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Annual meet at Mansion gets new name

It will feature the same quality of competition, but under a different name.

That’s what officials and coaches involved in Friday’s Altoona Mountain Lion Track and Field Classic at Mansion Park are saying about this year’s event, which was formerly known as the West Central Coaches Track and Field Invitational.

“It’s the same caliber of meet, the same competition,” Altoona Area High School boys track and field coach Mike Adams said. “All that’s really changed is the name.”

Former longtime Altoona Area High School girls track and field coach Steve Rhodes, who will serve as the meet director, concurred.

“The name is now the Altoona Mountain Lion Track and Field Classic,” Rhodes said. “The only change is the name. Everything else is the same. It will continue to feature some of the best 2A and 3A competition in Central Pennsylvania”

Rhodes said that more than 40 schools — 16 in Class 3A and 28 in Class 2A — will field teams in the Altoona Mountain Lion Classic.

At least 21 events in the four divisions will feature athletes ranked in the top 10 in Pennsylvania. This includes Mifflin County girls javelin thrower Skylar Ciccolini, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Windber Stadium will be the host site for this year’s much smaller West Central Coaches Meet, which will feature predominantly Class 2A programs. That meet will also be held on Friday.

Bellwood-Antis, a Class 2A program, will honor tradition and participate in the West Central Coaches Meet at Windber, according to B-A coach Nick Lovrich.

“Altoona always did a great job hosting the event, but we’ve always gone to the West Central Coaches Meet,” Lovrich said. “We have a long history with it, and because of that history, we felt that we should be going to the West Central Coaches Meet at Windber.

Other area teams scheduled to go to Windber include Everett, Northern Bedford, Northern Cambria and Portage.

“The one in Windber is a Class 2A meet, so it will be a little smaller than what Altoona had last year,” Lovrich said. “There won’t be as many teams (in Windber), but there will be some good teams there, so it will be a pretty competitive meet.”

So will the Altoona Mountain Lion Classic, despite the name change. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday with no admission charge.

“Our event is going to offer the same great competition, the same professional officiating, the same great awards,” Rhodes said. “We’re very excited to be hosting the meet.”

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