Last week at the WPIAL Class AAA Central Qualifier meet, Penn Hills senior Nevia Orsini ran for the top time of 15.07 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles.
So did Hempfield Area's Maddie Holmberg.
The two did not get to race each other, though. They did not share a heat.
The separation only made Orsini that much more excited to race against Holmberg at the WPIAL individual championships today at Baldwin High School.
"I'm definitely excited," Orsini said. "I can't wait -- she's the only person who's really close to me as far as time goes."
Penn Hills coach Lee Zelkowitz is also excited.
"She's right on the verge of breaking 15 seconds," he said.
"I've been trying to break it this whole season," Orsini said.
She added that she's only got a few chances left to do it, but she remains ready to keep driving toward her goal.
"My goal was to run a 14.7 by the end of this year," she said.
Fortunately, the addition of hurdles coach Jeremy Ward to Penn Hills staff has been helping Orsini improve her technique, especially to get her trail leg down faster with each hurdle.
"There's one drill where I'm standing against the wall with the hurdle set up. I just repeatedly go over and over with correct form, and eventually it just sticks," Orsini said.
Despite the difficulty of the hurdles, Orsini loves competing in the 100-meter race. She likened it to a ride at Kennywood.
"It's a very fast race," she said. "It's exciting for that short amount of time you're in it -- it's a rush."
Orsini also anchors the 1,600-meter relay team, which also qualified for WPIAL championships last Tuesday and is seeded fifth. In the relay, Orsini runs alongside Malika Bowles, Seraya Steward and Shayla Sisco.
Although she runs mostly shorter races, Orsini competed in cross country for Penn Hills this past fall.
"It really helped her stamina," said Zelkowitz, who also coaches the cross country team. "It was a huge commitment on her part -- sprinters don't normally run cross country."
"[Competing in] cross country made sure I was in shape and ready for indoor track," Orsini said. "It was hard work and it paid off."
Next year, Orsini plans to run the 100-hurdles and the 400-hurdles for IUP. But IUP was interested in Orsini for her artistic talents as well as her athletic abilities.
"I mostly work with pencil and maybe oil or pastels," she said.
Orsini said she tackles all types of art projects, however, without placing a preference on any one style or medium. Her advanced placement art portfolio was recently accepted by the university, meaning Orsini will begin the art program a few credits ahead of other incoming freshmen.
Even with all of the achievements Orsini has had this year in track and in art, one of her most enduring memories remains her first trip to the PIAA championships during her sophomore year.
"I didn't run -- I was an alternate," she said. "It was a good experience because everyone was older than me. I got to see how [competing at the state level] really works out."
The things Orsini learned as a younger runner have stayed with her and contributed to her own and her team's successes.
"She is a really good leader," Zelkowitz said. "She does things by example. The girls have a young, young team this year. She has to take on that responsibility, and she does it really well.
"She gets the girls to warm up properly and to cool down. Nevia is very mature, just from the things she's had to go through. She carries that leadership through to the team."