Plenty Of Gold For WVC Boys In 2A
SCRANTON — When basketball season ended a few months ago, Hanover Area’s Asad Whitehead looked back on his year but noticed something was missing.
“I had a pretty good season in basketball,” Whitehead said, “but I wasn’t able to dunk yet.”
The Hawkeyes junior figured it would be worth trying out for track and field again. He didn’t feel the sport was for him after an indoor season as a sophomore, but the jumping workouts might help him get above the rim.
That wasn’t long before Whitehead threw down his first dunk this spring. But track and field paid off with so much more for Whitehead on Wednesday.
With wins in the triple jump and long jump, Whitehead became the only Wyoming Valley Conference athlete to earn a pair of individual goes in the District 2 Class 2A boys track and field championships at Scranton. A bronze medal in the high jump added to one of the league’s most successful days in his districts debut.
“It’s a blessing. I didn’t think that I would be able to do it,” Whitehead said. “But my coaches did, my teammates did and I believed them. It came through today.”
As he returned to track and field, Whitehead had to juggle practice time with the Hawkeyes with AAU basketball. It’s a time crunch that became worth it as he experienced more and more personal bests.
“I like the feeling when you PR,” he said. “When you know it’s a good jump, what you just did is probably the best one. Then the feeling you get when they tell you it, it’s just amazing.”
Whitehead probably has never felt better jumping if that’s the case.
He set personal bests in the triple jump at 43-feet, 9 inches and the long jump at 21-7¾. Though bronze was just short of state qualification in the high jump, he got another PR there at 6-1.
Extra practice on the second phase of his triple jump helped Whitehead hit his winning mark on his first attempt.
The long jump gold didn’t come as easily. He got the finals on his first attempt by scratched twice after that. But a 21-foot leap to start the finals put Whitehead at ease, and he took over the lead on his final chance at a title.
“There was a lot of pressure,” Whitehead said. “There’s a lot of good competition there just waiting for me to mess up.”
Whitehead wasn’t the only track and field newcomer to shine in the WVC on Wednesday.
GAR’s Starmel Haskins is in his first year sprinting. But the district atmosphere didn’t keep him from running the top preliminary time in the 100, and he carried that momentum to a championship in 11.45 seconds.
“I heard people on the side of me, in back of me,” Haskins said. “I was like, I just got to go faster.”
Haskins is new to GAR but has heard all about its history as the school is set to merge into Wilkes-Barre Area. Next week at states, he’ll close the book on the program as its final state qualifier.
“It matters to me a lot to keep that tradition going on,” he said. “Win or lose at states, as long as I made it to states, it’s an honor.”
Holy Redeemer’s 4x800 relay was one of two other champions from the WVC. Bryce Zapusek, George Strish, Lukas Volpetti and Dominic Capaci won the Royals’ third straight title in the event in 8:21.53.
Northwest’s Matt Saxe took first in the javelin at 200-9 to go along with bronze in the long jump.
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