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Hopewell Girls Track and Field Get Many Great Performances at WPIAL Playoff Meet



The Hopewell Girls Track and Field team traveled up to Shenango High School for a team playoff meet against Shenango, Shady Side Academy, and Freeport. The WPIAL decides its district team champions through a unique dual meet playoff system that is separate from the individual WPIAL Championship meet held later in May. The top 2 teams in each section compete in a semifinal round against 3 or 4 other teams, scoring against each individually using a dual meet scoring system (1st place 5 points, 2nd place 3, and 3rd place 1). The winner of each semifinal meet advances to the team final for another 4-way meet to determine the champion. This is a very unconventional system, but the WPIAL believes it rewards teams with a lot of depth across all 18 events. Hopewell qualified for the playoffs every year since 2017 but had yet to advance to the final.

Shenango and Shady Side entered the meet as heavy favorites, with Shenango having a hammerlock on the field events, and Shady Side having a very deep and talented group on the track. The Hopewell girls would have to defy the chalk in a lot of events to win. Shenango’s throwers and jumpers carried the day, winning 88.5-61.5 and defeating the other two teams as well, but the young Hopewell squad got a lot of personal best performances in every event that set them up for the WPIAL individual championships coming up in May, and also promise big things for the team in the future.

The girls 4x800m relay team of Vicki Dong, Keira Mann, Madi Inderelst, and Caylee Sundy continued to improve, taking 12 seconds off their season best time in 11:48:61, and finishing second overall to Shady Side’s outstanding squad. That time puts the girls at #15 in the WPIAL AA, with the top 16 in each event qualifying for the WPIAL individual championship. The girls will have 2 more chances in the next week to continue to improve and secure their spot at WPIALs.

The sprinters had a monster day as a group as well. The 4x100m relay team of Maya Richburg, Emma Palmieri, Avery Boyd, and Nevaeh Persi-Jones won their best time of the season – 50.86 – which ranks them currently 4th in WPIAL AA.

Richburg also set new personal records in the 100m (13.11) and the 400m (1:05:26). Persi-Jones ran her second-best time every in the 100m (13.46), and senior Ella Morelli ran another personal best in the 200m (29.45). Palmieri won 3 individual sprints with 3 outstanding PRs. Her 100m (12.71) ranks #11 in WPIAL AA, her 200m (26.02) has her 6th in the WPIAL, and 2nd all-time in school history, and her breakout in the 400m (58.77) ranks her 2nd in the WPIAL and school history asl well.

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Senior hurdler Kira Shakespeare was third overall in the 100m hurdles with 17.67, and freshman Avery Boyd took over a second off her personal best, running 18.21. Both also had good days in the triple jump. Junior Reese Murray ran a season best time in the 300m hurdles of 53.35, and sophomore Bri Inderelst PR’d with 55.30. Bri also jumped a PR of 4’2.5″ in the high jump.

The long jumpers all had personal best or season best jumps. Boyd led the way with her best of the season – 14’11.25″. Holly Bisenkamp PR’d with 14’3.75″, and McKenna Ladson added over a foot to her personal record of 14’3.25″. Ladson also nearly matched her PR in the 400m with 1:09.57.

Senior pole vaulter Savannah Meyers vaulted well, clearing 8’3″ and finishing 3rd overall. Savannah is currently #16 in WPIAL AA with 2 more chances to improve her mark and secure her spot in the championship meet. Freshman Audrey Kriger added nearly a foot to her PR, clearing 6’9″.

Freshman Marlee Page was just an inch shy of her PR in the javelin, throwing 89’11”. She was 3rd overall and scored a 2nd place against Shenango’s vaunted throwers.

Senior Sarah Casey led the Vikings in the shot put (25’1.25″) and the discus (67’4″) as she has all season. Freshman Emma DiCicco had her biggest day, with PRs in the shot (23’4.5″) and discus (56’2″).

The girls are back in action Friday at the Pine Richland Invitational, and then have a week to prepare for a Last Chance meet for one more opportunity to secure their spots in the WPIAL Championships.

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