SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Brianna Schwartz quickly made a name for herself at the WPIAL track and field championships by setting the WPIAL record in the 1,600-meter run, recording a time that broke a long-standing mark from one of the area's all-time greatest distance runners, Carole Zajac of Baldwin.
A little over a week later, at the PIAA meet, she did not break any more records, but she again made history. Schwartz won the Class AAA 1,600, making her the first WPIAL sophomore to win the event and the first girl from Shaler to win a PIAA individual event.
"I'm really excited and really grateful that I'm able to come out here and compete and do well," Schwartz said.
Schwartz is the second person Shaler history to win a PIAA individual event, the other being Sam Bair Jr., son of the team's distance running coach, Sam Bair Sr.
Schwartz had a large lead for a fair portion of the race, but Penn Manor's Greta Lindsley was able to close the gap in the final laps, ultimately losing to Schwartz by 1.72 seconds.
"I feel like I slowed down a little bit when I was out there by myself, and once I saw her, I just full-out sprinted to the finish," Schwartz said.
Schwartz will return next season to defend her WPIAL and PIAA titles.
Wise sprints to 2 titles
Many WPIAL athletes were able to finish near the top in their events, or win them outright, but few managed to accomplish what Alyssa Wise did.
Wise, a Washington junior, dominated the short-distance track events in Class AA, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Her time of 11.85 seconds in the 100 fell 0.07 seconds short of the PIAA record set by Rochester's Lauryn Williams in 2001.
But even with all the success, did Wise expect to do well enough to win two events?
"No, not at all," she said. "I didn't think I could do it, honestly."
Fox Chapel twins
Some may call it twin telepathy, but juniors Ethan and Colin Martin of Fox Chapel have a different idea of their shared success -- a common pursuit of excellence.
The trend continued at the PIAA meet, with Ethan winning the Class AAA 3,200-meter run and Colin finishing less than six seconds behind his brother, in fourth place.
The finish Saturday came just over a week after the WPIAL championships, in which Ethan won, finishing 2.71 seconds ahead of Colin, who ended up third. In the process, Ethan's PIAA gold medal was Fox Chapel's fourth in track and field, and the school's first since 1985.
"Winning it was definitely a goal of mine for a while," Ethan said. "To be honest, I thought a senior was going to win this, but I don't know ... things happen.
"Sometimes, it's not everybody's greatest day, but it turned out I came on the right day."
• Fort Cherry junior Jenna Lucas won the Class AA javelin with a throw of 147 feet, 1 inch. She became just the second girl from Fort Cherry to win a PIAA championship.
• Two athletes that entered the meet as the top seeds in the PIAA -- California's Kailyn Clancy and Riverview's Tyler Murphy -- followed up those expectations with gold medals. Clancy won the Class AA shot put, and Murphy won the Class AA 300-meter hurdles.
• After finishing fifth in the event at the WPIAL meet, North Allegheny's Brooke Mancuso won the Class AAA pole vault. The victory came after she traveled from Pittsburgh at 2 a.m. Saturday morning after her senior prom.
• Springdale junior Emily Lelis successfully defended her title in the 300-meter hurdles. Though she finished in second in the 100-meter hurdles, she did set a personal record with a time of 14.18 seconds, which was better than the previous PIAA record.
The WPIAL had 10 winners in individual events, the same total as the previous two years. The WPIAL and City League had nine winners in 2010, 12 in 2009, five in 2008 and nine in 2007. From 1999-2006, the WPIAL had at least 10 winners in individual events.
First Published May 26, 2013 4:00 AM