Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na Wins ... Hither and Yon

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na Wins ... Hither and Yon

Article excerpt

North Allegheny's Shannon Yon, the reigning WPIAL Class AAA champion in the high jump, has the drive and determination to reach a rarefied level.

"She is ultra-competitive and she wants to be the best," Tigers coach John Neff said. "Some kids may be able to compete with Shannon in terms of talent, but they just are not willing to put in the time she does.

"She realizes the end justifies the means. She's willing to put in long hours to do it. She has her priorities straight."

Neff paused, so as to ensure he was not leaving the impression that Yon was not supremely talented, gifted with tremendous fast- twitch muscle fibers.

"Even without that [work ethic], she's still head and shoulders above most kids," Neff said. "There are only a handful of kids, even if they work forever, who can ever catch her."

No one caught her at last year's WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships. Yon cleared 5 feet, 6 inches. She also played a key role in North Allegheny winning its third consecutive WPIAL team title.

"It was just great to win three years in a row," Yon said. "When I was freshman I really didn't know what it meant to win a title, but as sophomore and junior to win it three years in a row, I now see the competition and understand how hard it is to win."

She followed that up with a runner-up showing at the PIAA championships. The 2003WPIAL high jump title was Yon's second in a row.

"I like what I do. I have a drive to want to be better," Yon said. "It's not so much I want to beat the other girl, I just want to do the best I can at the big meets.

"I want to see who the best is in real life. I don't want to win if someone else had a bad day. To me, that's not really winning, it's just a lucky day."

Yon placed second in the state indoor championships last month to Erie McDowell's Nicole Smith, who went 5-7.

Yon also competes in the long jump and triple jump, throws the javelin and is on the 1,600-meter relay team. …

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