North Xtra: North Allegheny's Mancuso among winners at PIAA meet

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North Allegheny senior Brooke Mancuso won the PIAA Class AAA pole vaulting championship with a 12-foot, 6-inch flight Saturday at Shippensburg University.

Her feat broke a stalemate between the last five jumpers.

"There were five girls left," Mancuso recalled.

Among the final five were Hempfield Area's Lexi Masterson and Bridget Guy. The five girls were all tied at 12 feet.

"At 12-6, we all missed on our first attempt," Mancuso said. "I made it on my second attempt."

The remaining four missed on both their second and third attempts, and Mancuso became state champion. Masterson took the PIAA Class AAA silver medal, and Guy came in at fourth place.

The win couldn't have come at a better time for Mancuso.

"I was just so excited because my coach [Rob Theissen] has been coaching for 39 years and he's retiring." Mancuso said.

She had wanted Theissen to be able to retire after helping her to win a state championship.

"I was so happy I could make that goal come true," she said.

Ironically, Mancuso's father, Louis, had not wanted his daughter to become a pole vaulter when she first tried the sport in middle school. When asked if Louis had made any more comments about her pole vaulting, Mancuso replied, "No."

This summer, Mancuso intends to continue vaulting for fun and conditioning. She will vault for Westminster College next year.

Lelis wins 300-hurdles title

Springdale's Emily Lelis won the PIAA Class AA 300-meter hurdles race with a time of 44.35 seconds, 0.55 seconds ahead of Swenson Arts' Markeeta Thomas.

Springdale track coach Jake Lauer recalled watching the hurdlers as they came around the bend.

"From where we were sitting, [Lelis] came out strong out of the gate," he said. "As she came around the bend you could see she was out in front. And she just never gave up the lead."

In the 100-meter hurdles, Lelis took second place with a time of 14.18. Lelis was 0.11 seconds behind Swenson Arts' Amy Hicks.

Shaler's Schwartz driven

Shaler Area's Brianna Schwartz turned in a 1,600-meter time of 4:50.05 when she won the Class AAA race at the PIAA state meet Saturday. Schwartz's time at the WPIAL championships had been faster, though: 4:47.07.

"I was a little disappointed with the time [at states]," Schwartz said. "But the wind was pretty bad. I think that it didn't help with the time."

The wind on Saturday blew directly toward all runners on the backstretch of the track at Shippensburg University.

"It was really tough," Schwartz said.

When asked if she was motivated more by winning or by breaking her record times, Schwartz didn't hesitate.

"Getting first place definitely was better than beating my times," she said.

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