Indoor Track Athletes Kick It Up a Notch to Qualify for States

When the Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association (PTFCA) Indoor Track and Field Championships are held February 24 on the main campus at Penn State, six members of the Fox Chapel Area team will be competing among the best of the best.

Last year, the Foxes only sent two runners to the state event, Sarena Seeger and Grace Sisson, but this year they will send the largest contingent ever. Fox Chapel Area High School’s most decorated qualifier was senior Kate Carnevale, who earned gold medals in the 60-meter dash and 200-meters event, and also advanced as part of the distance medley team. Besides Kate, that group also includes seniors Sarena Seeger and Annika Urban, and juniors Brooke Krally and Grace Sisson.

Both Grace and Sarena also qualified as individuals in the mile, and junior Christian Fitch will represent the boys’ team at states in the 3,000-meter race.

“It was the best possible news because everyone who we considered a possibility made it,” says Coach Tom Moul. “We thought we had a couple of shoe-ins, but you never know how things will go, a couple of kids on the bubble. But everybody got in, and I was very happy about that.”

As Coach Moul explains it, advancing to the state-level of indoor competition is incredibly difficult for two reasons. First, all class divisions (1A-6A) are thrown into one big pool which widens the scope of contestants, and many events accept only half as many athletes as does the PIAA outdoor track and field championships.

“I think states should be interesting and be a lot of fun for them,” adds the coach. “The track is 200-meters and smaller than any track we’ve run on this season. Plus, it’s banked and there are more turns, which is different. I do think we’ve got several possibilities for medaling, but I don’t want to speculate too much.”

Great Season with Many New Records Set

While the state competition is the topic for discussion at the moment, overall the indoor teams and their members accomplished a lot during the winter, and there were plenty of highlights.

  • The distance medley team of broke Kate, Sarena, Grace, Brooke, and Annika broke the previous record set last year.
  • Grace broke three individual school records in the mile, 3,000- and 3,200-meter events previously set by teammate Sarena, a Penn State recruit.
  • Junior Abby Keiffer broke the 400-meter school record formerly set last year by her sister (and fellow triplet) Maddie Kieffer.
  • The 4 x 800 relay team of Sarena, Annika, Grace, and Brooke and the 4 x 400 relay comprised of Kate, Maddie, Marissa, and senior Hannah Flanders also broke the previous indoor records.
  • Senior Eras Yager broke the school indoor record in the shot put.

A Strong Season

In the days leading up to the release of the state indoor qualifiers’ names, the Foxes had great showings, including those at the final meet of the season – the Tristate Track Coaches Association (TSTCA) Championships – held February 16 at Edinboro University.

One of the hottest contests of the day was between Fox Chapel Area’s Christian Fitch and North Allegheny’s Dan McGoey, who seesawed the lead throughout the 3,000-meter race and battled it out to the very end. Christian finished second with a time of 8:53.67, a personal indoor best for him, and just a couple of steps behind Dan’s 8:52.83.

While they did not advance to states, the 4 x 200 relay team of seniors Mitchell Miles and Korey Simmons, junior Evan Kieffer, and freshman Maurice Sampson-Schulter medaled in Edinboro, and Korey medaled individually in the 60-meter hurdles.

“Overall, they all performed even better than I had hoped at Edinboro,” says Coach Moul. “The girls’ team was the runner-up, and the boys’ did really well and placed third. Between the boys’ and girls’ teams that day, we had six individual medalists and three relays that medaled. It was a great day!”