West/South Xtra: It's been a run of victory for Colts squads this season

HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD

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The Chartiers Valley boys and girls track teams are emerging as consistent winners this spring.

The girls are undefeated (6-0), and the boys are 5-1 with their only loss to West Mifflin Area.

The top two teams in each Class AAA section qualify for the WPIAL team semifinals, which took place Wednesday, and both Char Valley boys and girls competed.

The boys went against Butler Area, West Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon, while the girls competed against Franklin Regional, Mt. Lebanon, West Allegheny and Thomas Jefferson. Both meets took place concurrently at Mt. Lebanon.

"This is my 13th season [coaching track at Chartiers Valley]," coach Lori Poe said. "I don't think I've ever had both the boys and girls teams make playoffs in the same year."

As is usually the case with track teams, the Colts' successes are the sums of the athletes' individual successes.

Junior Dejalynn Peterson has been dominant in the 400-meter dash.

She took first place (58.22 seconds) at the April 6 South Hills Classic and again at the April 20 Tri-State Track Coaches' Association Championships (59.09).

"[Peterson] would like to contend for a WPIAL title in the 400, and she would like to place at states this year," Poe said.

Senior Kristina Coyne is well known for her accolades with Chartiers Valley soccer, volleyball, basketball and even football (as a kicker).

But on the track team, Coyne holds down the hurdles and the triple jump. She placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles at the South Hills Classic (16.17 seconds) and second at Tri-State (16.17).

In the triple-jump, Coyne went 33 feet, 8 inches for third place at South Hills. She took fourth at Tri-States with a 33-1 jump.

"[Coyne] is definitely a team player," Poe said. "We tell her, 'You need to jump this far to win,' and she goes out and does it."

Coyne is actually one part of a great core of jumper/hurdlers for the Chartiers Valley girls. Lauren Shoats, Jewel Barlow and Molly Beattie, Coyne's sister, are veterans in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, high and triple jumps and relays.

Senior Chrissy Solt scores many throwing points for Chartiers Valley, as she competes in shot, discus and javelin events. At Tri-State, she threw the javelin 111-10, good for seventh place.

On the boys side, the Colts are young but ambitious.

In a meet last week against section-rival Trinity, the 400-meter relay team broke the school record with a 44.9 clocking. That team comprises Anthony Allen, Jared Nelson, Markell Adams and Joe Ragni. That time currently ranks ninth among WPIAL Class AAA schools.

Meanwhile, Dom Politi is considered Chartiers Valley's best javelin thrower. Politi's coaches have actually limited his javelin competition to save his arm for later in the season. But he still showed off his athletic talent in another event by finishing fifth in the 400-meter dash at the Tri-State meet with a time of 52.54.

Sophomore Zach Farrow, who gave up baseball for track, took eighth place in the javelin event at the Tri-State meet with a throw of 139-6.

As the Chartiers Valley track team has motored through its section schedule, the seniors have provided both points and influence.

"April Bittner, one of our seniors on the team, is a distance runner," Poe said. "She's a quiet leader and she's going to be hard to replace. She's very dependable.

"Vondre Clark is our top jumper [triple and long]. It's awesome to have a senior athlete who really understands the jumping to help."

Poe summarized by saying that the team's successes have stemmed from the development of underclass athletes alongside good veterans.

"The seniors really stand out," Poe said.

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