Isbell leads strong showing for Prexies

April 26, 2014
Canon-McMillan’s David Duffey clears 12-0 in the pole vault Saturday. - Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

MCMURRAY – Washington junior DeQuay Isbell finished the 400-meter race at Peters Township and sprinted off the track as soon as he was the first to cross the finish line. Pumping his fist in the air and looking for the closest teammate to help him celebrate, Isbell’s time of 50.02 helped the Prexies claim the Class AA team title at the Washington-Greene County Coaches Track Meet and was his best mark of the season.

Although his time was .22 seconds faster than the one that helped him claim second place at last year’s WPIAL Championship meet, Isbell was hoping for a personal record. He ran the race in under 50 seconds at times last season.

He will gladly take a team title from this event, as well as the Individual Overall MVP. He also finishd second in the 200-meter dash and fourth in the 400-meter.

“I was hoping to get back down to forty-nine,” Isbell said. “That’s the time I’m aiming towards so I can compete at states. We wanted to come out and take this meet serious. All of us wanted to win or at least beat our old times.”

Isbell has become one of Washington’s top track athletes since his freshman year and his work in the 3,200 relay helped the Prexies claim the title ahead of Fort Cherry. The junior finished in third place at the county meet last year, but was ahead of the competition from start to finish Saturday.

“Track runs in my family and I learned a long time ago that if you want something, you have to strive for it,” Isbell said. “It felt good finishing third last year, but it feels even better sitting at the top of the podium.”

Also lifting Washington to the team title was senior Quorteze Levy, who claimed first place in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.51 while also running on the relay teams for the Prexies. Senior Chase Caldwell took first place in the 110 high hurdles (15.63).

“I’m not even close to being satisfied,” Levy said. “It’s always great to get a win, but it’s not enough. I haven’t set a personal record yet this season. It is good to know that in this area, I’m one of the best hurdlers. I’m not finished yet though.”

Jumping into record book: One of the best things to happen to the Peters Township track program a couple years ago was the decision by Manasi Jadhav to give up gymnastics and try track.

The freshman from Peters Township wasn’t quite sure where she might fit in, but it did not take long for coach Kaye Gasper to figure it out.

“After we did a (drill), Coach Gasper said you’re a jumper now,” said Jadhav. “So that’s what I ended up doing, and I liked it.”

Jadhav has excelled at it.

Jadhav hit 35-9 to win the triple jump Saturday. Pretty impressive for someone who has not yet reached her potential.

Two weeks ago, in a tri-meet against Mt. Lebanon and South Park, Jadhav reached another impressive mark of 36-0 3/4, which set the Peters Township record. Jadhav broke the mark of 35-7 1/2 set in 1984 by Rhoda Visser.

“She is going to be someone special,” Gasper said. “She broke a 30-year old record. She’s our little secret.”

The coaches meet record is held by Brianna Liebold, who jumped 37-5 1/2 in 2006.

Super Cooper: One of Ringgold’s more impressive accomplishments of the meet came from Bailey Cooper.

The sophomore won three events and took third in another to be named the Girls Track MVP with 36 points.

Cooper won the 400 dash in 59.1, the 100 hurdles in 15.3, the 300 hurdles in 48.5 and was third in the 200 dash with a 27.0.

“I thought I had a chance,” said Cooper. “My coach said if I did well in all my events, it could happen. And it did.”

Her time of 59.1 in the 400 was a personal record, as was her preliminary-time of 14.9 in the 100 hurdles. Her best 300 hurdles time was 46.4 in the WPIAL Championships at Baldwin last season.

“My goal is to get top three in the state in the 100 hurdles,” she said, “and top eight in the 300 hurdles.”

Kendra places in return:

Trinity senior Mitchell Kendra, who spent 15 days in the hospital last month with a spontaneous collapsed lung, returned to competition Saturday and received an unexpected bonus.

Kendra ran one lap Monday, took a 10 minute jog Tuesday and practiced the pole vault Thursday before his coaches told him to use Saturday’s meet as a comeback.

The lack of practice did not stop Kendra from placing third in the pole vault behind Canon-McMillan’s David Duffey.

“I’m surprised,” said Kendra, who cleared 11-6. “Looking around at the competition, I knew I had a good chance to place when some of the guys did not reach their (personal records). I was lucky to get as high as I did and I’m pretty excited.”

Fort Cherry surprise: Not having a track has not stopped Fort Cherry from becoming one of the top track and field programs in Class AA. The Rangers sent a message to their competition that facilities won’t stop them from competing as Fort Cherry took second place in the boys and first place in the girls - ahead of Washington’s highly touted girls team.

Leading Fort Cherry in boys track and field Saturday was senior Zak Dysert, who took first place in the javelin with a throw of 156-09. Dysert also finished third in the discus with a throw of 135-3.

“It’s amazing that we don’t have the facilities that other schools do and we’re able to compete with these bigger schools,” Dysert said. “We have agreat coaches and have great people around the program.”

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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