BALDWIN – Just 10 days ago, Alyssa Wise was hobbling around the infield at the South Side Beaver High School track, her left leg wrapped and her mind lost in the dark depressive thoughts that haunt an injured athlete.
She had just strained her hamstring after winning the 100-meter dash and was forced to pull out of the 200, an event she won in last year’s PIAA and WPIAL meets.
That’s what made her performance in Thursday’s WPIAL Championships so remarkable.
Not only did Wise win the 100 dash, she did it in 11.95, which broke the 13-year WPIAL record held by Lauryn Williams of Rochester.
Yes, that Lauryn Williams, the one who went on to become an Olympic medalist in the 100 in the 2004 Games in Greece, the same Lauryn Willliams who was a gold medalist in the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 2005 and Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic in 2003.
“I never expected that,” said Wise, a senior who is headed to Pitt next fall. “I’m still in a little pain.”
Not only did Wise run her best time in the 100, she did it under some other trying circumstances. Steady rain pelted the all-weather track and even caused a stoppage after the first final of the 1,600-meter run. She did it on a track that had puddles forming throughout the day and out of blocks that were slippery at best.
“When I came out of the blocks, it was not looking good,” she said. “I was in so much pain pushing out of the blocks.”
But she fought through it, trusted her hamstring to hold out and used her blazing speed to cross the line nearly .25 ahead of second-place Ally Bartoszewicz of Vincentian Academy.
“As I picked up speed, the pain went away,” said Wise. “I was shocked at my time. My goal was just to qualify. I didn’t expect to win.”
The meet was finally suspended with about half of its events remaining and will resume at 10 a.m. Saturday. Still left on the track are the 300 hurdles, 800 run, 200 dash, 3,200 run and 1,600 relay. The pole vault and jumps still need to be completed.
Wise ran the anchor leg of the 400 relay and was forced to pull up at the end because of the hamstring. Still, the Prexies finished in second place and qualified for the state tournament.
Wise was one of three local winners.
Jenna Lucas of Fort Cherry repeated as Class AA javelin champion with a throw of 141-10 and Kailyn Clancy of California defended her shot put title by throwing 45-6 1/2 and also repeated in the discus with a throw of 118-1.
Lucas, headed to the University of Central Florida, is now a two-time WPIAL champion and will attempt to become a two-time state champion in Shippensburg over the Memorial Day weekend. She won last year’s javelin there with a 147-4 effort.
“It was such a bad day, especially with the grip, which is the biggest problem” said Lucas, who hit 157-5 to break the Fort Cherry record set by Jessie Merckle in last week’s Southern Qualifier.
“I was psyching myself out. The rain was slowing me down. I put chalk on my fingers and grip, and focused on just holding on tight.”
Lucas also said she needed 1 1/2-inch spikes for the grass runway and that slowed her approach.
“I tried to drive my knees more,” she said. “The rain can make the javelin feel heavier, but there isn’t anything you can do about that.”
Lucas was third in the javelin as a sophomore and fifth as a freshman.
Clancy won her second straight shot put title WPIAL with a put that was 2-6 1/2 longer than last year’s winning effort of 43-0.
“My shoes are soaked,” said Clancy. “I have another pair of shoes for the discus but I’m not putting them on.”
Clancy has had great success at Baldwin. Not only is she a four-time gold medalist, but she also hit her personal best in the shot, 46-10, at the Baldwin Invitational earlier this month.
“I hope I do as good at states,” Clancy said. “I tried to stay warmed up. It’s not really that cold, just wet.”
Addy Knetzer of Chartiers-Houston hit a PR of 42-10 to take second place and earn a spot in the state tournament.
In the discus, Clancy’s first-place throw was 5-7 better than Lucas’ 113-1 that earned her second place. Lucas’ teammate, Rachel Bellhy, threw 111-7 for third place, and also will head to Shippensburg for the PIAA meet.