Norwin track still undefeated after statement wins

The Knights finished last season 5-0, and it looks like 2022 could be heading the same way.


Lee Schaeffer

Freshman Melani Schmidt, junior Nataiah Robertson-Dutrielle, and senior Bernadette Zukina run the 200 meter dash against Latrobe.

The season is only a few meets old, but the Knights once again appear to be one of the best teams in the WPIAL, on both the boys’ and girls’ side. CLICK TO SEE ALL 2022 SEASON RESULTS

They started the season by trampling Greater Latrobe, 115-35 on the boys’ side and 121-29 on the girls’ side, helped by several impressive individual performances across the board. Senior Aaron Schmook set a school record for the javelin throw with a mark of 185 feet and 1 inch, breaking Justin Moose’s record of 179 feet and 8 inches that had stood for nearly 20 years.

“Throughout the off-season I have worked hard to improve upon my technique and strength,” said Schmook. “It is definitely cool knowing that my name will be in the record books and on the plaque under the stadium.”

Just behind Schmook was senior Cody Scherle, who nearly broke the old record himself with a throw of 178 feet, 3 inches.

Sophomore Noah Wilson runs the 1600 meter run against Latrobe. (Lee Schaeffer)

Other impressive performances for the boys included junior Anthony Petrulo, who won the shot put with a mark of 44 feet and 7.5 inches. Junior Trey Huha won both the 200 meter dash (23.72 seconds) and the triple jump (37 feet, 7.75 inches), and sophomore Noah Wilson took first in the 1600 meter run with a personal best time of 4:52.

On the girls’ side, senior Bernadette Zukina won the 400 meter dash in 1:03.85, and senior Layla Robertson won the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 47.98 seconds. Junior Nataiah Robertson-Dutrielle, who competed at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships in February, took first place in the 100 meter dash (13.10 seconds), 200 meter dash (26.90 seconds), and long jump (17 feet, 8 inches).

Overall, Norwin swept Latrobe in 20 events, and they won 5 of the 6 relay events. The boys didn’t let up a single point in any distance event or throwing event, and a Knight took first place in all but two of the girls’ events.

Hurdler Bella Brozeski leaps over the hurdle in dual victory against Greensburg Salem.

“It was definitely a nice start to the season,” said first-year head coach Timothy VanHorn. “I am impressed with how our athletes have been competing and it is always nice to see them be rewarded for their hard work.”

The next test for the Knights was a home meet against Greensburg Salem, which they took even more convincingly; the boys won 117-33, and the girls won 133-17.

Against the Lions, Schmook and Scherle continued their domination of the javelin; Schmook easily took first place and nearly broke his own record with a throw of 183 feet and 2 inches, while Scherle hit a mark of 160 feet, 6 inches for second. Huha again won the triple jump (39 feet, 10 inches) and the 200 meter dash (23.36 seconds), the latter of which earned him a first place ranking in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association on MileSplit PA.

”It feels good knowing that I’m up there with the best,” said Huha. “There’s still things that I have to improve on, but I do appreciate that I’m first.”

Freshman Ryan Schiller won both the 110 meter hurdles (17.45 seconds) and 300 meter hurdles (42.93 seconds), and the 4×400 meter relay team capped off the meet with a close victory, winning by less than a second in 3:43.69.

On the girls’ side, Robertson-Dutrielle again won the 100 meter dash (12.88 seconds), 200 meter dash (26.94 seconds), and long jump (17 feet), and she anchored the first place 4×100 meter relay team. Junior Emma Jiancristoforo won both the 1600 meter run (5:26) and 800 meter run (2:29), setting personal records in both events, and sophomore Rosemary Gaydos won the 3200 meter run with a time of 12:18. Senior Trinity Wills won both the shot put (29 feet, 2 inches) and discus (110 feet, 1 inch).

Sophomores Rosemary Gaydos and Julia Walko after the 3200 meter run against Greensburg Salem. (Lee Schaeffer )

Just a few days later, on April 8, select individuals from the team competed at the Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational in Latrobe. The girls’ team took first place overall, and they had a medalist in every event except for the 800 meter run.

”I think it speaks to how committed we are across the board,” said senior Layla Robertson. “All of our training groups work hard and push each other. We are always rooting for each other. We have some stiff competition in practices that have helped some of our younger athletes grow. We have enjoyed the successes thus far and we know there’s a lot left in the season and we need to keep in mind to not be satisfied.”

Robertson won the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 48.81 seconds, beating the second place finisher by more than a second. The 4×100 meter relay team also took first place in 51.00 seconds, while the 4×400 team narrowly missed a victory, losing only to section rival Hempfield.

For the boys, Schmook and Scherle again took first and second in the javelin, while Schiller took second in the 300 meter hurdles. Junior Andreas Breauchy placed 9th in the 3200 meter dash, setting a personal best in 10:25.

As impressive as that performance was, though, the Knights would face their toughest competition yet on April 12 at Hempfield High School, and they proved to be up to the challenge, coming away with narrow victories on both sides, 88-62 for the girls and 82-68 for the boys.

Junior Collin Gunzburger competes in the long jump against Hempfield. (Lee Schaeffer)

Senior Anthony Singer made his season debut against the Spartans, taking first place in the 110 meter hurdles with a personal best time of 16.35 seconds and second in the 400 meter dash with a time of 55.34 seconds.

Huha and senior Dom Barca took first and second, respectively, in both the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash, and Schmook extended his javelin record with a throw of 189 feet, 3 inches.

On the girls’ side, Robertson-Dutrielle again took first in the 100 meter dash (12.94 seconds), 200 meter dash (26.93 seconds), and the long jump (17 feet, 1.5 inches), while senior Bernadette Zukina took first place in the 400 meter dash in 59.52 seconds. The 4×400 meter relay team capped off the meet with a narrow win, avenging their loss at the Wildcat Invitational.

Junior Andreas Breauchy runs the 3200 meter run against Hempfield. (Lee Schaeffer)

The Knights’ next meet comes at home on April 20, senior night against Indiana Area, and on April 22 and 23, the Knights will compete at the Butler Invitational. If what we’ve seen is any indication, though, the Knights should be able to take on anything.