Bonetti sets record in discus, earns MVP as Butler girls place 2nd at Invitational
BUTLER TWP — Ava Bonetti's final appearance at the Butler Girls Track and Field Invitational proved to be her most memorable.
Butler's senior set a new Invite record Friday in the discus with a throw of 122 feet, 11 1/2 inches, placing first in the event. That performance, coupled with her second-place finish in the shot put (37-10), earned her Field MVP honors.
The previous discus standard was held by Baldwin's Katie Barker, who won the 2002 event with a distance of 122-4.
Bonetti helped Butler's girls place second in the team standings behind Shaler.
“She was really focused today,” said Butler throwing coach Bill McElroy of Bonetti. “She's been doing very well, meeting the state-qualifying standard at every meet.”
Friday's weather was cold and windy, but it did not stop Bonetti from performing at a high level.
“I like to throw when it's cold,” she said. “I was in my comfort zone today and was looking to break the record in the discus.”
“The wind can affect the discus,” said McElroy, “but if you can keep it flat, as she did, you can still get a good distance on it.”
Also earning gold in the field was Seneca Valley senior Jayme Rutkowski, who managed 119 feet, 1 inch in the javelin.
“I was hoping to break 120 today, but with how muddy the field was and the wind, I was happy with my throw. I came here to win.”
Rutkowski is hoping Friday's performance will be a springboard toward even bigger feats later this season. She is eyeing a third straight trip to the PIAA Championship Meet in May.
“Hopefully, once the weather turns, I will hit my peak,” she said.
Mars' Lydia Dennis rose to the occasion despite not being 100 percent.
She bested a strong field in the triple jump by leaping 37 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
“I have a pre-fracture in my right leg,” she said after her win. “It's from all the training I've done. I knew today that I didn't have that many good jumps in me, so I had to get a strong one right at the start and I did.”
Dennis' personal best in the triple jump is 38-5 1/4. She still has hopes of surpassing that before her junior campaign is finished, saying, “I'll be fine.”
Mars' girls also took home a first-place effort on the track as the quartet of Kristina LaRocca, Erica Hans, Kayla King and Sabrina Edwards won the 1,600 relay with a time of four minutes, 11.86 seconds.
Notes: Shaler's Brianna Schwartz won the 1,600 and 3,200-meter run, setting a new Invite record in the former with a time of 4:54.15. She was named Track MVP for her efforts.