Track: Conway, Stuckey compete at states

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
June 2, 2011

With the books officially closed on the 2011 Pennsylvania high school track and field season following last weekend’s PIAA championships at Shippensburg University, two Port Allegany Gators can lay claim to being among the top 20 Class AA athletes in the state in their events.

Crossing the line on the Seth Grove Stadium track in :15.55, Nick Conway finished fifth in his 110-meter hurdles preliminary heat. The time put him in 17th place – an agonizing one-one hundredth of a second out of 16th, and the last available spot in the semifinals.

“That’s not a bad showing,” coach George Riley said. “His heat was the closest. Out of eight lanes, I think seven were right on Nick’s time. They were right there at the finish line. He was very disappointed, and I told him, Look. You were upset with the mental aspect (unfamiliar starting blocks), and it was 85 degrees. And it was a fast race, and he hasn’t seen any competition all year.

“The things I have to do for next year is make sure he’s seeing competition in different invitationals … and I’ll measure his blocks,” Riley added. “So when we get to states, everything’s set. I think we’ll improve, and we’ll be back.”

Cyniel Hinton (Summit Academy) won the Class AA championship in :14.99. The Class AAA race was even faster, with Strath Haven’s Chris Williams blazing to the tape in :14.18 and the top seven finishers all going underneath the 15-second mark.

“It was stunning, the athletes that were down there,” Riley said. “I think Nick said to himself, ‘I want to do that.’ That was good for him. He’s a sophomore, he’s going to grow, and I think he can look at that and see what it takes to get to the next level.”

Meanwhile, three days after throwing more than 100 pitches in the baseball team’s playoff loss to Smethport, senior Camrin Stuckey finished 14th in the javelin competition at 162 feet, 5 inches.

“And not just batting practice, 85 miles an hour. He was hurting,” said Riley, noting that Stuckey’s mark at states was well under his normal 175-foot throws. “But Stuke’s a baseball player first and a track star second. I had the pleasure of having him as a bonus when I had him at track meets; in years past (before the dual-sport option), he would’ve played baseball and never even had a chance at track. I wish he would’ve fared better, but I told him, ‘Hey, you got here.’ The dual-sport thing worked out all right. I have no complaints.”

Rob Robbins (Northeast Bradford) won the Class AA event with a throw of 221-6, obliterating the old PIAA record by almost eight feet.

Although no North Tier League athletes managed to capture a state title, Sheffield speedster Kalil Slaughter came up inches short in the 100-meter dash, finishing second in :11.19. Two Potter County athletes also earned spots on the podium, with Oswayo Valley sophomore Barrett Kemp placing third in the 3,200-meter run – barely two seconds off the winning time – and Northern Potter senior Andrew Morgan taking sixth in the 1,600.

Back in Port, as Riley reflected on the Gators’ season, he saw plenty to be happy about.

“The boys’ winning streak is intact. The girls had a successful year. Two kids went to states. Districts was good. First time I think we’ve ever won the North Tier League meet (during Riley’s tenure as head coach), so I think it was a good year,” he said.

Hard to argue.

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