Kuchta races to WPIAL glory

By DAN THOMPSON

 Baldwin has another WPIAL track champion.

 Senior Andrew Kuchta crushed the competition in the 3,200-meter race in the WPIAL track championships hosted at Baldwin in mid-May. 

 Kuchta qualified for state championships at Shippensburg University with a time of 9 minutes and 10 seconds. 

 Track Coach Ed Helbig had high praise for Kuchta’s WPIAL championship run.

 “Cookie’s performance was outstanding,” Helbig said. “He dominated the race from start to finish.” 

 Kuchta said he started the WPIAL race with the mindset that he was going to win, and that he knew he was going to win as soon as the race started.

 During the entire race, he kept thinking that all he needed to do was keep doing what he was doing and that he would win.

 This is the second straight year that a Baldwin runner has won the 3,200-meter run at the WPIAL championship. Last year Paul DeGregorio won, while Kuchta finished third.

 Kuchta has always been a runner.  He first started running in seventh grade at St. Elizabeth’s.  He has participated, and dominated, in track all four of his high school years.

 Kuchta said he felt good about his chances at states. He said he did not know which schools from across the state might offer the strongest competition, but he did not plan any changes in his preparations.

 “I am very confident going into states,” he said. “I just need to keep doing my normal workout, nothing special, and I feel I will be fine.”

 Kuchta was not the only Baldwin track athlete who qualified to compete at Shippensburg. 

Sophomore Luke Smorey earned a spot at states with a javelin throw of 182 feet, 8 inches. Senior Krista Kuss qualified for states by finishing fourth place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.77 seconds.