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Freeport's girls track and field team plans to follow in the footsteps of the boys squad and capture a WPIAL Class AA championship this spring.
The boys finished second in 2009 before taking the title last season.
The girls settled for runner-up honors last year and could be poised to take the final step and hoist the championship trophy.
We're hoping, Freeport coach Bill Dillen said. So many things can happen along the way, but that's our goal. We'll see what happens. We're excited and anxious.
With solid athletes in almost every event, the Freeport girls appear to have the balance and depth required to make a run at the team title.
For starters, Freeport returns all four members — Taylor Bombalski, Kamri Brestensky, Chelsea Chaffman and Aly Moore — of the 1,600-meter relay team that finished third at the WPIAL Class AA individual finals.
Lynsey Gugino and Bronte Soul claimed fifth-place medals in the 300 hurdles and triple jump, respectively, at WPIALs.
The Yellowjackets should be particularly strong in the jumping events, where Nicolette Blake, Harley Westerman and Moore also provide kick.
Freeport received an extra boost with the return of distance runner Kayla Zboran, who missed last season with an injury. Zboran finished seventh at the WPIAL Class AA cross country championships this past fall.
The Deer Lakes girls could make a move in the WPIAL Class AA team playoffs, as well.
The Lancers also will be zeroed in on defending their WPIAL title in the 400 relay, which returns three of four members. Lauren L'Herbier, Kala Rodi and Stephanie Schneider are back, but Paige Prato has moved on to Division III Bethany (W.Va.).
The Lancers also welcomed back three of four members — Shannon Dugan, L'Herbier and Rodi — of their fourth-place 1,600 relay. Again, the lone graduation loss was Prato.
We're kind of in the process of determining who will replace Paige, Deer Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. As long as they stay healthy, I think there's a good chance to contend and repeat.
In addition to her relay contributions, Rodi took fourth place in the 200 during her impressive freshman year.
Another local Class AA athlete to watch is Burrell freshman sprinter Kami Kaczanowicz. She qualified for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships last summer, and her best times in the 100 and 200 would have been Burrell records.
In Class AAA, Highlands senior Vicki Crise, a Division I Winthrop (S.C.) recruit, finished fourth in the 100 hurdles at the WPIAL finals last year. The three girls who placed in front of Crise were seniors, so that makes her the early favorite to win the WPIAL title.
The Kiski Area girls missed the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs last year but could be on the rise with a pair of Division I recruits to rally around. Felicia Reid is headed to Cornell, and Kylie Jackson has committed to St. Francis (Pa.).
Reid finished third, behind two seniors, in the javelin at last year's WPIAL Class AAA finals and sixth in the state.
Jackson qualified for WPIALs in the 1,600 last season and is coming off a successful indoor season.
We have good people in every event, and we've got some depth, Kiski Area coach Tom Berzonsky said. We've kind of got some questions in the jumps, but I think we're going to be good there, too.
Read more: Freeport charts path to WPIAL title - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/highschool/s_730024.html#ixzz1IDiNtQYE