South Xtra: Wash High senior dashes to another title

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Washington High School's Alyssa Wise might have some concerns going into this week's PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University because of a painful left hamstring.

But if she has the same type of success in South Central Pennsylvania as she had under brutal conditions at the WPIAL championships last Thursday at Baldwin High Stadium, she won't complain.

Sporting a heavily taped wrap on her left leg, Wise had an excellent start and maintained her momentum all the way down the stretch to win the Class AA girls 100-meter dash with a record-setting time of 11.95 seconds. Familiar rival Ally Bartoszewicz of Vincentian Academy was second with a time of 12.2 seconds.

The performance will give Wise the opportunity to defend the PIAA Class AA 100-meter championship she won a year ago with a time of 11.85 seconds. But that balky hamstring kept her out of the 200-meter dash in the qualifying meet leading up to the championship, and she will be unable to defend her state title in the half-lap race.

Wise's effort shattered the previous WPIAL Class AA girls record of 12.09 seconds that was set by Rochester's Lauryn Williams in 2001. Williams has continued a successful career that has earned her Olympic medals in track and field in the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics at Athens and London, respectively, and a silver medal in the two-woman bobsled in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Wise didn't give much thought of her accomplishment on Thursday, when she actually set the record. But when the meet resumed on Saturday, plenty of well-wishers congratulated her.

Even Lauryn Williams noticed.

"She re-tweeted about me on Twitter," Wise said. "Everyone I've seen around town has congratulated me, and they are proud of me."

So is Rich Barnes, her sprint coach at Washington High.

"I'm very pleased and excited about what she's done," said Barnes, who has coached Little Prexies sprinters for 13 years. "Something like this doesn't come around too often."

Barnes knew it was going to be a good day for Wise as she had a great start in the championship race.

"She just exploded out of the blocks, and she maintained her momentum throughout the race," he said. "As she continues, she just increases her speed. She always finishes relaxed, and she never tightens up. You can't teach that. She just does it."

Wise will have to run in a qualifying heat in the 100-meter dash along with the semifinals and the finals. She also will be competing with three teammates on the 400-meter relay team that qualified for the state meet after finishing second at the WPIAL meet to a team from Vincentian that was anchored by Bartoszewicz. Wise said she had to pull up about 15 yards from the finish in the 400-meter relay final.

Before Wise leaves for Shippensburg today, she'll have spent a few days getting her leg treated.

"It's still pretty sore, so I'm going to therapy before we go to Shippensburg," she said. "That's what I did before the WPIAL meet, and it helped. I just hope my hamstring holds up."

Wise has accepted a scholarship to run track at Pitt and will study athletic training.

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