New Castle News

May 8, 2013

WPIAL Class AA Qualifier: Check out our photo gallery and story as local athletes shine

Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

PITTSBURGH — Shenango High track and field star Amanda Herb is looking to make waves at the WPIAL Championships.

Herb shined during the WPIAL Class AA Qualifier at Shady Side Academy yesterday, taking home the top spot in the shot put (37-9) and discus (100-9).

The top eight participants in each event move on to the championship meet set for 1 p.m. May 16 at Baldwin High. Lawrence County will send 47 individual event competitors and 15 relay teams to the big show.  

“It was about what I expected,” Herb said of her performance. “I like to come in with the same mindset (to win).”

Qualifying for the championship is nothing new for Herb, as she has made the finals three years running.

Herb will have several Lady Wildcats’ teammates joining her. Nicole Watkins earned fifth in the 400 and Allie Cardella took sixth in the 300 hurdles.

Amanda’s sister, Sarah Herb, grabbed sixth in the shot put, third in the javelin and seventh in the discus. Paige Cassella wasn’t too far behind in seventh in the shot put and eighth in the discus.

The Lady Wildcats’ Corie Palmer was flying high after tying for the top spot in the pole vault at 8-6.  

Allyssa Allwine earned qualifying efforts in the high jump (tied for first), long jump (seventh) and triple jump (second).

Shenango also will have teans participating in the 1600 relay (second) and 3200 relay (seventh).


The Lady Warriors will be well represented in the hurdles next week.

Maria Fleck is expected to fare well after a fourth-place showing in the 100 hurdles, third in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 400 relay. She won’t be doing it without a few battle scars, as she went away from the day with bloody knees.

“I continuously kept hitting hurdles,” she said, staring at her crimson-marked kneecap. “It’s been reopened like 10 times.”

Teammate Katherine Harding climbed into both hurdle matchups with two eighth-place runs. While some runners will go easy on their qualifying runs, saving their best performance for next week, Harding took no such approach.

“For me it’s an all-out (effort),” she said. “Before I ran the 300 hurdles, I thought I might as well give 100 percent because this may be my last high school 300 hurdles. So, why not just give it all?”

Harding will attend Westminster College next year and is expected to be a member of the track and field team.      

Nicole Shirilla placed seventh in the 100 hurdles to also qualify for Mohawk.

Breyona Wagner clinched a title shot in the 1600 (eighth) while Paige Ruby earned a place in the shot put (eighth), Holly Duncan in the javelin (seventh), McKenzie Stelter in the pole vault (tied for first) and triple jump (fifth), Kim Masone in the pole vault (tied for first) and Paige Crist in the triple jump (eighth) .

The Lady Warriors also earned spots in the 400 relay (fourth), 1600 relay (fifth) and 3200 relay (third).


In other girls action, Neshannock’s Anna Lisa Frengel (discus, shot put), Lizzie Manickas (3200), Sarah Davis (discus), 3200 relay; Union’s Janis McGill (800), Christina Noble (javelin); and Laurel’s Becca Jones. also are moving on.


Mohawk’s Lucas Grim opened plenty of eyes in the 800 with a time of 1:57.98 — and he made it look easy.

“I knew there was competition there,” he said. “I just got off to a quick start and didn’t want to give it up, so I just kept running.”

Grim outpaced the next closest competitor, Laurel’s Ethan Wilson, by more than three seconds.

The Warriors again will be represented well in the championship events after an particularly strong performance on the track.

Mohawk’s 400 relay squad of Austin Main, Vince Menichino, Shane McFarland and John Zagotti took first in the event with a time of 44.34. The Warriors edged Ellwood City by less than a second. Mohawk also will be sending relay teams in the 1600 (sixth) and 3200 (fourth).

“I knew it was going to close between us and Ellwood,” Main said. “There was nothing for sure. It all depends on the handoffs and how everything goes.”

What makes the feat even more impressive is the fact, with the exception of Zagotti, it was the first year the members of the 400 team have been a part of the track team.


The track is like a second home for Keaton Docchio.

The Wolverines standout will have four events on his schedule next week.

He finished fourth in the 100, second in the 110 hurdles, eighth in the long jump and was a member of the 400 relay team. The hard work was worth it for Docchio, who doubled the events he qualified in from a year ago.

“I did just a lot of lifting in the offseason and a lot of jump stretch and stuff like that. I think it improved my quickness,” he said. “You just never give up on what you want to do. If you have a goal, just stay with it. It’s tough to do sometimes, but through it all, it’s the main thing you got it do.”


For the boys, Neshannock’s Ernie Burkes (100), John Conglose (200), Robbie Kroner (3200), Eli Owens (110 hurdles), 400 relay, Stephen Jeffries (shot put), Caleb Holes (pole vault); Shenango’s Jake Cochran (400), Ron Davis (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), 1600 relay, Matt Pherson (shot put), Vince Albertini (javelin); Union’s Eli Williams (400), 400 relay, 1600 relay, Curtis Caughey (discus); Ellwood City’s Kevin Court (300 hurdles), Logan Falesnik (shot put); Laurel’s Damian Steele (discus), Clint Glenn (800), Joey Johnson (high jump), Josh Finley (high jump), Alex Brooks (high jump), James Steele (triple jump); Mohawk’s Travis Giardina (shot put), Zach Shasteen (pole vault), Jonathan Grim (triple jump) all will be in action next week.