NEWARK, Del. - Several area track and field athletes recently qualified for the 46th annual USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.
Five members of the Lilly-based Mountain Top Track and Field Club - Arlee Simendinger, Brandon Weigand, Dylan Kutruff, Jadyn Tiracave and Noah Huffman - along with a couple of other area athletes - Hunter Belin and Dave Snyder - will compete in various events from July 23-29 at Morgan State University's Hughes Stadium in Baltimore.
The athletes qualified for nationals by placing in the top four in their respective events at the Region 2 championships at the University of Delaware earlier this month. They had qualified for the Region 2 by placing in the top four at the USATF Three Rivers Association championships in June at California (Pa.) State University in California, Pa.
Simender, a sophomore at Penn Cambria High School, won the Region 2 2,000-meter steeplechase in the Intermediate Girls Division in a time of 7 minutes, 38.64 seconds and was second in the 3,000 meters with a time of 11:27.59. She won the Three Rivers steeplechase in 8:23.92 and was second in the 3,000 with a time of 11:27.61.
Weigand, an Altoona Area High School junior, placed fourth in the Region 2 javelin in the Intermediate Boys Division with a throw of 145 feet, 2 inches. He had won the Three Rivers competition with a 152-7.
Kutruff, a recent Cambria Heights High School graduate, won the Region 2 Young Men's Division 3,000 meters with a time of 9:56.85. He had won the 3,000 at the Three Rivers meet in 9:45.77 and was second in the 1,500 in 4:28.45.
Tiracave, an eighth grader at Penn Cambria, placed first in the Region 2 Youth Girls Division javelin with a throw of 114-7. She had won the Three Rivers competition with a 108-1.
Huffman, a sophomore at Bishop McCort, was second in the Region 2 2,000 steeplechase in the Intermediate Boys Division with a time of 7:38.64. He had won the Three Rivers competition in 8:05.07.
Belin, competing unattached, placed fourth in the Region 2 long jump in the Youth Boys Division with a leap of 18-5. He had won the gold medal in the Three Rivers long jump competition with a 17-4 and also was eighth in the 100 dash.
Snyder, competing for the Nehemiah Track Club based in Altoona, placed third in the Region 2 Intermediate Boys 1,500 run with a time of 4:29.06. He had also placed third in the Three Rivers competition with a 4:39.81.
The five athletes advancing to nationals from the Mountain Top Track and Field Club ranks as the most ever for that club in Lois Smith's 28 years as coach.