Outdoor T&F Week 5 Meets on Tap

Photo by Phil Grove

53rd Butler Invitational - Meet Preview

The Butler Invitational--perennially one of the biggest meets in western PA--has some loaded entries for this weekend's 53rd edition of the meet in Butler. Here's a look at what we're watching for:

GIRLS' PREVIEW

Look for the girls' sprints to take centerstage on Friday. Plenty of good matchups good produce some fast times and maybe some state leaders.

In the 100 meters, Avonworth/Northgate's Hunter Robinson and Hayden Robinson and Burrell's Nicole Scherer will go head-to-head. Sub-12 could be looming there. Scherer and Hunter Robinson are then back for the 400 meters, which will feature Butler's Alexis Leech and Silver Creek's Emma Seiders. Then in the 200 meters, look for both Robinsons, Leech, Norwin's Jessica Kolesar, and Farrell's Shaleea King in what should be a great race.

Photo by Phil Grove

In the 110 meter hurdles, Oakland Catholic's Jayla Ellis will matchup with North Allegheny's Melina Owens and Norwin's Emily Brozeski. Owens then returns in the top seed in the 300 meter hurdles.

Ellis and Norwin's Kolesar will be among the ones to watch in the long jump. North Hills' Amberly ValerianoKassidy Hubert of Franklin Regional, and Lexi Salopek of Mount Pleasant are other strong entries there. Salopek is then the top seed in the triple jump, but she'll be challenged by Seneca Valley's Emma Lizewski.

Highlighting the distance events will be North Allegheny's Clara Savchik. The junior was runner-up in the 3000 meters at indoor states. She's entered in both the 1600 meters and the 3200 meters.

She'll be favored in the 3200 meters, but in the 1600 meters, she'll see a challenge from reigning AA state champ Jordan Williams of Sharon, Greensburg Central Catholic's Moira O'Shea (who beat Savchik over 1600 meters at Latrobe a few weeks ago), Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's Rylee Kopchak, Vincentian Academy's Marianne Abdalah, North Hills' Ava Pietrzyk, Ambridge Area's Mica Hanish, and Butler's Maggie Welty.

Photo by Phil Grove

Returning in the 3200 meters, in addition to Savchik, will be O'Shea, Abdalah, Kopchak, Pietrzyk, and Hanish, among some other strong entries. In the 800 meters, Sharon's Williams will come back and face a good challenge from Villa Maria's Grace Brown, Butler's Liz Simms, Greensburg Salem's Malia Anderson, Greater Latrobe's Anna Ramsey, and Franlin Regional's Sterling Simek.

After a pair of strong wins at TSTCA, Burrell's Lizzie Weimer will be looking for more big things in the throws this weekend. Weimer is the top seed in both the shot put and discus. In both events, her best challengers include Butler's Jena Reinheimer, Woodland Hills' Greta Brooks, and Gateway's Kristen Greggerson. In the javelin, look out for Baldwin's Laurel Bristow, along with Seneca Valley's Erin Danik, and Derry Area's Kara McDonald.

The ones to watch in the pole vault on Friday, will be Butler's Taylor Weaver and Moniteau's Kendall Grossman. Both are ranked inside the state's top 14.

Photo by Phil Grove

BOYS' PREVIEW

After a another Pennsylvania state record from Knoch's Jordan Geist in South Carolina, the senior returns to his home state for another go at some big throws. Geist, however, is still currently US#2 this outdoor season behind Texas's Adrian Piperi. It'll be Geist vs. the tape in both the shot put and discus on Friday night. Can he take back the national lead in the shot?

 Friday will mark the invitational debut of North Allegheny's Ayden Owens. The junior is the reigning 300 meter hurdle state champ in AAA and he won a pair of silvers at the indoor state meet. Owens is entered in the 110 meter hurdles, the 300 meter hurdles and the 200 meters..


Photo by Don Rich

Taylor Allderdice's Noah Swaby will look to challenge him in the 110 hurdles. In the 200 meters, Apollo-Ridge's Dillon Butz-Retzer, one of AA's top threats, is another top threat. Gateway's Damion Reed will look to put down a fast time in the 300 hurdles.

Isaac Elliott was one of the state's top performers during the indoor season. After a hamstring injury derailed the Ambridge Area senior's hopes of an indoor state medal, he will look to come back with a vengeance this outdoor season. He opened with a 400 meter race at Central Valley two weeks ago. He's entered in the 100 meters as the top seed. Pittsburgh Central Catholic's Alex Trower, fresh off two wins a few weeks ago at TSTCAs, is another one to watch in the 100 meters, as well as the 200.

The 400 meters will be a showdown between Penn Hills' Brennen Hill and West Mifflin's Ziggy Patterson.

Photo by Phil Grove

Plenty of big names are set for the distance events, too. Quaker Valley's Zach Skolnekovich is the top seed in the 1600 after a great opener at Knoch, but Butler's Noah Beveridge will be looking for the win on his home track. Seneca Valley's Seth Ketler and Sam Owori, Seneca's Phoenix Myers, Kiski Area's Eric Kennedy, and Franklin Regional's Mark Provenzo are among the other entries in the 1600.

Skolnekovich, Provenzo, Baldwin's Casey Conboy, Winchester Thurston's Ben Littmann, and Seneca Valley's Trey Razanauskas are entered in the 3200 meters later in the day.

Brookville's Ryan Thrush will contest the 800, likely coming in fresh. The senior went 1:52 last season in the event before winning the AA state title over 400 meters. Thrush is currently PA#1 in the 400, so we'll see what he can do in the half. Penn Hills' Isaiah Bailey and Seneca's Donovan Myers are also in the field for what should be a fast one.

In the javelin, Greater Latrobe's Austin Butler is the top seed as he looks to take down Derry Area's Zach Baum. Highlands' Dominic Martinka will look for the win in the long jump, while Baldwin's Dave Johnston is seeded first in the pole vault.


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