South Fayette girls give golden send-off

Hempfield girls; North Allegheny, Beaver boys also win

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Usually described by some as a duck -- calm on the outside but a bundle of nerves on the inside -- South Fayette track and field coach Joe Winans was eerily calm Monday.

With the way his girls team performed, it was easy enough to figure out why.

Before the track events concluded, South Fayette had clinched the WPIAL Class AA girls championship at Baldwin, marking the second consecutive season that it accomplished that feat.

"You've got girls who have shown incredible heart and came out and ran well and jumped well and threw well," Winans said. "They took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to them and they made the most out of it.

"I couldn't be more proud of what they've done, to come back and do something like win back-to-back WPIAL championships. It's not something that should be taken lightly. They deserve all the credit in the world."

The Lions defeated Beaver, 82-68, Mohawk, 101-49, and Freeport, 98-52, numbers that reflected a largely dominant performance.

They claimed first place in many of the marquee events, winning the 100-meter dash and the 400-meter relay along with numerous field events such as the long jump and triple jump. In all, South Fayette claimed nearly half of the available first-place finishes (8 of 18).

"To see this program really start eight years ago and see it get to the point that it is now is just great and very rewarding," Winans said.

As many expected, Hempfield won the WPIAL girls Class AAA championship, defeating fellow finalists North Allegheny (92-50), Mt. Lebanon (99-50) and Shaler (121-28).

The team title is the third in a row for the Spartans, marking the sixth time since 1993 that a team was able to do so.

Led by standout individuals such as Maddie Holmberg and Jasmine Jones, Hempfield won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the javelin, pole vault and long jump among others. It finished in first place in 10 of 18 events.

"It shows, throughout the years, that this is what we work hard for," Jones said. "This is our goal right here, to win, to be a part of this WPIAL championship. This is why we shed our tears at practices, why we run our legs off at practices, to get to this point."


It took until nearly 11 p.m. and the final event to find out, but North Allegheny won the WPIAL boys Class AAA championship, edging second-place Mt. Lebanon, 76.5-73.5.

"Any time you go up against Mt. Lebanon, you know it's going to be a dog fight until the end," North Allegheny coach John Neff said. "They had a dynamite team and we weren't sure how it was going to come out. They're competitors, they want it bad and you've got to show up for it. They took it straight to the wire."

The championship is the second in a row for the North Allegheny. The Tigers finished in first in 8 of 18 events.

In Class AA, Beaver was able to win its first title, defeating finalists Mohawk, Riverside and South Side Beaver. None of the other finalists got within 23 points of the Bobcats.

Craig Meyer: and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.

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