A greater prize awaits next week for the WPIAL track and field athletes who participated Thursday in the team championships. But for the time being, the athletes from North Allegheny and Hempfield were able to get their respective schools some valued hardware.
Buoyed by strong performances from several team members across numerous events, the Tigers captured the Class AAA boys title and the Spartans finished first in Class AAA girls at the WPIAL team championships at Baldwin.
The meet comes a week before the WPIAL individual championships, with many athletes showing why they could be strong contenders to take home individual honors.
Perhaps most impressive was Hempfield's Jasmine Jones, who finished first in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes.
In all, Hempfield individuals or relays were able to win nine events on the girls side, with Jones' performances standing out in what was a strong team showing.
"I'm just thankful for my team," Jones said. "We're able to work well with each other, do what we have to do at championships.
"We've come together as a team and try to compete at our best."
Shaler finished second among the girls teams and second place in the boys competition went to Mt. Lebanon.
In its team win, North Allegheny was represented by the top-three finishers in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, groups led by Matt McGoey in each race.
"Me and my teammates were going to sweep it," McGoey said of the 1,600. "We were running with the pack for the first couple laps, then we thought we should take it. We finished strong."
In Class AA, Washington won the boys championship and South Fayette captured the top spot among the girls teams. Riverside and Freeport finished in second place in the boys and girls meets, respectively.
An important factor in Washington's success was the effort turned in by Quorteze Levy, who won the 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and was on the Prexies' first-place 3,200- and 1,600-meter relay teams, the former of which he anchored.
"Coming into the meet, we knew there was going to be some tough competition," Levy said. "Last year, we won it all and to win it again this year [is] even sweeter.
"I just came in prepared. We've worked hard all year, me and my team, and we were prepared for this."
Many of the participants from the event will return to the same track next week, running with much higher stakes in a more crowded field of competitors.
After his Mt. Lebanon team's second-place finish in the boys meet, Troy Apke, who is one of several Blue Devils football players to run on the track team for the first time, is confident he and his teammates will come through in their individual events.
"Hopefully the team does good and I'll do good," said Apke, who has committed to play football at Penn State. "I think we'll be ready."hsother
Craig Meyer: email@example.com and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG. First Published May 10, 2013 4:00 AM