7 Headed to PIAAs

In his many years guiding the Foxes track and field and cross country teams, Tom Moul has coached some of Fox Chapel Area’s greatest athletes. Some have won WPIAL and PIAA championships; some have graced the winners’ podium as medalists. Many were recruited to compete in college. This year was no different, as some of the school’s best runners, throwers, and jumpers earned the chance to compete at the PIAA championships on May 24-25 at Shippensburg University.

Seniors Rowan Gwin, Mason Miles, and Anna Troutman; juniors Alyssa Quackenbush and Anna Kintner; sophomore Claire Conti; and freshman Taylor Wilkinson will represent Fox Chapel Area in a cumulative seven events: the 4 x 100-meter girls relay, girls discus, girls long jump and high jump, boys shotput, and the boys 3,200-and 1,600-meter races.

New school records were set by the 4 x 100 relay, Rowan (1,600), Mason (shotput), and Anna Kintner (long jump).

Leap of Faith

One standout performance at the recent WPIAL meet was that of Lehigh University recruit Anna Troutman. She won WPIAL gold in the high jump (5’5”) and will also participate in the 4 x 100-meter relay along with teammates Anna Kintner, Taylor Wilkinson, and Alyssa Quackenbush. In all, Anna medaled in four events.

After winning the WPIAL title, Anna says, “My first reaction after finding out I had won was pure excitement. I’ve been really trying to improve my technique in the high jump, which has caused me to have to relearn and adjust some things. Hopefully,  now, I have the hang of it and can use all I’ve learned this season to get that extra inch for states. This (gold medal) has been something I’ve been working toward for so long and it finally happened. Moments like that are hard to beat!

Anna not only owns the indoor and outdoor school record in the high jump, but she is also the indoor record holder in the 60-meter hurdle and a member of the 4 x 200 relay team.

Distance Racer Among the Best

Appalachian State-bound Rowan Gwin came away with two medals at WPIALs, racing against some of the fastest distance runners ever to come out of the region and state. Rowan is also ranked high in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and the events he will compete in at states are stacked. The athletes who consistently cross the finish line first are also nationally ranked and some of the best ever to come out of the WPIAL. As such, there were some thrilling finishes at WPIALs in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events, but Rowan proved once again that he is right where he belongs.

In the 1,600, Rowan set a new Foxes record with a finish of 4.11.51, breaking the previous record set in 1980. He says it was his most memorable race so far and prepared him well for PIAAs.

“I was really nervous going into that race and felt a lot of pressure,” Rowan says. “After the 1,600, I knew that I could race against the best racers in the state, so my nerves are a lot less now going into states. I was so happy that I was able to get that record on the record board.”

He also has his sights set on breaking the school record in the 3,200.

“I’m super close to the 3,200 record, so hopefully I can break that one, too,” he says. That record was set in 2014 by Colin Martin, who qualified for the Olympic trials in 2023.

While Rowan has participated in the state indoor track competition, this will be his first appearance in outdoor track.

Leap of a Lifetime

Junior Anna Kintner has undertaken several differing roles on the team as a jumper and racer. Normally her best jumping event is the triple jump – she holds the indoor school record (34’3”) – but it was her thrilling long jump at WPIALs that set a new outdoor school record and earned her a bronze medal and a trip to the state meet. Originally, she went into the championships ranked 24th in the long jump.

Anna says she didn’t really change anything in preparation for the meet. She explains, “I worked on getting fast up to the board and holding my knees up in my jump, and I’ve been working on my core strength to help with my distances.”

Thinking back on her performance, Anna recalls, “During the jump, I just cleared my mind and focused on hitting the board. I was surprised when I heard the number because I’ve been jumping behind the board throughout most of the season. It was a big jump for me compared to my other marks this season. It was exciting for everything to come together.”

Throwers Shine, Too

“We’re super excited to have two throwers competing at states,” coach Moul says. “This is the first time we’ve had that. We’ve had some great ones in the past, but never two at states.  Moreover, this is each’s second trip to this meet.

Those throwers are Mason Miles and Claire Conti, who brought home silver medals in the shotput and discus, respectively.

Mason’s throw of 57’6″ broke a school outdoor record previously set in 1997. He also holds the indoor record of 56’3.5”.

Claire’s throw of 119’2” was a personal record. Last year, Claire broke the outdoor freshman/sophomore school record in the discus.

“All of these athletes have already established themselves as all-time Fox Chapel Area greats,” says coach Moul. “Each of them also holds a school record, and a WPIAL medal gets them on the Track and Field Wall of Fame. The ultimate achievement for track and field is state medals. It’s very exciting.”