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Sports

Sophomore lifts Connellsville boys

| Monday, May 1, 2006

Lance Straughters missed last year's Fayette County Coaches Association track meet due to an injury, but the Connellsville sophomore made quite an impact this year.

Straughters garnered four gold medals, as well as track MVP honors, to help the Falcons win the boys meet with 99 team points Saturday. Uniontown was second with 92.

Straughters won the 100 meters (10.9 seconds) and the 200 (22.7), and he was a part of the victorious 400 (44.3) and 1,600 (3:35) relay teams. His leg of the 1,600 relay was crucial, as he managed to pass a Laurel Highlands runner after seeing the Mustangs get the jump on Justin Villanueva and Brad Showman to start the race. After Straughters gained the edge for Connellsville, Joe Villanueva finished the win.

"I just tried to let him go ahead and get himself tired," Straughters said of the race's leader. "I was trying to keep a good speed and save my kick."

Joining Straughters for the 400 relay victory were Jarrett McCutcheon, Aaron Hixson and Aaron Meade.

"Lance is an excellent athlete, who, all season long, has done four events in order for his team to be a success. He was hurting after the 200, but he realized the meet was close and ran his spot in the relays," Connellsville coach Jeff Galand said. "The kids are a little beat up right now, but they all came here and really did a great job."

Freshman Rodney Richter was impressive as well, winning the shot put (49 feet, 6 inches) and discus (153-2) to claim field MVP honors. Richter's discus toss met the state qualifying mark.

"I'm pretty excited," Richter said, noting that he was still a bit disappointed in his efforts. "I was trying to hit 155. And I didn't do too great in the shot today."

Other winners for the Falcons were Joe Villanueva in the 800 (2:04) and Arlo Helms, Nick Zurawski, Showman and Justin Villanueva in the 3,200 relay (8:39).

Host Laurel Highlands dominated the girls meet with a team total of 119 points. The Lady Falcons finished fifth with 36. Kayla Barkley was Connellsville's only winner, earning a victory in the discus (87-4), and Heather King took second in the 300 hurdles (50.4).

Laurel Highlands' Breehana Jacobs and Uniontown's Kelsie Herring shared track MVP honors. Brea Belt and Courtney Sanner of Uniontown were field MVPs.

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