Wyoming Area returns impact performers from a second-place Class 3A girls team finish in the District 2 Track and Field Championships a year ago and will try to build a predominantly young boys team to the point where it can produce similar results when the postseason rolls around.
Shelby Stackhouse enters the outdoor season after an active indoor season that included national level competition and qualifying for the state championships where she finished 10th in the high jump. Wyoming Valley Conference action is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
“Shelby is obviously our team leader,” said Joe Pizano, the head coach of both of the boys and girls teams.
Duplicating her effort in the outdoor season is the priority for Wyoming Area’s top athletes.
“Qualifying for states, that’s really our goal,” said Pizano, pointing out that Wyoming Area has been more successful in reaching that goal on the girls side than on the boys in recent years.
Defending district 100-meter dash champion Jalen Rhodes returns along with Stackhouse to lead the Lady Warriors.
Rhodes won her first individual district gold medal after having been on championship relay teams earlier in her career.
Stackhouse, Rhodes and Vanessa Shedlock, who graduated, accounted for the bulk of the team’s district scoring.
Stackhouse was second in the high jump, fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and part of the fifth-place 400 relay team that included Rhodes.
Madelyn Resciniti is back after finishing as the district shot put runner-up.
The return of 400 relay team members Olivia Astolfi, who also hurdles, and Mckenzie Nocchi keeps the Lady Warriors strong in the sprints.
Jumper Valerie Gerchak and thrower Sarah Baylor are the team’s other top veterans.
Pizano said the promotion of several qualify freshmen should help keep the team competing on a high level.
Expected to contribute from that group are: Aubrianna Marranca (distance), Kayla Kiwak (sprints), Leanna Lombardo (hurdles/jumps), Kristina Kosco (hurdles/sprints), Gabby Delicati (pole vault/jumps) and Brandi Butwin (throws).
Marc Anthony Minichello, a University of Pennsylvania recruit who has ranked at times among the nation’s top high school javelin throwers, is back to split time between the event and playing baseball.
Senior hurdler/jumper Steven Yordy is working his way back from an injury and will combine with some of last year’s top young athletes to help seek points in multiple events.
“Last year, we were made up of predominantly freshmen that we brought on,” Pizano said.
Yordy was third in the district in both the long and triple jumps last year in his first season in the sport.
Kayne Burton was fourth in both the 100 and 200 dashes and was part of an all-freshman 400 relay team that was eighth.
Brian Williams and Vincenzo Scotto were also on that relay team.
Distance runners George Sharkey and Luke Coolbaugh are the other top returnees.
The team has added some depth to its distance group with brothers Nick and Jacob Katulka. Nick is a junior and Jacob is a freshman. Kyle Elmsly is another proming freshman.
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