Freshman Natalie Lape helped propel the Mohawk High girls track and field team to a championship Saturday.
Lape won three events to guide the Lady Warriors to the team championship in the Tri-County Track and Field Championships. The event was held at Shenango High.
Lape won the 800 (2:26.24) and 1600 (5:23.55), while competing on the victorious 3200 relay team (10:20.38) in capturing the overall girls MVP award as well as the girls track MVP award.
“I thought she did a great job,” Mohawk girls track coach Cameron Schirmer said. “She ran one of her best times (in the 1600), and anchoring the 3200 relay is really good for her, too; she runs that one hard.
“As a freshman, to step up like that and run that well like that, is pretty impressive.”
Lape didn’t have a chance last year to prepare for her freshman season as COVID-19 shut down spring sports.
“We knew what she did in seventh grade,” Schirmer said of her 2019 season. “We saw what she did in cross country (as a freshman). It made us pretty excited for the track events.
“She, along with a lot of our girls, were still playing basketball when we started the season. She just has that extra gear.”
The Lady Warriors won 11 of the 18 overall events to claim the team title. Mohawk finished with 194 points, while Shenango took second with 139 markers.
“The younger girls are really stepping up for us and that’s really important,” Schirmer said. “The girls really do deserve all the credit.
“Shenango is a very good team,” Schirmer said. “When we see Shenango on the schedule, you have to prep the girls for a good and competitive meet.
“They have quite a bit of talent on that team. Our girls just know when you go against Shenango you have to be ready to compete.”
Mohawk senior Hannah McDanel won four events — 100 (12.50), 200 (25.95), 400 relay (51.34), 1600 relay (4:18.91). Teammate and fellow senior Nadia Lape chipped in with three wins — 400 relay, 1600 relay, triple jump (35-4 1/2). McDanel will run track at Robert Morris, while Nadia Lape will compete in track at Army.
“Nadia Lape and Hannah McDanel were right there with the points, too,” Schirmer said. “Winning four events speaks volumes for Hannah. Hannah and Nadia have done a really good job this year.”
The Lady Wildcats’ Emma Callahan won the field MVP. She claimed the shot put with a meet-record toss of 46-9.
“She was really due for a big throw,” Shenango girls track coach John Montgomery said. “She’s starting to peak at the right time.”
Montgomery was pleased with how his team competed.
“We loaded up the events for our girls,” Montgomery said. “Mohawk is very loaded; they have a very good team.
“When we lost the section to them, our goal changed from winning the section to winning the Tri-County. That was the new goal. It was an exciting day. It was nice to see the girls compete well.”
Riverside finished third in the girls standings at 101 points, while Neshannock was fourth with 51 tallies. Laurel (32), Ellwood City Lincoln (15), Laurel (5) and Union (4) also competed.
Riverside’s boys held on to win the team championship. The Panthers posted 145 markers and Shenango took second with 135. Laurel finished third with 90 points and Mohawk was fourth with 89. Ellwood City Lincoln (37), Neshannock (34) and Union (12) also participated.
“The guys performed hard,” Shenango boys track coach Chris Vecenie said. “The biggest thing is we got out of there healthy.
“It was a good day and I was proud of the guys.”
Riverside won nine events overall, including three individual events by Colby Belczyk. Belczyk won four events total, competing on the victorious 3200 relay squad.
Belczyk was named the boys track MVP and the boys overall MVP.
“Riverside is a very strong program,” Vecenie said. “They have two very strong middle distance runners.
“They always have strong hurdlers. It’s a respectful rivalry between Riverside and Shenango.”
The Spartans’ Mitch Miles won the shot put (52-1) and the discus (147-7). It capped off a strong week for Miles, who won both events at Wednesday’s MAC meet as well.
“He had a nice week,” Laurel boys coach Brian Cooper said. “Our section has some big throwers in it.
“To be on top in both meets says what type of athlete he is. His last throw won him the discus. He’s so explosive and strong and a great athlete. It takes great mental work as well.”
Laurel’s Jamie McVicker captured the field MVP. McVicker took second in the long jump (19-2 1/2), third in the triple jump (39-1 1/4), fourth in the pole vault (11-9) and second in the javelin (146-8).
“He’s had quite a year as well,” Cooper said of McVicker. “He had a little bit of an off day in the pole vault.
“His performance Saturday shows the type of athlete he is. We have big goals for him.”
Said Cooper of his team’s third-place effort, “We’re in a very tough section, with Shenango and Riverside. For us to finish third at the Tri-County says a lot about the direction we’re going.”
Colton Ferrucci (javelin, 154-0) and Matt Chapnell (high jump, 5-11) each won an individual event for Shenango. The Wildcats won the 400 relay (46.47) and the 1600 relay (3:40.98).