New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
You won’t find “Mohawk” too often on the list of first-place finishers from Saturday’s Tri-County Track and Field Championships.
You will, however, see that name in the same place it’s been for the last dozen years: atop the team standings.
The Lady Warriors claimed their 13th straight championship, not with a predominance of victories — three overall — but rather, with abundance of top-six finishers who helped them amass 151 points to runner-up and host team Shenango’s 102.
Holly Duncan (javelin), Maria Fleck (300 hurdles) and the 1600-meter relay team posted the victories, but Mohawk snared multiple places in 10 of 15 individual events and placed second in both the 400 and 3200 relays.
“When you come to something like this, the depth is important,” Mohawk head coach Dave Bredl said. “You can win those events, but you’ve got to have the people below you.
“The (300) hurdles is a great example. Maria (who also ran the 1600 relay, making her Mohawk’s only double winner) has worked hard this year. She did the 300 hurdles last year and went to the state finals. And she had a meet record today (46.0). But when you put three girls from your school up on the medal stand, as a coach, that’s a great feeling.”
Bredl noted that even after winning 13 straight Tri-County titles, the feeling never gets old.
“Every one of them is exciting, every one you have to work for because every year you start over again and hope the girls come along,” he said. “Each year, the amazing part, is they step it up and fill the gaps of people who have left.”
Duncan’s javelin victory is one such success story.
“She was a distance runner for me, and we were looking for javelin throwers,” Bredl said. “She played softball before and she picked up the javelin last year and things have progressed.
“That goes back to what I said about girls filling these gaps of people that leave. We lost Brooke Shasteen two years ago and we needed that javelin thrower and Holly stepped up and it paid off for her today.”
The day’s biggest winner was Lizzie Manickas of Neshannock, who earned a gold medal in each of the four events she ran. That included the 800, 1600 and 3200 runs, as well as the 3200 relay.
Manickas had held the county’s honor roll marks in both the 1600 and 3200, but her victories in the other two events were especially satisfying.
“I surprised myself a little bit in the 800,” she said. “I was kind of nervous for that, because that’s not my usual event. The (3200 relay), I was actually surprised. I knew that we probably had a chance of winning it but I wasn’t confident in it.”
Manickas’ 800 win also spoiled a perfect day for Riverside’s Jessica Kelosky, who finished second in that event. Otherwise, Kelosky claimed the 100, 200 and 400, as well as the day’s Track MVP and Overall MVP accolades.
Of her three victories, the 400 may have been the sweetest.
“I’ve gotten second for the past two years and it’s just nice to finally get first,” she said. “That was the one race I definitely wanted to win today.”
Saturday’s other triple winner was Angela McCowin of Ellwood City Lincoln, who finished first in the 100 hurdles, the 400 relay and the high jump. She appeared primed to take the 300 hurdles as well until Fleck nipped her at the line in what may have been the day’s most thrilling finish. McCowin’s time of 46.0+ was less than a tenth of a second off Fleck’s 46.0.
“I was going for the record today, but right at the end, she (Fleck) got the record,” McCowin said. “I’m really happy for her. I’m not surprised. Whenever we went against them, she really pushed me hard. She’s very good.”
Nonetheless, McCowin’s time was a personal best.
Saturday’s other highlights included Shenango High’s Allyssa Allwine winning Field MVP honors with a first place in the triple jump and a second in the high jump; and Abbey Eisenbrown of Ellwood City unleashing a winning pole vault effort of 11-foot-3-inches. The mark was a personal, school and meet record.
“I’ve been really close for a while this season, and I kept barely missing it,” said Eisenbrown, whose previous best was 11-0. “I was having penetration problems, which means I’m not getting in the pit far enough, so I was just having a lot of problems with that. Today, everything just sort of clicked and came together real nice.
“I was praying. As I was going up and going over, I was closing my eyes and pulling, ‘Oh come on!’ and when I got over it, everything just like melted. It was like, ‘Oh my goodness, finally!’ because I’ve been working so hard. Now I’ve got to get 11-6. It’s close. I definitely want to get it before WPIAL finals because that’s what I’ll need to go to states.”