidekick in Bishop Canevin’s Dante DeFrank, who placed 38th in the WPIAL cross country meet and just missed a spot in states.
Matt Hilarzewski is expected to run sprints and middle distances, and junior DeQuay Canton — who, Milsom said, set school track and field records in junior high — is out for varsity for the first time.
The team also added several football players, urged to compete by new coach Rich Piccinini.
“It’s a section with teams like South Park, which has more than 100 kids every year,” Milsom said. “But (the co-op) gives us a chance to compete.”
Chartiers Valley, meanwhile, will look to defend its boys section title and go a step further in the playoffs after just missing a spot in the WPIAL team finals.
“I think we have enough talent,” coach Lori Poe said. “We have some holes to fill, but I think they definitely will contend for the section title.”
The biggest gap will be in the distance races, which lost Czar Tarr to graduation. Shorya Choli will try to pick up the slack.
Otherwise, the Colts are stacked with experience: Elias Zajicek (middle distance), Marcello Legister (110 hurdles), Hunter Hare (300 hurdles), Abdul Brooks (pole vault), Caleb Nelson (jumps), Doug Brady (throws) and Martiese Davis (triple jump).
Poe also is expecting football player Connor Barrett to contribute.
The girls lack the same experience and are smaller in numbers, but they have athletes who are expected to qualify for WPIALs. Tops among them is distance runner Kiki Thornton, a two-time PIAA cross country qualifier.
Alyssa Dunn qualified for the WPIALs in the indoor 800 over the winter, and Honora Armfield provides depth at middle distance.
Carlea Webb, who will run at Cal (Pa.) next season, will key the sprints. Also expected to contribute are Gabby Bolus (throws), Mara Hartoyo (pole vault) and Samantha Shimko (jumps, hurdles).
“The numbers are better,” Poe said about her girls team. “We’re up a little bit. We had a good freshman class last year, and we have a decent freshman class this year.”
Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .