Track & Field notebook: Nine UHS athletes make PIAA championships

Unionville's Alicia Minelli qualified for three events in the state PIAA track and field meet after a strong showing at the District 1 meet.

By Hannah Christopher, Staff Writer,

Last Thursday and Friday nine Unionville Track and Field athletes qualified for the 2011 PIAA Track and Field Championship.  The meet was held at Coatesville High School for the District 1, AAA competition that is notorious for being the most competitive in the state.   The state meet will be held this Friday May 27 and 28th at Shippensburg University.  You may follow results at the PIAA track and Field website for quick results. (   or anyone who is interested we can take a road trip to cheer on our Unionville athletes live!

In the girls division, Alicia Minella qualified in three events for the Indians.  Minella placed 4th in the 100 meter hurdles with a 14.97, 5th in the 200 (25.45) and will  compete in the 4 by 400 meter relay along with Kelsey McDonald, Christine Mapa and Kim Lapsynszski.  Susie Pancoast qualified in the discus by placing first and also in the javelin with a third.  In the very challenging two mile run (8 long and hard laps around the track) Lauren Mills qualified in 10:56 with a fourth place.  Lauren ran a 5 minute flat in the mile at the Unionville Invitational so I predict a faster time for her this Saturday.  Lauren has the ability and desire to compete with the best in the state of PA along with the rest of this group of very talented girls.

Unionville's Susie Pancoast won the discus and placed third in javelin in the Ditrict 1 championships and will be heading to the PIAA meet.

Three Unionville boys are headed to Shippensburg on Saturday.  Glenn Burkhardt, who is becoming a favorite to watch in the 3200 meter run (2 miles), ran a 9:14 for first place.  Burkhardt was 7 seconds ahead of the next runner from Downingtown West. Earlier this season Burkhardt ran a phenomenal 9:07 at the Henderson Invitational.  Going into Saturday’s state meet Glenn has 3 guys from district 7 who have all run a 9:16 on his heels.

A sophomore star, Steve Yannoconne qualified in the mile with a 4:21 which has him place 8th and qualified him for States. The winner of the district mile, Drew Magaha from Upper Moreland ran a 4:10 which is incredible and smashed the district record.  Yannocone  is already setting the groundwork for the next couple of years  for high achieving goals and times.  He has what I have seen in other Unionville distance runners over the years that have had a lot of success.  He has good coaching, discipline, talent and is smart to boot.

The final qualifier is Perry Hopkins who qualified in the javelin with a toss of 181-09.  Hopkins is seeded 9th in the state.

When asked about the competitive nature of district one the Indians Coach Mark Lacianca said, “There are 12 districts in the state and District 1 (the one Unionville is in) is by far the toughest.  e.g.  Anne Birkenmaier and Emily Fisher were 9th and 11th in the district in the 3200 and they would have gone to states in four other districts (at least).  It is what it is and I prefer to compete against the best.”

I asked Coach Lacianca what is your secret to consistently qualifying your distance runners for state?    “Having great kids buy into the program and work really hard.  I have been fortunate to continue to take distance runners to states and the runners deserve the credit, not me.”  Lacianca continued “Our girls finished 4th in the district (out of 68 teams), which is quite an accomplishment.  We have had a great spring season on both sides and we are looking forward to the state meet this weekend.”

The PIAA Track and Field Championship will be held Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.  Preliminaries for running events and final for field events are on Friday with all other events state champions decided on Saturday.  The weather report as of today according to is 82 and scattered storm for Saturday.  If you are looking for something different to do with your weekend, bring out your families and go out and cheer and see some amazing athletic talent. Check out this web site for more information Official Meet Web Site

The Unionville Times' own Hannah Christopher (left), seen here with Laura DiPaolo, joined hundreds of local runners earlier this month in the Kennett Run.

In more running news, the Kennett Run was a huge success with a number of UnionvilleTimes readers and local athletes having success.  With 2600 runners in the 10k and 5 k some of the runners who won awards from our area are the following: Scott Young, Lars Tuvesson, Alex Wilkins Allison Guzzio, Nathalie Matte all winning awards in in the 10k.  Dave Lowe, Debbie Pellegrino, Olivia Young, Tiffany Garber, Laura Dipaolo,  Lilly Dietrich, Sharon Schnarrs, Taylor Schnarrs, Mary and Anna Iacocco, Hannah Bass all locals running fast times.

For anyone interested in more local races you can check out Chester County Running Store in West Chester. Kevin Kelly has races almost every weekend along with workouts. Feel free to contact me if you  want to do a track workout or for me to guide you to races in the areas.

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