Michael Turner didn’t start throwing the shot put until four years ago. However, it didn’t take Tuner very long to emerge as one of the best shot putters in the Public League as well as the state.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Engineering and Science senior placed second in the Public League championship and captured first place in the district meet. During the winter, Turner did quite well throwing 52’11.50 in the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state championship meet.
“As of right now, 52.11 is my best distance,” Turner said. “I did that at the state championship meet at Penn State. I placed seventh.
“It wasn’t until my junior year that I realized how well I was doing. As a freshman and sophomore, I had just average marks. It wasn’t anything phenomenal. This really helped me. I’m looking forward to all the spring meets right now.”
Turner has worked extremely hard during the indoor in preparation for the spring. He had been throwing the shot put in the high 40s. His distance has continued to improve in recent weeks. He has a chance to participate in the Penn Relays next month.
“I’m ecstatic,” Turner said. “I’ve been doing my own research. I have to throw it 54 feet to qualify for the Penn Relays. I want to do it in the next couple weeks. I’ve been practicing as hard as I can. I’ve been trying to do as much as I can so that I can hit the qualifying mark.”
Ray Womack, Engineering and Science head coach, has been very impressed with Turner’s skills. Womack has noticed how much Turner has accomplished in a short period of time.
“This was his first year that I was able to get him with the track team all year long,” Womack said. “This was his first year doing indoor track. Right now, you can see the improvement. He did well last year, too. He came in second in the Public League championship and won the districts. He works on his game. He helps everybody else. He’s a good athlete and a good student.”
Turner has been doing very well on and off the field, his main interest residing in the classroom.
“I’ve been focusing on academics,” Turner said. “I’m looking at Indiana University (of Pennsylvania). I’ll be studying pre-engineering. I’ve been focusing on honor courses since my sophomore year like physics, chemistry, high level math and engineering. My hope is to go into bio-engineering, but I may go into mechanical engineering.”
Throwing the shot put and working on his studies has Turner moving in the right direction.
When the outdoor track and field season recently began at Texas Tech, Cierra White knew the Lady Raiders would be running in some big meets. Of course, White, former Engineering and Science star, can hardly wait to come home to run in the Penn Relays. She knows this is one of the biggest track and field carnivals in the country.
“I’m very excited,” White said. “The Penn Relays are so exciting. I get a chance to see everybody. It should be a fun atmosphere.”
White, a freshman sprinter, is certainly no stranger to the Penn Relays. She knows what it’s like to run on Saturday afternoons at Franklin Field in front of huge crowds. The ex-Public League standout will be participating in a number of events for Texas Tech.
“I think I’ll be running the 4x100 (meter relay),” White said. “I’ll be running the 100, 4x200 (meter relay) and the sprint medley relay. I’ll probably run the prelims for the 4x400 (meter relay). ”
White is a multi-talented athlete. During her high school career, she ran the 60 meters, 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay for Ray Womack, E&S head coach. As a senior, she had season best times of 7.54 in the 60 meters, 11.78 in the 100 meters and 23.95 in the 200 meters. The Public League and PIAA state champion sprinter was well prepared for Division I track and field. Texas Tech is located in Lubbock, Texas and is a member of the Big 12 Conference.
“I think I’ve improved a lot,” White said. “This is a good conference. There’s a lot of competition. It just makes me even stronger to go out there and race against some of the best people in the nation.”
White had a chance to run for the Lady Raiders recently in a dual meet. She helped to steer the 4x400 meter relay team to a win. She ran with Taylor Evans, Erica Alexander and Precious Nwokey to produce a winning time of 3:36.19 in that event.
White is expecting to have a lot of family and friends at the Penn Relays. This is a big weekend for her as well as E&S.
“I know a lot of people will be coming to the Penn Relays,” White said. “My family is going to cook for me. It should be a lot of fun. I have a birthday this weekend. I’m really excited about coming home. I miss the food. I want to try to get a cheesesteak and some cheese fries. I try to keep in touch with everybody. I let coach Womack know my times and how I’m doing.”
White will be able to showcase her skills as a college sprinter this week at the Penn Relays.