Norwin track and field teams produce mixed results in WPIAL playoffs

Last year, both the boys’ and girls’ teams made their way to the WPIAL Team Finals. This year, the girls made it back, but the boys fell just short.


Lee Schaeffer

5. Track and Field is a great sport and is really fun to go to the meets as an athlete. I know from personal experience, and it’s awesome being out late at these huge invitationals with your friends, and meeting a bunch of other athletes like yourself. The big issue is that is from the perspective of an athlete in stead of a spectator in the stands. No offense, but as exciting as it is to watch some races at the end of the day it’s people running in circles or throwing heavy objects.

Oliver Hinson, President - Editor-in-chief

After a regular season ripe with success, Norwin Track and Field was twelve points away from carrying both of their teams back to the WPIAL Team Finals.

The Knights competed at the WPIAL semifinals on May 4 at home — the boys faced Franklin Regional and Connellsville, who they beat handily, as well as Butler, who narrowly beat them, 81-69.

“I think the boys’ team performed pretty admirably,” head coach Timothy Van Horn said. “We had many of our athletes step up when their number was called. There are always things that you can look back on and say that we could have performed better in or done differently, but the effort was there from everyone.”

Meanwhile, the girls enjoyed two easy wins versus Laurel Highlands and Franklin Regional. The Knights took first place in 12 of the 17 events contested, and they swept the 800 meter run, 1600 meter run and 3200 meter run. 

Although the meet produced mixed results, it still served to show that on both sides, the Knights are one of the best teams in the WPIAL.

This season, the boys’ and girls’ teams have put together some impressive performances. Both won section championships, clinching their titles on April 25 at home vs. Hempfield Area. 

On April 27, they swept the AAA team titles at the Centennial Westmoreland Track and Field Championships. The boys dominated the meet, scoring 149 points and beating runner-up Hempfield Area by over 80 points. Senior Trey Huha won the 200 meter dash in a time of 22.98 seconds, his second invitational win of the season in the event. He was joined by several other individual champions: Isaiah Francis in the 800 meter run, Ryan Schiller in the 110 meter hurdles, Isaiah Kline in the high jump, Gage Mamie in the triple jump and Nicholas Puskar in the pole vault, as well as the 4×100 meter relay and 4×800 meter relay teams.

The boys’ team holds up their trophy after winning the WCCA championship on April 27.

“It felt great [to win],” Huha said. “We’re all really coming together as a team. We all have great chemistry, and it’s just gonna go up from here.”

The girls’ team had a much closer meet, barely beating out Hempfield Area 143-137. Individual champions included Rosemary Gaydos in the 3200 meter run, Brandi Brozeski in the 100 meter hurdles, Ashley Laukus in the high jump, Nataiah Robertson-Dutrieuille in the long jump and Hannah Shaw in the pole vault.

“[The team atmosphere] was really good,” Laukus said. “We were all doing our best to support every event. [Jumpers] were going to support throwers, throwers were going to support runners. That was the longest I’ve ever stayed at a meet. The podium at the end wasn’t just a few people, it was our entire team.”

One of the more interesting intricacies of the Knights’ season has been the difference in the makeups of the teams. On the girls’ side, veterans rule, as the top marks in a majority of the events are held by the team’s talented seniors, including Laukus, Robertson, Shaw, sprinter Jocelyn Boyd, and thrower Savannah Schneck. However, the team is certainly not in any danger once this season is over — many young talents, such as Brozeski, sprinter/hurdler Autumn Stoken, and throwers Alexis Heller and Lanyia Davis are ready to pick up the slack.

Up-and-coming superstars, though, are heavily prevalent on the boys’ side, as evidenced by the Knights’ stellar showing in the Norwin 9th and 10th Grade Invitational on May 6. A staggering eight Norwin male athletes, as well as the boys’ 4×100, 4×400, and 4×800 meter relay teams, took home gold medals from the meet, with Puskar (pole vault), Luke Simpson (800 meter run) and Mario Breauchy (3200 meter run) breaking the meet records for their respective events.

Nick Puskar celebrates after clearing 14 feet, 5 inches in the pole vault, breaking the previous meet record at the Norwin 9/10 Invitational. (Lee Schaeffer)

Next up for the Knights is the WPIAL Team Finals on Tuesday, May 9 at West Mifflin. The girls’ team will be competing against North Allegheny, South Fayette and Mount Lebanon.

“We see ourselves as a contender for the championship and the girls are ready to roll,” Van Horn said. “We know that it is going to take our absolute best to come out as champions. They are eager to face the challenge and I’m anxious to see the times, distances and heights that our girls can achieve.”

After that, the WPIAL Individual Championships will be held at Slippery Rock University on Wednesday, May 17, followed by the PIAA Championships on May 27 and 28.


(all pictures by Lee Schaeffer)