Pine Richland track and field team off to a strong start
Sunday April 17, 2022 | 10:01 a.m
Through wind, rain, sleet, snow and cold temperatures, the Pine-Richland Athletics struggled through the dreadful spring weather.
Team-wise, the Rams have had some good results with the girls going 2-1 in section duals through Wednesday.
Individually there has also been some progress and the aim is to continue to cut the times as temperatures eventually warm up.
“Every meeting we’ve had has been either cold or rainy,” said Pine Richland coach Mark Hukele. “We know they will be a little better, especially the track times, once we have better running weather. Despite that, we still had some really good performances and times from the kids, but we’d like to see them run in optimal conditions.”
The Rams are bringing back a lot of talent and have reinforced some early-stage newcomers. All four stages of last year’s WPIAL Championship-winning 3,200m relay – Meredith Price, Angelina Hukele, Elizabeth Hukele and Natalie McLean – return.
“We’re expecting a big year from all four,” Hukele said. “We’re hoping to compete in the relay again this year and have a chance to win in the states. They all went to the States last year and did well, so we’re hoping they will have similar or better results this season.”
All four will also compete in distance events along with newcomers Mary Claire Daniello and Maren Iski who have made good starts.
Another freshman with a quick start is sprinter Abigail Satina.
“She’s doing really well,” said Hukele. “She’s been the fastest sprinter in the 100 and 200 to date, and she’s also a member of the 1,600 relay team. She’s won the 100 a few times and placed first in the 200 at the butler meeting.”
CJ Williams, a senior, was good at the middle distance races. Kate Lindrose, a junior, excelled at the hurdles while fellow junior Delaney Allen held the throwing events.
Gianna Rotelli, a junior who finished second in the javelin throw at the WPIALs last year, will not compete this year due to a knee injury.
On the boys’ side, senior Chris Fisher is a recurring WPIAL qualifier as a distance runner. He’s had a strong cross-country season and is hoping to not only return to the WPIALs, but also move up to the states.
Nick Hartwick nearly made the WPIALs last year and has improved this year by running a time in the 200 that is second in school history.
Pine Richland basketball star Joey Dudkowski, a senior, is on the lane for the first time and runs the 100, 200 and 400 and does the high jump
Freshman Ben McLean and junior Nick King lead the middle-distance runners. Alex Gochis, the lead receiver on the Pine Richland football team, and Luca Rudolph drive the sprinters, and Brad Gelly is a top hurdler.
Joey Schneck, Connor Lentz and James Cook have done well in the field events and Emery Moye is doing all three show jumping events.
“Everyone works hard in the (boys’ and girls’) teams and tries to improve from match to match,” said Hukele. “There is a good atmosphere in the team. We had many individuals doing WPIALs and States last year and we expect to see even more this year.”
Pine-Richland has two more section duals against Seneca Valley and North Allegheny.
Aside from the double meets, there will be multiple votes for WPIALs in the coming weeks, starting with the Butler Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Rams will split the team between the South Fayette and Mars Invitationals the following week and will host the Pine-Richland Invitational on May 6. It will be the first time since 2019 that they can host the entire gathering.
“We’re looking forward to hosting a full field,” said Hukele. “Last year we were able to host a mini invitation. In recent years, around 60 schools have been represented with some full teams and some partial teams. We hope to get similar numbers.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
Keywords: Pine Richland
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