Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gators Showing a Run of Talent

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gators Showing a Run of Talent

Article excerpt

When Gateway track coach Tom LaBuff looks at his boys team, he sees a ton of speed and talent.

What LaBuff doesn't see is numbers.

He's hoping the performances of his top athletes are enough to offset the team's lack of depth, thus carrying the Gators to another fine season.

Both the Gateway boys and girls teams are looking to defend section championships. Last season, both won Class AAA Section 5 titles and advanced to the WPIAL team tournament. The boys advanced to the four-team championship meet, while the girls were eliminated in the first round.

"The potential is there [to repeat as section champions]," LaBuff said. "Both teams have quite a number of elite athletes. It just depends on how we match up with other teams."

Individually, the boys team boasts a bevy of athletes who could push for not only WPIAL, but PIAA gold medals. The question is: Will it be enough to help the team? Fewer students came out for the team this season, so in some dual meets -- particularly against the better teams -- Gateway's lack of depth could become an issue.

"We're suspect because of our depth," LaBuff said, adding that he believes the group is built more for invitationals than dual meets.

Both teams were solid at last Saturday's Tri-State Track and Field Coaches Association championships at West Mifflin. Out of the 30 teams participating, the boys placed fifth and the girls ninth.

When it comes to the Gateway boys, the name of the game is speed, speed, speed. As is typically the case, the Gators have plenty of it. Seniors Cameron Gray and Jae'Len Means are two of the top sprinters in the WPIAL and senior Montae Nicholson is the defending WPIAL Class AAA champion and PIAA runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles.

Nicholson is familiar to many area sports fans because of his football talents. One of the most sought after recruits in the state, Nicholson will attend Michigan State. But football isn't the only sport Nicholson will play when he gets to East Lansing. …

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