After lost 2020 season, Titans get back on track


Addison Kania

Although the track season was unable to occur last spring due to the pandemic, the athletes and coaches bounced back this year with many successes. The team had nine athletes advance to WPIALs with many finding success in their events. Senior Mayah Charity, who competed in the 200m dash, had a time of 26.18 which ranks her 4th in Shaler Area Track and Field History. Junior Jack Keenan also finished out the season with a great performance in hurdles where he had a time of 16.23 nearing the Shaler Area All-Time Top 10 List.

These accomplishments were made possible thanks to the hard training and work put in earlier in the season. During the pre-season, many athletes focused on strength training along with sprint conditioning for the sprinters and endurance conditioning for the distance runners. Most of the distance runners came off of the cross country season in the fall so they started with a good base of mileage and were mostly focusing on strength and speed to be better prepared for the spring season.

However, training hard was not the only reason the team was successful this year; they also had the right mindset and goals for the season.

“Our goals as a team were to continue to develop the track and field program, build on athletes’ success, and to advance as many athletes as possible to make it to the WPIAL and State Championships,” Coach Shawn Ryan said.

Even with pandemic issues putting their season on hold for a few days, the athletes all came back ready to fulfill these goals. While some may think that track is an individual sport, this group of athletes really developed together as a team and supported each other in every way.

“Even though we all have individual goals and successes, we all cheered each other on at events and even during practice we kept everyone on their feet when the workout got tough,” senior Haley Sahr, who ran the 300m hurdles at WPIALs, said.

With this team mindset, the athletes were able to improve a lot over the season and create many great memories. Junior Ella Katona really enjoyed this season saying her favorite moment was during the Fox Chapel with North Allegheny Meet. North Allegheny had three teams competing in the 4×4 and Shaler only had one team. However, Shaler managed to pull out the win which was a very exciting moment for the whole team.

The WPIAL Championship also brought many great memories for the athletes. Junior Sam Hennen, who competed in the 3200m at WPIALs, recalled her favorite moments.

“WPIALs was very exciting and rewarding after many months of training with my team. I really enjoyed watching my friends compete in their events. My favorite moment from WPIALs was competing against some of the best distance runners in the state,” Hennen said.

Coach Ryan also enjoyed being able to coach the seniors all four years of their high school track and field career as it was his first group that he coached all the way through. He was very grateful for this opportunity saying “they were and are a special group of athletes.”

Overall, Coach Ryan was very happy with the improvements made during the season and all of the successes that the athletes accomplished.

“Both the boys and girls worked very hard to be their best! This season will have an impact on me as a coach and will help the future growth and development of the program in the years to come,” Ryan said.