22 Months Later

Last Friday, the North Allegheny Track & Field Team traveled to Bethel Park to compete in their first meet in over 22 months.

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photo by Evelyn Wiethorn

Sophomore high jumper Rachael Johns attempts 4′ 6”

Evelyn Wiethorn, Staff Writer

Only two weeks into the 2021 spring season, the Track and Field Team piled into the Bethel Park stadium, eager to compete for the first time in 22 months. As it was the first meet since COVID-19, it sent a wave of excitement throughout the entire team and gave a refreshing start to the season. 

Head Coach John Neff has coached the North Allegheny Track & Field Team for over a decade, leading the team to a combined 14 WPIAL championships. 

After the meet ended, Neff gave his thoughts on the Tigers’ first competition.

“I thought it was a great start for the team,” said Neff, “It was a very relaxed, low-key meet where everyone could focus on getting the jitters out and how to manage a meet.” 

The Tigers are eager to get back into competing in meets as North Allegheny’s 2020 Track & Field season left the athletes unsatisfied and disappointed. Sadly, the shutdown last spring left the Tigers without a single outdoor meet. 

Lead sprints coach Dave Interthal also shared his thoughts on the meet and his excitement for the season ahead.

I think we all really needed this scrimmage to feel more confident.”

— Dave Interthal, Lead sprints coach

“I thought it was a great start after not having a meet for 22 months,” he said. “The first meet should be a great benchmark for us to measure our individual and team’s progress as the season goes on.” 

Although the competing team, Bethel Park, has fewer participants compared to North Allegheny, the meet was an excellent chance for both teams to compete in a low-stress environment. 

Junior Aidan Janowiak, a thrower for the Tigers, shared his thoughts.

“I think it was a good start to the season,” he said. “It lifted everyone’s spirits for the meets ahead. I think we all really needed this scrimmage to feel more confident.” 

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the North Allegheny Track & Field team has been split into “pods” depending on their event. This allows for minimal athletes to quarantine, giving the Tigers the best chance to be successful throughout the entire season 

 The long-awaited meet brought high hopes for the rest of the season. Senior Aveline Pleinter finished first in the 100 high hurdles.

“It was wonderful!” said Pleinter. “I PR’d (personal record) in the 100m high hurdles, which started the season on a good foot. I also got the opportunity to practice long jump in a really stress-free environment.” 

If the Bethel Park meet was any indication of the season to come, the North Allegheny Track & Field Team could not be faulted for expecting great individual and team performances.