By Mike Longo Jr.
It has long been the dream of a high school athlete in any sport to win a gold championship medal at the WPIAL level. Some are fortunate to realize that dream once, but for most long after their career ends it remains a dream.
A rarity of sorts, there are some athletes that realize their dream more than once. They are the elite, a cut above the rest, the best of the best.
In some instances, they are even record holders.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart track superstar, Antonio Votour, certainly falls into the above-mentioned category.
Competing in the recent WPIAL Track and Field Championships, Votour cemented his legacy as one of the best ever in Western Pennsylvania. Votour's forte is the 110-meter hurdles track event.
A title defense in Class 2A was on the line at Slippery Rock University and he qualified for the state PIAA Championship meet.
Not only did the Chargers speedster strike gold for the second straight year but he shattered a 23-year-old WPIAL record becoming the fastest 110-meter hurdler in history.
"I wanted that record. I saw the record and wanted to get that record time-it was set so long ago," Votour said.
The record Votour refers to was set in 2000 by Mike Heiser of Center High School with a time of 14:44 in the hurdles.
That record would stand for the next 23 years. Who could have envisioned it would be broken by a fleet-footed hurdler from OLSH who wasn't even born when the record he destroyed was the new WPIAL mark?
Votour not only broke the record, he did it twice in the same day.
In the preliminaries, he set the record with a time of 14:37. Votour beat the record he just set in the finals with a new WPIAL time of 14:30.
Votour grinned as he stated, "The second gold medal definitely feels better. To defend my title was great."
In humble fashion, Votour credited his coach, Roger Kowal by saying, "He pushes me, always has me ready."
Kowal, a former hurdler and high jumper, is no stranger to the area track and field scene.
A standout at Ambridge High School, the coach finished his career at Edinboro University.
I became inquisitive when speaking with Coach Kowal asking how he thought Votour would fare in the states. No crystal ball predictions, just a bit of insight.
Kowal was quick to respond, "He is very well prepared. I love his chances in Shippensburg.”
Votour has been to states and knows what it entails. The May 25 - 26 event will be here soon enough as dreams of a PIAA Gold Medal become reality for some and continued dreams for others.
Hopefully, when he returns, Votour will be sporting more gold, as well as a new title.