Puleio, Williams set records at district championship meet

May 20—It was a record-breaking day for Meadville's Megan Puleio and Nic Williams.

The two Meadville track athletes took advantage of a hot, sunny Saturday at Slippery Rock University at the District 10 Track and Field Championships.

Puleio, a sophomore, broke the District 10 meet record in the 800-meter run. In her first competition since battling back from a foot injury, Puleio ran the race in two minutes and 13.11 seconds, about three seconds faster than the previous record set in 2010. The record was on her mind heading into the race.

"My dad told me about it and I thought it would be cool to get. Last year I wanted to do it, but the waterfall kinda messed me up and I got boxed in," Puleio said. "I was out for three weeks and started training again this week so I didn't know if I'd get it."

Puleio typically competes in the 1,600-meter run and the 400-meter dash but did less events on Saturday due to her injury.

"She is just amazing to watch," Meadville head coach Amy Lynn said. "She digs down so deep and gives it everything she has. That was her goal yesterday. That's why we pulled her out of other events to allow her to shine — and she did."

Puleio's win will send her to the PIAA Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University. She made the trip last year in the 800 and 400, as well as twice in cross country and once in indoor track.

Joining Puleio at states will be Williams, Payton Costello and Alaina Wilson-Dixon.

Williams, a senior and Mercyhurst University football commit, won the 400 in 49.72 seconds. His time set a new program record, breaking his own record. Williams repeated as District 10 champion and will make the trek to Shippensburg for the second consecutive year.

"I thought about it all year. There was some pressure and I had a chip on my shoulder to get back to where I wanted to be," Williams said. "I had my doubts this morning with my hamstring because it was a little tight, but I pushed through and did what I had to do."

The senior sprinter is also coming off an injury and was pulled from a few events he usually participates in. He did compete in the 200-meter dash and set a new program record there as well. His time of 22.40 broke the record set by Dontae Burnett last year. Unfortunately for Williams, it was 0.10 seconds below the state qualifying standard.

"In the 400 it will be wonderful to see what he can do at states with some competition. He hasn't really had anyone close to him this year," Lynn said. "In the 200, it was surprising he broke the record of someone who made states but then he doesn't get to go. To go out as a senior with two school records, I am very proud of him."

Wilson-Dixon won the shot put with a throw of 34-feet and 4.75-inches. The sophomore said winning District 10 wasn't a goal this season, but she is very proud of herself.

"It's taken a lot to get here especially because I started so low. I'm very happy for myself," Wilson-Dixon said. "I just wanted to PR and didn't even think I'd make it to districts this year. I'm thankful for everyone around me that supported me."

Costello, a senior, won the discus (107-6) to put an exclamation point on her career with the Bulldogs.

"Coach (Andy) Herbstritt said Payton had a great week of practice and it really showed," Lynn said. "Alaina had improved four or five feet over the last couple weeks. She's taken everything coach Herbstritt has given her and put it together at the right time."

Coming up just short in returning to Shippensburg was Marley Rodax in the 100-meter hurdles. Rodax finished second in the event and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.

The junior overcame a rolled ankle that happened in warmups before a preliminary heat of the 100-meter hurdles.

"She got it taped up and it was really swollen and hurting her," Lynn said. "She gave it everything she had. I'm happy she has another year because it was really heartbreaking for her."

Also coming up with second-place finishes were Jordan Lawrence (triple jump), Justice Esser (discus) and Alivia Gomora (javelin).

Several other athletes came home with medals. Marlaya McCoy was fourth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 200. Camryn Guffey placed fifth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 800. Also in a distance event, Maria Megill-Herrera was fifth in the 3,200-meter run.

Natalie Smith was seventh in the 100 hurdles while Samantha Fronce and Addison Miller were fifth and ninth in the 300-meter hurdles. Emily Schnauber was fourth in the high jump and Tatum Gorney seventh in pole vault. Gianna Araujo and McKayla Roberts were fourth and fifth in the shot put, respectively.

In the relays, the 4x400 team of Puleio, Fronce, Savannah Runyan and Tiernan Zinz was third. The 4x100 team of Ruyan, Gorney, McCoy and Jayda Gongawhere was sixth and the 4x800 team of Fronce, Guffey, Runyan and Megill-Herrera was third.

For the boys, senior Max Dillaman placed fifth in the 1,600 and Vance Hohman was 10th. Ben Welsh placed fifth in the 800 while Jack Moral was ninth in the 300 hurdles.

In the throws, Alex Hauf was third in shot and fourth in discus. Brennen Dinsmore placed fourth in the shot and fifth in discus. Senior Tate Reichel placed fourth in javelin and Zachary Carr was seventh.

The boys 4x100 relay with Cole Shaulis, Graham Shellhaas, Daejon Duryee and Lawrence placed fifth and the 4x800 team of Dillaman, Hohman, Welsh and Griffin Aitken was sixth.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at