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Hopewell Track and Field

Three Vikings Win Five Titles at Beaver County Championships



The Hopewell Track and Field team traveled to Ellwood City’s Helling Stadium Saturday to compete in the Beaver County Championship meet. The meet had been moved from its usual site at Riverside due to flooding, but the teams were still battling the elements as well as each other for much of the day. Persistent gusting winds and soggy field areas made it difficult put-up big numbers, but the conditions were a common enemy, so those that prevailed truly earned their victories over their competitors and the elements.
Emma Palmieri entered the meet as the defending county champion in the 400m, and a strong contender in the loaded fields of the girls 100m and 200m. She started her day with a 4th place finish in the 100m, and a second place with her 4x100m relay team before her main event – the 400m – arrived. The wind proved to be her strongest foe, as she won her heat by nearly 4 seconds and secured back-to-back titles in the event. She finished her day with a very tight 2nd place finish to Freedom’s Shaye Bailey in the 200m, with whom she’ll have a rematch this Thursday in a section meet at Freedom. Emma was the second highest female point scorer of the meet with 24 total.
Connor Progar had to wait through most of the inclement weather for his time to shine, but when that time came, the sun came out to join him. By the time Connor entered the competition, the bar was at 11’3” and most of the other vaulters were already out. He cleared the first height, passed on the next, and then cleared the bar again at 12’3”. By the time the bar reached 13’3”, only Connor and Riverside’s Reece Sullivan were left. Connor’s personal best coming into this season was 11’9”, but he cleared 13’3” on his first attempt – just 3 inches shy of Jack Georgetson’s school record set in 2017. After Sullivan failed in his 3 attempts at 13’3”, Connor was the champion, and had the opportunity to go for the school record unopposed. His third and final attempt was nearly perfect, but just a slight bump of the bar bounced it out of place. Connor is now the second highest vaulter in school history with many opportunities to improve coming up.

The biggest star of the day for the Vikings and the county was Zach Kovell. The junior sprinter won titles in the 100m, 200m, and 400m races, and helped the 4x100m relay team to a season best time and second place finish. In both the 100m and 200m races, Zach showed great patience in how he executed his race, coming from behind to beat very strong fields. He won the 100m by .01 seconds, and the 200m by .07. His time of 22.79 in the 200m was a huge personal best aided by great competition in a very strong field. In the 400m though – much like Emma Palmieri – his toughest foe was the wind. A highly anticipated matchup with some of the best quarter milers in the WPIAL never materialized, and Zach ran to a dominating victory. Overall, Zach scored 32 points, which tied him with Elijah Bechdel for the MVP honors on the boy’s side. Bechdel had also won 3 individual races with a silver in a relay.

Zach is the first Hopewell sprinter in decades to win all 3 sprint titles at the County meet.

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Hopewell got more scoring performances (top 6 places score points) from the rest of the team as well. Every relay team made the podium. Both boys and girls 4x800m teams placed 4th, both 4x100m teams were 2nd, the girls 4x400m team placed 3rd, and the boys were 6th. The boys 4×800 team was Nico Flitcraft, Antony Flitcraft, Charlie Houston, and Trevor Neal. The boys 4×400 team was Nico, Greg Gigliotti, Zach Landry, and Julian Baldwin.
Sophomore Maya Richburg joined Emma Palmieri on the podium with a 6th place in the 100m, and sophomore Josh Brunton joined Kovell with a 4th in the 100m and 6th in the 200m. Richburg was also on the 4×100 relay with Palmieri, Avery Boyd, and Nevaeh Persi-Jones. Brunton also led off the boys 4×100 with Kovell, Tyler Lewis, and Naz Jeter.
Senior Kira Shakespeare and freshman Avery Boyd both scored in the hurdles and jumps. Kira was 3rd in the 100m hurdles, and 6th in the triple jump. Avery finished 6th in the 100m hurdles and 6th in the long jump.
Junior Reese Murray and sophomore Emily Bauknight went 5th and 6th in the 300m hurdles.
Sophomore Madison Inderelst took 5th in the 800m run. She was also on both the 4×800 relay with Christy Sundy, Avery Elias, and Keira Mann, as well as the 4×400 relay with Maya Richburg, McKenna Ladson, and Nevaeh Persi-Jones.

In the field, sophomore Nick Adams took 5th in the long jump, and 6th in the triple jump. Junior Dan Earley took 6th in the high jump despite having to bow out early with an ankle injury. Senior Ethan Pletcher was 6th in the discus throw.
Senior Savannah Meyers placed 4th in the girls pole vault. She is looking to return to the WPIAL Championship meet again this year.
The Hopewell Track and Field team returns to action on Thursday with a big section meet at Freedom, and then will travel to Hickory High School for the City of Hermitage Invitational on Saturday.
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