Delone's Pecher embraces senior-year challenge
The Delone Catholic senior won the 100 dash and long jump and was part of the winning 4x100 relay against Bermudian Springs. She generates her speed from fast starts. Zach Miller - GameTimePA.com
If someone told Teresa Pecher three years ago that she'd be one of the fastest sprinters in the YAIAA by her senior year, she never would have believed it.
The Delone Catholic senior didn't even know she was faster than most of her peers back then, and wasn't sure she could handle the commitment of joining the school's girls' track team, which had just won a division title the year before.If someone told Teresa Pecher three years ago that she'd be one of the fastest sprinters in the YAIAA by her senior year, she never would have believed it.
Now, Pecher is a key part of a Squirettes team that clinched its fifth-straight YAIAA Division III title and she's looking to finish her career by picking up her first individual District 3 medal.
Pecher first started to realize her speed when she joined the then-brand-new Delone Catholic girls' soccer team her freshman year and wowed her teammates with quickness. That, coupled with years of gymnastics, volleyball and dance, built an athleticism recognized quickly by Squirettes track and field coach Dusty Lehr, but Pecher resisted the call to join the team that spring.
“I was too scared to start freshman year because I thought I would get overwhelmed,” Pecher said. “I was just worried about the academics and being overwhelmed as a freshman. I did soccer, which wasn’t that bad because it was our first official year as a team, but track seemed much more serious.”
She gave in to Lehr's persuasion her sophomore year, and now finds herself with the fifth-best winning 100 dash time in the YAIAA - 12.7 seconds - and leading a 400 relay team with the second-best winning time (52.3 seconds) in the league. She qualified for districts in the 100 dash and long jump last season, and is now focused on the 200 dash, an event Lehr believes she can medal in at districts.
“She’s done a great job for us," Lehr said of Pecher. "The biggest thing is that she stuck to improving. Everybody that wants to come out, all they want to do is jump and sprint. She’s very fortunate that she’s probably one of the top two or three fastest girls in the school. But this year, I told her ‘if you want to go somewhere in districts, we’ve got to bump up from the 100 and start running the 200.’ She accepted the challenge and we started training in the winter. She represents those kinds of kids that I have here.”
Pecher's best chance to qualify for states for the first time may be the 400 relay, where she helped Delone Catholic place fifth at the District 3 AA Championships last spring. The top two teams in the district qualify for states in that classification.
Pecher leads off the relay since she's the quickest of the four relay members off the starting blocks.
“Her first 50 meters, there’s not anybody on this team that can match her for 50 meters," Lehr said. "She’s our girl to start the relay and has been for two years.”
By the time she makes the handoff to Tiffany Small, another one of the team's seniors that has won many events to help the Squirettes dominate divisional opponents, the team is often already in the lead.
“As the second person, it’s a big thing," Small said of those leads. "I know she’ll get us in first, but as the second I know I still have to get a bigger lead for the third and fourth legs.”
Pecher has been taking it easy for the past week after tweaking her hamstring at Bermudian Springs, but she hopes to reach 100 percent by the YAIAA Championships on May 13.
She wouldn't have believed it three years ago, but she's an important part of the dynasty the Squirettes have built.
“We’re more of a complete team than we are a group of superstars," Lehr said. "Her and (Small and senior Alyssa Alberghini), those type of girls are the reason we have these types of teams.”