New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
One triumphed by razor-thin margins, the other by cushions more comfortable than anything you’re likely to find at Ikea.
Nonetheless, Shenango High’s Ron Davis and Neshannock’s Robbie Kroner both finished as double winners at Saturday’s Tri-County Track and Field Championships at Shenango’s Glenn “Pop” Johnston Stadium. The pair were the only athletes not having “Riverside” attached to their names to triumph in multiple events.
As for the Panthers, meet MVPs Bobby Gould (track, overall) and Austin Sheridan (field) helped give Riverside the team title with 188 points. Gould was a four-time winner, while Sheridan eclipsed his own WPIAL-best discus mark with a toss of 146-11. He also finished second in the shot.
Mohawk was the runner-up in the team standings with 101 points.
FOUR WINS & A RECORD
Davis claimed his victories in both hurdles event. In the 110, where Davis posted a 16.2, the top four places were separated by just four-tenths of a second. In the 300 hurdles, he clocked a 41.6, just one-tenth of a second better than runner-up Marcel Cleckley of Riverside.
Davis had entered the day owning the second-best 300 hurdles time in WPIAL Class AA.
“There’s been fantastic competition here today and that always makes you run better,” Davis said. “I’m just happy I get to come out here and try to perform at my best.
“This is the time you start to push it, get into the competitive mode, trying to qualify for WPIAL finals and states. Lawrence County has some of the best hurdlers in western Pennsylvania; it’s great to be able to run with them. You run so much better when you have this kind of competition.”
Kroner, meanwhile, turned in margins of victory that would have allowed time for a sprint race between first and second place. His 4:40 in the 1600 was 16 seconds better than second, and his 10:47.6 in the 3200 meant it would be another 12.4 ticks before the runner-up crossed the finish line in that event.
In the 1600, the Lancers’ junior set a brisk pace early on and rode it to victory.
“I just wanted to take over right from the beginning,” he said. “I went out a little fast, like 65 seconds for the first lap, which would have been on pace for like a 4:20. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do and get out in front and not get jostled and that kind of stuff.
“In the two-mile, I wanted to go out a little more controlled, because it’s a much longer race. You have a lot of time to make up ground.”
In terms of the upcoming WPIAL qualifiers and championships, Kroner is looking to make up some of that ground now.
“I think I’m going to start focusing more on the two mile for the qualifiers than the mile, which is much more competitive at the state level,” he said. “Basically, throughout the qualifiers and WPIAL championships, I just want to try to get the best times I can in the two-mile.”
Speaking of best times, the day’s lone meet record was a 44.3 turned in by Mohawk’s 400 relay team of Vince Menichino, Austin Main, John Zagotti and Shane McFarland. They erased the previous mark of 44.4 set by Farrell in 1986.
For Riverside, Gould attained both of the goals he’d set for the day: Helping his team capture the title and defending his meet MVP honors. Though he ended up with firsts in the 100, 200 and 400 as well as the 1600 relay, he conceded that none were easy.
“I was shaky on some of the events” he said. “Like the 400, there’s good competition with (Shenango’s) Jake Cochran and (Mohawk’s) Luke Grim (not to mention Gould’s teammate Matt Tedys, whose second-place time was just a tenth of a second off Gould’s).
“They push me really hard. I was a little nervous about them. And Keaton Docchio in the 100, he pushes me pretty hard, too, (with a second-place time of 11.5 to Gould’s 11.3).”
Riverside head coach Chuck Kotuby might have felt a bit nervous as well when Shane Fisher complained of back pain following his first-place triple jump.
“He’s one of our top people,” Kotuby said of Fisher, who entered the day with the WPIAL’s fifth-best marks in the pole vault and triple jump, the third-best in the 110 hurdles and the second-best in the javelin. “He’s been having a back injury. After the triple jump and the hurdles, his back was starting to bother him, so we pulled him out of the shot put and the javelin to save him for the playoffs on Wednesday.
“It’s nice we have people who can step up in a situation like that. Brandon Kemp, who’s only a sophomore, got fifth in the javelin and we had two freshmen place (second and fifth) in the pole vault. We just have a real nice, well-rounded team.”
Though Kotuby’s focus now shifts to this week’s team playoffs and later, the WPIAL qualifiers and championships, he was enjoying the mantle of Tri-County champion.
“This is all your section teams,” he said. “We’ve lost schools over the years, but when you come here, this is your showcase. This is what you want to win.”