Brenna Cavanaugh's junior season nearly ended with a flop.
Instead, it concluded with a state gold medal.
What a season -- particularly the final meet -- it was for Cavanaugh, a standout at Bentworth who won WPIAL Class 2A titles in the 100 hurdles and long jump. She also placed second in the 100 and fifth in the triple jump.
But it was at the PIAA championships where Cavanaugh leaped over her biggest hurdle. In a semifinal heat of the 100 hurdles, Cavanaugh held the lead until her foot clipped the final hurdle and she tumbled to the ground. She quickly got back onto her feet, but she didn't win or even finish in the top three. However, she did grab the last qualifying spot for the finals and made the most of it, winning the title despite running in Lane 8.
Cavanaugh was the only girl from the South area to win a PIAA gold medal. She also finished third in the long jump.
Another junior had a breakout season. Upper St. Clair's Savannah Shaw won a WPIAL Class 3A title in the 1,600 and went on to place fifth at the PIAA championships. The other South athletes to win WPIAL titles were Canon-McMillan's Chyna Beck in the 100 hurdles and South Fayette's Courtney Phoennik in the triple jump. Beck also placed second in the triple jump. Phoennik decided not to participate in the PIAA championships, choosing instead to attend South Fayette's prom.
South Fayette's Rachel Helbling (Class 3A 400), Mt. Lebanon's Molly Mangan (Class 3A 300 hurdles), Elizabeth Forward's Brianna Spirnak (Class 3A javelin), Keystone Oaks' Tara Gologram (Class 2A long jump) and South Park's Maura Huwalt (Class 2A discus, javelin and shot put) all placed second in their respective events at the WPIAL championships.