The rain was constant and conditions were miserable Thursday at Baldwin High School, where there was standing water on the track and occasional gusts of wind, too.
For Matthew Bernadowski, though, such conditions were minor obstacles, just like the 10 hurdles that stood in a line before him. And, by the finish line, not even the elements could stop him from making history.
Bernadowski, a senior at Elizabeth Forward, won the Class AAA 110-meter hurdles at the WPIAL track and field championships, finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of defending champion Montae Nicholson of Gateway and setting a new meet record with a time of 14 seconds.
"It was great," Bernadowski said. "You never know and you can never tell because it's so fast that you don't know what you run. It was great, but I don't want to let off too big of a smile. We've still got states next week."
Because of the inclement weather, only about half of the scheduled events were completed Thursday. The remaining events -- including the 200-meter dash and 3,200-meter run, among others -- were postponed until Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Last year, the roles were reversed for the top two finishers in the 110-meter hurdles, with Nicholson edging Bernadowski by 0.11 seconds while setting the meet record.
Nicholson still had a good day as the Gateway senior finished first in the Class AAA long jump in addition to his second in the 110.
"The amount of respect we have for each other and the competitiveness that we have just makes it 10 times better," Bernadowski said of competing against Nicholson. "He's a good friend, and we're going back at it every single week. It's just great."
Bernadowski was far from the only athlete with a noteworthy performance.
Hempfield senior Max Adams finished first in the shot put (56-91/2 and discus (186-11), the latter of which he also won last season. He also won both events as a sophomore in 2012, but was able to better both those distances this year.
Like other winners, Adams contended that the weather didn't affect things too much, even it made the experience less than ideal.
"It just made it miserable," Adams said. "It doesn't make it that hard as long as I keep the discus and shot dry, but it just takes away from the enjoyment from it."
Luke Smorey of Baldwin and Ricky Fayad of South Side Beaver were able to repeat as champions in their respective events.
Smorey won the Class AAA javelin with a throw of 193-1 while Fayad narrowly beat Ellwood City's Keaton Docchio to win the Class AA 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.17 seconds.
Though he was not a defending champion in his event, Troy Apke was able to win the day's highest-profile event. The Mt. Lebanon senior, who will play football next season at Penn State, won the Class AAA 100-meter dash in 10.81 seconds, finishing first in a field that included other football standouts such as West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler and Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead, who finished fourth and fifth.
"I was expecting to get around there," Apke said. "I wanted to win it. That was my goal all year to win this and see what I can do at state."
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.