Six Bulldogs head to state track and field meet
May 26—After the Meadville track and field team collected 43 medals at the District 10 track and field championships last weekend, six athletes will head to Shippensburg University for the 2023 PIAA championships.
Three seniors; Dontae Burnett, Alex Gallagher and Kayla Baker will make the trip with one junior, sophomore and freshman in Nic Williams, Marley Rodax and Megan Puleio, respectively. It is the first state meet appearance for all six athletes. It's also the most athletes Meadville will bring to states since 2019.
The two-day competition at Seth Grove Stadium begins today and wraps up tomorrow.
"For the seniors, the idea is to PR (personal record) and really enjoy the experience," Meadville head coach Amy Lynn said. "They all worked really hard this season and one last PR is doable."
For Williams, Rodax and Puleio, Lynn hopes all three can return in the future.
"They're going to be nervous in this first year," Lynn said. "Hopefully they will get this first year under their belt and return in the future to win a medal."
Puleio stands the best chance of getting past prelims and winning a medal in the finals, Lynn said.
The freshman is seeded 26th in the 400-meter run with a time of 58.88 seconds. She's also seeded 23rd in the 800-meter run (2:18.20).
"If she would PR in the 400, she could possibly make the top eight," Lynn said. "In just three days, Megan has learned to come out of the blocks for the 400 and she's done a great job. With the standing starts there is the possibility for a little wiggle and we don't want that."
In the 800, Puleio has her eyes on the school record, again. She broke the school record in the first dual meet of the season and has broken it again over the course of the season.
Rodax, a Cochranton student, is seeded 28th in the 100-meter hurdles (17.48). Gallagher is seeded 25th in the javelin (92-feet and 6-inches) and Baker is seeded 29th in the triple jump (33-feet and 8-inches).
Williams is seeded 25th in the 400 (50.71) and Burnett, a first-year track athlete, is seeded 35th in the 200-meter dash (22.44).
All three events with lane assignments that Meadville is competing in, the 400, 200 and 100 hurdles, the Bulldogs will be in Lane 1.
"I think it is good for all three kids. In Lane 1, you can see exactly where everyone is," Lynn said. "You try to make up that staggered start and on the home stretch you can see where everyone is. No one will be sneaking up behind you."
The Bulldogs arrived in Shippensburg on Thursday and got to warm up at the stadium to get used to the facilities.
"All of the coaches and I are very proud of them and all their hard work this season," Lynn said. "We wish them the best of luck."
Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.