Friday, May 16, 2014

WPIAL Individual Track & Field Championships suspended until Saturday

The sight at the WPIAL Individual Track & Field Championships Thursday was not even ideal for water sports.

Gusty winds swept through Baldwin High School and periods of heavy rain terrorized the athletes. Right before the first delay, competitors in the 400 meter dash sped through the puddles that accumulated on the track with a top-three finisher tripping after reaching the finish line.

WPIAL officials attempted to complete the meet Thursday, but at 7:30 p.m., they made the right decision by suspending the meet until Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Running events will begin at 10:45 a.m.

It was a day that was destined to be cut short. The pole vault was shut down early and while the folks at Baldwin did an admirable job attempting to keep the track runnable, large puddles gathered on the surface and athletes did not hide their disdain for the situation.

In a sport that requires sound footing, the competitors got anything but that. During the first delay, athletes huddled under the media tent - attempting to get warm and waiting to see if their dream of clinching a spot in the state championships would come to fruition.

Even the athletes who earned a trip to Shippensburg voiced their displeasure with the weather. Field events that required a strong grip had to fight through the weather. It was great to see the WPIAL complete the majority of the events, but it's sad to think that a few athletes may have lost their chance at the state championships because of weather and scheduling issues. High school proms forced the WPIAL's hand by not allowing a Friday start.

Times increased and distances decreased as the weather grew worse. It was so bad that when I interviewed athletes following a few events, their teeth were clattering from the cold.

It was a day that many will like to forget, but I do commend the WPIAL for deciding to continue competition Saturday. Anything less would be doing the athletes a disservice who dedicated countless hours to their craft.

The most incredible part of day one was the individuals who were able to set meet records despite the conditions. Wash High senior Alyssa Wise's performance in the 100-meter dash is one that will be talked about for years, Hempfield's Max Adams established himself as the top field athlete in the state and Fort Cherry continued to produce state qualifiers.

Two athletes to look out for Saturday are Wash High's Quorteze Levy in the Class AA 300 Hurdles and South Fayette's Mitch Valko in the 300 Hurdles.

Here is a list of the events, in order, that need to be completed Saturday:

300 Meter Hurdle Finals
800 Meter Run Finals
200 Meter Dash Finals
3200 Meter Run Finals
1600 Meter Really Finals

Girls AA High Jump
Girls AAA High Jump
Bous AAA High Jump
Boys AA High Jump
Girls AA Long Jump
Girls AAA Long Jump
Boys AA Triple Jump
Boys AAA Triple Jump
Boys AAA High Jump
Boys AA High Jump

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