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Hopewell Track and Field

Connor Progar Wins MAC Championship, Vikings Perform Well in Shenango

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The Hopewell Track and Field team traveled to Shenango High School on Wednesday for the MAC Championship Meet. The Midwestern Athletic Conference includes 27 schools across 4 counties, and features some of the best track and field athletes in the WPIAL and the state. This would be the biggest, most competitive meet so far this season, and also the 4th meet in just 7 days for the Vikings. Hopewell proved that their stars belong among the best around.
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The brightest star of the day was Connor Progar, who continued his pole vault winning streak with another championship and another big jump. The Hopewell school record holder waited all day in the chilly wind and rain until the bar reached 12’4”, and only he and Riverside’s Reece Sullivan remained in the competition. Connor easily cleared the bar at 12’4”, then 12’10”, and 13’4” – which is where Sullivan failed to match him. With the victory secured, Connor attempted to improve his school record to 13’9”, but dislodged the bar on a few very close attempts.
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The Vikings earned a number of silver medals as well at MAC. Zach Kovell came home with 3 of them, a feat he was not particularly happy with, but is proud of nonetheless. The first silver came with the 4x100m relay team along with teammates Josh Brunton, Tyler Lewis, and Naz Jeter. The team was seeded 5th entering the race, but the boys exchanged the baton well, and Jeter finished well to bring them within .03 seconds of victory. Kovell earned his second silver in the very next event – the 400m – in a close duel with Beaver Falls’ Da’Karri Williams. Zach finished in 51.63, just .22 seconds behind Williams. The third silver came in another close battle with Kaevon Gardner of New Castle over 200m. Kovell ran his best time ever (22.78) but came up just .15 seconds short at the finish. That time currently ranks Zach #1 in the WPIAL AA for the 200m.
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Emma Palmieri earned silver in the 400m as well, running her best time of the season (1:00.68) and finishing second to defending WPIAL champion Tori Atkins of Laurel. Emma was also the WPIAL silver medalist last year. Emma also earned a bronze medal in the 200m with a huge personal best time of 26.19. That time ranks her third in school history behind Lauryn Speicher and Kailey Baker.

Tyler Lewis earned a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles to go with his silver from the 4×100. Though the senior had struggled through some injuries coming into the season, he finally regained the form that made him one of the WPIAL’s top hurdlers last year and dropped two huge personal best times – 15.84 in the preliminary round, and 15.64 in the final. Big things are coming in the last half of the season.

Sophomore Josh Brunton was Hopewell’s last medalist of the day, joining Kovell on the podium with his 5th place finish in the 200m in a personal best time of 23.44. Josh also ran the 4x400m relay for the first time ever, helping Kovell, Nico Flitcraft, and Julian Baldwin to their fastest time of the season, finishing just off the podium in 7th place.

Some other notable performances by the Vikings included senior Ella Morelli running her best time of the season in the 200m with 29.89.

Senior Zach Landry took 3 seconds off his PR in the 800m with a 2:09.61 and a 9th place finish.

The girls 4x800m relay team of Caylee Sundy, Madi Inderelst, Keira Mann, and Vicki Dong ran their season best time by nearly 30 seconds, finishing in 11:56.61.

Senior Savannah Meyers hit a new PR in the pole vault of 8’4″ finishing 8th overall.

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Junior Mia Blakeslee got a big personal record in the high jump with a 4’4.5″ clearance, meeting the Hopewell letter standard.

Junior Zach Lucas had a breakthrough performance in the 300m hurdles, winning his heat, and dropping his PR time from 46.01 to 44.82.

Sophomore twins Madi and Bri Inderelst had big days in back-to-back events. Bri ran her personal best 300m hurdles race in 56.54 seconds, and Madi ran her season best 800m in 2:51.33.

Sophomore Antony Flitcraft continued to chip away at his personal record in the 3200m with an 11:04.58 effort. Sub-11:00 is coming soon for one of the hardest working kids in Hopewell.

The team gets a period of respite over the next few days, with prom coming up this weekend. They will be back in action on Tuesday for a WPIAL semifinal playoff meet at a site to be determined.

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