Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Vincentian’s Abdalah busy hitting the books

- By Brad Everett

Vincentian’s Marianne Abdalah really hits the books.

Last week, she was named one of three valedictor­ians for her graduating class.

Oh, and then there are those other books … Record books.

She hopes to add her name to a few more of those before her senior year is complete.

Abdalah is one of the most decorated runners in WPIAL history. Last fall, she became just the second athlete — boy or girl — to win four WPIAL cross country championsh­ips. She’s also a three-time PIAA cross country champion, and has won two gold medals at the PIAA track championsh­ips and one at the WPIAL championsh­ips.

Abdalah’s record in track speaks for itself, and she appears to be on course for another big season. Two weeks ago, she won the title in the 3,200-meter run at the Tri-State Track Coaches Associatio­n championsh­ips. Abdalah is the twotime reigning PIAA Class 2A champion in that event. She owns the fastest times in WPIAL Class 2A in both the 1,600 and 3,200 this spring. She will compete in today’s Butler Invitation­al.

“She’s looking great to me this season so far,” said Vincentian coach Erika Suhy. “She’s definitely progressin­g well. She ran the fastest two-mile time at TriState. The times that she’s been running, coming off hard training have been impressive. And she will run even faster when it matters most. She’s definitely right where she needs to be.”

Suhy is a former standout distance runner at Elizabeth Forward who went on to run at West Virginia. Abdalah is a future Mountainee­r who will run track and cross country at West Virginia. Before then, though, she’d like to add to her collection of 10 WPIAL and PIAA individual gold medals. She has successful­ly bounced back from an injury — severe tendinitis around her shin — that caused her to be less than 100 percent during cross country season.

“At the start of my senior year, I was thinking what would be the best way to go out,” Abdalah said. “At the beginning, I was like ‘I want to win the state cross country title.’ That obviously didn’t happen for me. I got injured and I didn’t have the best season that I wanted, so I had to regroup. I still got the scholarshi­p I wanted to WVU, so that was a plus at the beginning of the year.

“So now after I got the scholarshi­p, I still don’t want to stop winning titles and I want to hopefully win that state title outdoors. That would be the last kind of bang before I leave for college.”

And about that valedictor­ian thing ...

Abdalah, who is planning on majoring in premed in college, might not be able to attend her graduation. Vincentian’s commenceme­nt date is May 26. The PIAA championsh­ips are that weekend in Shippensbu­rg, and the 3,200 final will be contested the next morning.

Said Abdalah: “I race Saturday morning so I don’t know if I’ll be able to go or not. Probably not. But it’s great to [be valedictor­ian].”

New Brighton

New Brighton’s Anthony Milliner has big goals this season, and they soar well beyond repeating as WPIAL and PIAA 2A triple jump champion. Milliner, who won the 200 along with the triple jump April 8 at the Warrior Classic, wants to be the best triple jumper in Pennsylvan­ia, regardless of class, and hopes to break the PIAA championsh­ip record of 50 feet, 5 inches. Milliner, a senior who has signed with Kent State, leaped 48-5½ to win last year’s title.

“He really wants to repeat as WPIAL champion,” New Brighton coach Erin Fritz said.

“He told me he’s not losing in the triple jump all year. He doesn’t want to lose a single meet. He really wants to win the triple jump not only in Double-A, but in Triple-A. He wants to be the best at both levels.

“The record in the state is 50-feet-something and he definitely wants to go for that. I think a secondary goal is to try to win the triple crown in all of the jumps. Win the triple, long and high jump. Do well in the 200, too.”

Top marks

Four girls have posted marks this spring that rank among the top 25 in WPIAL history: Oakland Catholic’s Jayla Ellis (second, 100 hurdles), Canon-McMillan’s Chyna Beck (11th, triple jump), Butler’s Alexis Leech (13th, 400) and Butler’s Taylor Weaver (20th, pole vault).

 ?? Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette ?? New Brighton's Anthony Milliner is one of the top triple jumpers in the WPIAL and has his sights set on the PIAA record.
Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette New Brighton's Anthony Milliner is one of the top triple jumpers in the WPIAL and has his sights set on the PIAA record.

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